|June 1891 Tender fro dredging the Canal|
A tender for dredging all 70 miles of the canal
The directors of this canal have accepted the tender of Messrs. Laver and Company, Bath, for dredging the canal, repairing the bridges, wharf walls, and other matters. The canal is to be dredged to its original depth and sectional area for its entire length of 70 miles.
This important inland navigation commences at the river Thames, at the south side of the town of Abingdon, in the county of Berks, and proceeding south westerly across the Hundreds of Ock and Wantage, passing the town of Wantage, goes westward through the Hundreds of Kintbury,Eagle, and Shrivenham, and enters the county of Wilts in the division of Swindon. Passing the towns of Swindon and Wootton Bassett it crosses the divisions of Chippenham and Calne, and going between those towns reaches the division of Melksham. Passing the town of Melksham, it terminates at Semington, where it joins the Kennet and Avon Canal.
At Eastcott, in the division of Swindon a Branch known as the North Wilts Canal proceeds from the Wilts and Berks Canal, and joins the Thames and Severn Canal in the division of Cricklade, and near the town of that name. There are also branch canals to Wantage, Longcott, Calne, and Chippenham.
That part of the river Thames where this canal locks into it is 180 1/8 feet above the sea.
From the commencement of the canal to the Wantage river, 7 ¾ miles, there is a rise of 9 ½ feet.
Thence to the last end, of the summit level, 15 miles, there is a rise of 71 ½ feet or a total rise of 168 feet.
The North Wilts Canal, from Eastcott to Latton at the junction with the Thames and Severn Canal, is nine miles with a fall of 58 feet 8 inches to Latton.
The total length of this navigation with its various branches from Semington to Abingdon is 70 miles.
There are 57 locks, with an average fall of 7 feet 6 inches, and about 78 feet long.
The water supply is derived from two reservoirs made by the company-one at Coate, near Swindon, 89 acres in extent, and the other at Tockenham, near Lyneham, with an area of 20 acres- and from the river at Calne.
The favourable geographical situation of this inland waterway enables it to form an important link in the chain of our inland navigation.
It forms part of one of the through waterway routes between London and Bristol.
By its connection with the Thames it is in communication with all the Midland counties, and having access to the Severn enables inland transit by water to the counties of Gloucester and Worcester and cheap transit for coal from the Forest of Dean to the counties of Wilts, Berks, and Oxford, and by means of the Somersetshire Coal Canal, which forms a junction with the Kennet and Avon between Bradford and Bath, it forms a distributor for minerals of this district also.
The aggregate capital authorised by the various statutes relating to the Wilts and Berks Canal amounts to £561,900, and the starute relating to the North Wilts Canal authorised £90,000, making a total of £651,900.
The summit level crossed by the Kennet and Avon Canal is 116 feet higher than that of the Wilts and Berks.
To secure this lower elevation Mr. Brunel laid down the main line of the Great Western Railway alongside of this canal through Swindon, instead of following the more direct route through Hungerford.
The distance from London Bridge to Bristol by this route is 107 miles.
The Wilts and Berks Canal was admirably laid out and substantially constructed by the late Mr. R. Whitworth. The works bear witness to the sound materials and workmanship, no less than to the well considered design of Mr. Whitworth.
When the works are completed and the canal has been put in a thorough state of order it will be the means of facilitating a large amount of traffic between Bristol and London, and intermediate towns. The works are being carried out under the sole direction of the engineer Mr. P. Munro, St. Stephen's Chambers, Bristol.
Swindon Evening Advertiser June 29 1891