We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.


It's time to release your inner engineer and get to grips with all the numbers that go into making the Anderton Boat Lift our Cathedral of the canals.

Anderton Boat Lift Anderton Boat Lift


  • The lift was built an impressive 60 feet high, allowing it to clear the 50-foot difference in height between the two water levels
  • The entire structure was 85 feet long and 49 feet wide, while the aqueduct was 165 feet long
  • Each tank weighed a staggering 91 tonnes empty and 252 tonnes when flooded. These giants were 75ft long, 15 feet 6 inches wide, and 9 feet 6 inches deep in the middle. They were big enough for 2 narrow boats or 1 barge
  • Edwin Clark, the designer of the lift, went on to design bigger lifts on the Continent. Check out his lifts at La Louviere in Belgium

Sunny Anderton Boat Lift

  • Adding the machinery deck brought the overall height to 80 feet, while the A-frames added to support it widened the lift to 75 feet at its base
  • Each tank was counterbalanced by 252 tonnes of cast iron counterweights, attached by wire ropes. There were 36 stacks of counterweights on each side, weighing 7 tonnes each
  • The lift boasted 72 geared pulley wheels in all, and the largest ones, which took the lifting and safety ropes, weighed 3.5 tonnes each. There were 8 on either side
  • There were a further 20 pulley wheels taking 2 lifting ropes each, and 36 wheels with one lifting rope each 
  • The shafts bearing the pulleys were 8 inches in diameter 
  • The pulley pedestals weighed between 193 and 466lbs each


  • The lift was restored to full hydraulic operation
  • The 1908 structure and pulley wheels were retained as a static monument
  • The replacement hydraulic ram shafts replicate the original 3-foot diameter rams and are 56 feet long when retracted and l06 feet long when fully extended
  • The ram shafts are 56ft deep
  • Each ram weighs around 50 tonnes


Last date edited: 4 May 2017