The NYNEHEAD CANAL BOAT LIFT

The remains of the Nynehead Lift are of historical significance as it is the only one of the seven that includes a substantial amount of masonry. The image below shows the lift in 1999, after two years clearance work.

conjectural view of lift top

These lifts were certainly the first in Britain, and possibly the world, to be commercially successful and operated for nearly 30 years. In their day they were at the forefront of technology. One has to respect the courage and imagination of the Engineer and Proprietors in building such mechanisms when materials technology and iron founding were in their infancy. There is sufficient remaining of the lift at Nynehead to give an idea of what the structures must have looked like.

conjectural view of lift top

The operating machinery was removed shortly after closure in 1869 but a detailed description of the operation together with engineer's drawings still exists. James Green's lifts worked on a simple balance principle. Later generations of canal lift were hydraulically or electrically operated. Green's tub boats carried 8 tons of cargo; there are now lifts in Europe that can accommodate 1350 ton boats.

© Denis Dodd [01823] 661653