At the southern end of the Wigwell Aqueduct the junction with the Leawood Arm of the canal may still be identified. This branch, which was built by Peter Nightingale in 1802, extended the canal to a wharf at Lea Bridge. It serviced the Nightingale leadworks and mills. When the closure of the canal was proposed in 1910 by the canal's then owners, the Midland Railway, the businesses at Lea Bridge were among the principal objectors, the canal having become an essential link for the import of coal and other raw materials. Their protest was unsuccessful and parliamentary approval was given for the canal's closure. (1)
The short Leawood Arm of the Cromford Canal was built between 1800 and 1802 by Peter Nightingale, great uncle of the more famous Florence, to serve his cotton mills and lead smelters. Lead was carried by boat the short distance from Lea Wharf to the Cromford & High Peak Railway well into the twentieth century, whilst coal was delivered to Lea Mills from Hartshay up until the 1930s. Until 1819 the arm had continued all the way to Lea Mills. A complicated dispute over water rights caused Peter Nightingale to go to the expense of truncating the arm and moving the wharf and weighing machine to Lea Wood. (2)
The Lea Wood Arm of the Cromford Canal is a branch canal to that of the Cromford Canal main line, originally 500m long extending as far as Lea Bridge, built along the lower valley of the Lea Brook. It was agreed with the Canal Company in 1800 that Peter Nightingale (owner of mills at Lea Bridge, quarries and two leadworks, further up the valley) could build a branch of 2 1/2 furlongs. This was completed in 1802. The length of the canal was reduced by about 100m in 1827, as a result of objections by the Strutts that the canal was taking water directly from Lea Brook. After the building of the railway, lead was conveyed to the sidings at Whatstandwell. The canal is built into the valley side for its length and is retained above the valley floor by a drystone wall approximately 2m high. (3)
Unpublished document: Derwent Valley Mills (DVM) Nomination Steering Panel. 2000. Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage List Nomination Document. p 57, illust..
Bibliographic reference: Potter, H. 2003. The Cromford Canal. pp 106-8, illust..
Unpublished document: County Treasure Recording Form. 10(i).2, with photos.
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Centred SK 3171 5583 (96m by 484m) (Approximate)
DETHICK, AMBER VALLEY, DERBYSHIRE
World Heritage Site
Derwent Valley Mills
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Record last edited
Apr 12 2019 10:27AM
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