Anderton Boat Lift

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Anderton Boat Lift


The Anderton Boat Lift provides a link between two navigable waterways: the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal, and is situated near the village of Anderton, near Northwich, in north Cheshire, north-west England.

As the river is approximately 50ft (16m) lower than the canal, the boat lift provided an alternative to a prolonged series of locks, and was constructed in 1875 to a design by Edward Leader Williams, chief engineer of the Weaver Navigation, and Edwin Clarke. The lift comprises two large watertight tanks, each capable of holding two full length narrowboats, with watertight doors at either end. Hydraulic rams are used to raise the tanks (which acted as counter-balances to each other) and any vessels in them from river-level to the level of the canal.

After 25 years, the hydraulic mechanism was found to be suffering from corrosion due to the acidic nature of the water of the Weaver - used as the working fluid. The mechanism was therefore replaced by electric motors and a system of weights and pulleys, allowing the two tanks to operate independently of each other. The work was carried out from 1906 to 1908 and was supported on a second frame, external to the original structure and topped by a distinctive set of pulleys. The external structure allowed the lift to remain open during construction.

However, a modified version of the the original hydraulic system was reinstated after restoration work in 2002 - the lift having been out of operation due to problems with corrosion of the later, additional, frame, since 1983. The external frame and pulleys have been retained in a non-operational role.

The only other working boat lift in the United Kingdom is the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland.

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