Trent and Mersey Canal

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(Connection via Bridgewater Canal)

The Trent and Mersey Canal is a 93.5-mile-long canal (150.5 km) in the East Midlands, West Midlands, and North West of England. It is a "narrow canal" for the vast majority of its length, but at the extremities—east of Burton upon Trent and west of Middlewich—it is a wide canal.

The narrow locks and bridges are big enough for a single narrowboat 7 ft wide (2.1 m) × 72 ft long (22 m), while the wide locks can accommodate boats 14 ft wide (4.3 m), or two narrowboats next to each other.



As its name implies, the Trent and Mersey canal was built (opened 1777) to link the River Trent at Derwent Mouth (in Derbyshire) to the River Mersey. The second connection is made via the Bridgewater Canal, which it joins at Preston Brook in Cheshire. Note that although mileposts measure the distance to Preston Brook and Shardlow, Derwent mouth is a mile or so beyond Shardlow.

The idea of a canal connection from the Mersey to the Trent ("The Grand Trunk") came from canal engineer James Brindley. It was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1766 and the first sod was cut by Josiah Wedgwood in July that year at Middleport. Less than eleven years later, the whole canal, including more than 70 locks and five tunnels, was open, with the company headquarters in Stone.

On January 15, 1847, the Trent & Mersey Canal was acquired by the North Staffordshire Railway Company (NSR). This was done to stifle the opposition of the Canal Company to the creation of the Railway Company. In particular, the NSR had plans for a railway from Stoke-on-Trent to Liverpool; however, this line was abandoned due to opposition from other rail interests.

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