The Bishop Auckland to Stockton Canal, 1770

The survey to build a canal from Bishop Auckland to Darlington by canal, travelling onward to Stockton using the River Tees was commissioned by the leading coal merchants of Darlington and district, who wished to transport coal by barge from the Bishop Auckland coalfields to Stockton. The intended canal when built linked with the nearest navigable section of the River Tees, allowing the barges to complete the journey by river. Brindley and Whitworth were the surveyors commissioned to prepare the initial feasibility study, they submitted their report and outline plans in 1770. The scheme collapsed due to the low density of population in this area and, therefore, of a sufficiently large market for the coal transported. After a few unsuccessful attempts at reviving Brindley and Whitworth’s plans in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century, they became the basis for the famous Stockton and Darlington Railway in the 1820s. The canal was never built. It was designed by James Brindley, the engineer responsible for the Bridgewater Canal, with Robert Whitworth’s assistance.

Map reproduced with the kind permission and consent of the copyright owners, the British Library, London. Details courtesy of Bob Wilson.

Michaelson Road Bridge built by Head Wrightson

The Michaelson Road Bridge in Barrow-in-Furness was built in two stages to replace the old Lift and Roll bridge by Head Wrightson c1960s. Due to submarines being built in the same area, the bridge was constructed in a vertical position and once complete it was maneuvered into its horizontal position.

Photograph and details courtesy of Tony Campbell.

Heavisides – The Gondolier

t6411Extract taken from Heavisides Almanac (part 2)…

‘Reaching now the last few miles of the river, I come to the end of my rambles, if one can ramble on the water. It is a bright afternoon, as the mater and I step on board a fine-lined steam yacht called the Gondolier, lying alongside a Stockton landing. At the appointed time, all being in readiness, our little vessel is soon speeding along in good style. Old Stockton is best seen from the river, and is said to be Dutch-like in character. Centuries ago history tells us the district traded a great deal with the Dutch, and our forefathers no doubt gathered many ideas from their intercourse with the Hollanders. We interestingly watch the movement of the numerous workmen busily engaged in the shipbuilding yards of Messrs. Craig, Taylor & Co., Messrs Ropner & Son and Messrs. Richardson, Duck & Co. Several leviathans are in the river nearing completion, and will soon proceed on their voyages to various parts of the world’.

Photograph taken with a No. 5 Poco Camera by Michael Heavisides.

Fitters on Transporter Bridge July 2018

Here are Ray Branson and Brian Dodds, who is in the shadow and is wearing a cap. They are the two fitters who are called in when minor repairs on the Transporter Bridge are needed. We happened to catch them soon after they had done one of their jobs. I am in the middle of the group. Another couple of pictures shows them talking to Tony Barber from the Newcomen Society about what they had been doing.

Photographs and details courtesy of Fred Starr.