Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Douglas Navigation

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The Douglas Navigation was a canalised section of the River Douglas in Lancashire, England

From the River Ribble to Wigan.

1720 Authorised

1742 opened

1772 Bought by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Company, to prevent a rival scheme to build a canal to Wigan.

1781 The Leeds and Liverpool Canal reached Wigan, replacing the earlier and unsatisfactory Douglas Navigation. Connected to the Leeds and Liverpool when that canal opened; a canal was cut parallel to the upper river into Wigan which was not then used; the Rufford Branch replaced the use of the lower river, although this used part of the river channel near its mouth.

1801 The navigation was largely abandoned, as the canal provided a better route to the River Ribble.

1805 Sollom lock on the Rufford branch was abandoned, and a new tide lock was built further downstream at Tarleton. In order to build the extension, the river was diverted into a new channel further to the east, and the old channel was re-used by the canal. From that time, only the lower portion of the navigation, from Tarleton to the confluence with the Ribble, remained in use.


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