Today, Sheffield Canal Basin – or Victoria Quays – is an attractive urban destination boasting canalside eateries and a hotel.
The Sheffield & Tinsley Canal history
Opened in 1819 to carry boats between the navigable River Don and a new basin in the centre of Sheffield, the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal forms the upper four miles of the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation.
The canal's business was badly hit when the railway reached Sheffield in 1830, and it was taken over by the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway in 1848 to become part of the River Don Navigation the following year. The Sheffield & South Yorkshire Canal Company Ltd took over the River Don in 1895, and around 1900 there were plans to enlarge the canal, and even to replace it with a ship canal. They remained as plans, and the canal was never enlarged and still has locks just large enough for Yorkshire keels, 61 feet long by 15 feet 6 inches wide.
The enlargement work means that the waterway's architecture is principally that of a modern, functional freight navigation. However, the canal in Sheffield itself has not been enlarged and retains many original characteristics - notably the buildings around the terminal basin. The Straddle Warehouse is particularly noteworthy. It was built over the canal to make loading and unloading easier, and dominates the scene in its new life as an office complex.
The Stainforth & Keadby Canal section is also largely unaltered. The tidal lock at Keadby has been recognised by English Heritage as an ancient monument.