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

Tracing the lifetime of the boat lift - from construction in 1875, to rebirth in 1908, to restoration in 2001.

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


  • The addition of 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 been 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 approximately 50 tonnes.

Last date edited: 31 July 2015