The spectacular Anderton Boat Lift, Northwich, Cheshire.

Another Sunday, another drive out to explore what there is to see around us. This time we ended up at a rather marvellous show of Victorian engineering - the Anderton Boat Lift. I don't think I can capture just how astonishing this is, even with pictures - so please, if you get the opportunity to visit I beg you to do so.
 

As you can see, the main structure is absolutely huge! I didn't anticipate turning a corner and seeing quite what I saw. Unlike Mike, I'm not engineering or mechanical minded - but this is something else. You walk down a hill from the car park, and the lift slowly comes into view - there are tended gardens and even a maze for the children nearby (the maze is made from the old weights used at the lift!) but the centerpiece is the lift itself.
 
It all started in 1875, when a gentleman named Edwin Clark recognised the problem faced by factories when transporting goods via the Trent & Mersey Canal and the River Weaver. Due to the fifty foot difference in height between the two, workers would have to unload the cargo, then load it onto carts, to load it back onto barges for it to continue on its journey to the major trading cities.
 
The solution: creating a structure which was made up of two huge water tanks, with sealable doors which could carry barges either up to the canal or down to the river. This was a marvellous feat of hydraulic engineering (although it was converted to electronics as the years went by), and it worked reliably until 1983 when it was discovered the structure had suffered some serious deterioration. Thanks to the work of volunteers, funding was raised (over 7 million pounds!) and the lift was restored back to its former glory.


Now you can visit the Boat Lift, and learn about the story behind both its construction and the restoration - two wonderfully enthralling stories which are perfectly illustrated in the museum located on site, along with a coffee shop which serves food - and of course, a gift shop selling various canal and waterway related paraphernalia.

Something I didn't expect to see while we visited, was the Boat Life in action! Unfortunately our memory card misbehaved so I can't share the video I did get, but I did save a snapshot of the boats leaving when they reached the bottom of the lift itself. It was a sight to behold - and the sounds of the lift working are worth a visit too.


We had a great day visiting, I only wish we'd have packed a little lunch and stayed sat out in the sunshine watching the lift a little bit longer than we did - the atmosphere was lovely, even with a wedding party in a marquee at the bottom of the lift in the field with us.






The map above highlights where you can find the Anderton Boat Lift - please let me know via comments if you end up going to have a visit, I'd love to know your thoughts!

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She & Life: The spectacular Anderton Boat Lift, Northwich, Cheshire.
The spectacular Anderton Boat Lift, Northwich, Cheshire.
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