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TIMELINE FOR THE MIDDLEWICH BRANCH CANAL
1772 Act passed to cut the Chester Canal from Chester to Nantwich, including a branch to Middlewich.. Fearing loss of trade via the Liverpool route, the Trent and Mersey Canal Company and the Duke of Bridgewater successfully lobbied for a restriction in that the new canal should be kept 100 yards from the junction with the Trent and Mersey Canal at Middlewich. First sod cut in Chester, locks would be 80' x 14' 9”
1775 First section from Chester to the aqueduct near Huxley below Beeston completed. By June the line was open to Beeston
1779 Canal completed to Nantwich plus reservoir at Bunbury Heath.
1780 Canal had become uneconomic,
1787 Beeston Lock collapsed, no money for repairs
1813 Ellesmere and Chester canal companies united to form the Ellesmere and Chester Canal.
1826 Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal Company obtained an Act for a canal from Autherley (junction with Staffs and Worcs) to join the Ellesmere and Chester at Nantwich.
1827 Act empowered T and M Company to build the short Wardle Canal with one lock to span the 100 yard gap and join the Ellesmere and Chester's proposed Barbridge to Middlewich line. T and M imposed stiff tolls, these remained until 1888.
1833 Middlewich Branch opened. Wharves and transhipment warehouses built at Barbridge.
1835 Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Company opened canal from Autherley to Nantwich
1845 Ellesmere and Chester absorbed the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction company.
1846 Ellesmere and Chester Canal Company became the Shropshire Union Railways and Canal Company
1847 Taken over by the London and North Western Railway
1888 Middlewich Branch canal was location for trials with locomotive haulage of boats.
1921 Shropshire Union Canal Company ceased their carrying business.
1923 The SUCC was taken over by the London Midland and Scottish Railway company.
1948 Canal passed to the jurisdiction of British Waterways Board following nationalisation of canals.
1958 12th October – breach at Church Minshull viewpoint, between bridges 12 and 13, see history page
1960s Breach at Church Minshull between bridges 14 and 15 - more detail being researched
1991 Breach just above Stanthorne Lock which was repaired in less than a week.
2012 British Waterways passed ownership to Canal and River Trust.