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Chesterfield Canal, Hollingwood, 1991
8 June 1991
About this image
The Chesterfield Canal looking west with the bridge carrying Works Road in the distance, together with Hollingwood Lock. To the left is evidence of opencasting operations for coal, while the buildings on the right are part of the Staveley Iron Works complex, by this date largely reduced to a foundry and since closed.
The Chesterfield Canal opened in 1777 and connected Chesterfield with the River Trent at West Stockwith via Worksop and Retford, a distance of 46 miles. The section from Chesterfield towards Worksop saw little or no use after the closure of the narrow and lengthy Norwood Tunnel on the Canal's summit level in 1908 (as a result of damage from mining subsidence) but Tapton Mill to Staveley remained reasonably intact to provide a water supply for the iron-making and chemical plants at Staveley Works. This section was purchased by Derbyshire County Council in 1989.
The Chesterfield Canal Trust has long term plans to reopen the canal all the way from its terminus at Chesterfield to the present head of navigation at the eastern end of Norwood Tunnel at Kiveton Park. Between 1989 and 2012 reinstatement of the length from Tapton to Staveley was completed in stages with this particular section finished in 2004.
It should be noted that this portion of the Canal was not part of the original 1777 route. Between Killamarsh and Chesterfield railway construction in the 1890s caused a number of substantial realignments in order to avoid bridge building and to straighten the course of the waterway, and this was one such. Previously, the Canal adopted a more sinuous and northerly course at Hollingwood, passing through the heart of Staveley Iron Works and including a lock named Cinderhill (which Hollingwood Lock replaced). In this view the original alignment diverged just to the right and rear of where the photographer is standing.