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Monument record MDR4840 - Derwent or Wigwell Aqueduct, Cromford Canal, Lea Wood, Dethick, Lea and Holloway

Type and Period (1)

  • (Georgian to Victorian - 1794 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

The Wigwell Aqueduct is a three span masonry aqueduct built in 1792-3, being one of the major engineering feats on the Cromford Canal. (1) The Wigwell aqueduct carries the Cromford canal over the River Derwent below the Lea Wood Pumphouse. The aqueduct was built by William Jessop in 1792, and was built at his own expense, because of the collapse of the earlier aqueduct. The aqueduct is of gritstone, and of three arches, the central one having a span of 80 feet. The total length of the construction is 200 yards. (2) The Wigwell Aqueduct over the river Derwent was first constructed in the early 1790s. By September 1793 serious cracks had appeared. William Jessop, the engineer who had supervised the building work, accepted liability and offered to re-build it at his own expense. He claimed the fault lay with the Crich lime he had used as mortar which did not set. Iron cramps were used to give the structure greater stability, and following this remedial action there has been no further serious trouble. The structure is 182.9 metres long, 9.1 metres high and supported by three arches. The one which spans the river is nearly 73 metres in length. There are two date stones above this central arch. (4) Wigwell Aqueduct across the River Derwent at Leawood caused Jessop problems during construction when it 'slumped', allegedly due to the lime used in the mortar being too pure to set. In 1984 Derbyshire County Council, with help from the Cromford Canal Society, spent £25,000 to line it with a tough black plastic 'Schlegel' membrane, which can still be seen today just above the water level. The main arch spans 80ft with only a 20ft rise. On the south side of the aqueduct there is a date stone of 1792 set centrally above the main arch in anticipation of its completion date. In fact the slippage that occurred delayed opening until 1794. There is also a second, smaller, date stone below the larger one. The reason for there being two is not known. The broad elliptical span of Jessop's Aqueduct takes the canal across the Derwent with massive abutments either side and on the outside of these were two smaller arches for fishermen and cattle. (5) A dressed gritstone aqueduct. It has an arch of 24 metres with a 5.8 metres rise above the river, with two smaller openings through the supporting spandrels. (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: CBA Panel on Indust Mons 1975 3.
  • <2> Index: Council for British Archaeology (CBA). CBA Industrial Archaeology Report Card. Wigwell aqueduct.
  • <3> Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 11.2, with photo.
  • <4> Unpublished document: Derwent Valley Mills (DVM) Nomination Steering Panel. 2000. Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage List Nomination Document. p 57, illust..
  • <5> Bibliographic reference: Potter, H. 2003. The Cromford Canal. p 25-6, illust..
  • <6> Index: Mansel Architects. 2004. Cromford Canal Survey. Site ref. no: 44.



Grid reference Centred SK 3158 5562 (57m by 42m) (Centre)
World Heritage Site Derwent Valley Mills

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (1)

  • EDR1807

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External Links (0)

Record last edited

Nov 12 2015 3:17PM

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