About this image
This was formerly Pickford's Warehouse (a fine example of a straddle warehouse) over the Chesterfield canal. The first public meeting was held at Worksop's Red Lion on 24 August 1769 to organise the building of a canal. The nationally famous engineer James Brindley was asked to lead the project. He confirmed that a canal from Chesterfield to the River Trent was viable. Of all the proposed cargoes coal was considered the most important because the fledgling Canal Company aimed to undersell the rival south Yorkshire coalfields. Brindley's assistant, John Varley, was made Clerk of the Works, Resident Engineer. Work started in October 1771 at Norwood Tunnel, the digging of which was to be a four-year task. Meanwhile the canal was built eastwards towards Worksop and Retford. In May 1775 it was agreed that although the canal was to be narrow from Chesterfield to Retford it should, nevertheless, be built larger between Retford and the Trent so that it could carry wide-beam river-boats. The entire canal was officially opened on 4 June 1777.