Today we know it as one of the must-see wonders of our waterways, much loved by boaters and canalside visitors alike. But the story behind this amazing feat of engineering is one of lack of money, egos, indecision and death.
Our free visitor centre is at the Marsden end of the tunnel. It tells the story of the tunnel right from the planning through its 200 odd year’s of history, including the fascinating story of its restoration and reopening in 2001. With a range of items on loan from our designated museum collection on display and films outlining the roles people played, our centre brings the Standedge Tunnel to life and challenges you to think again about your waterways.
Designated of national importance by Arts Council England, most of our ‘museum collection’ is housed between the two National Waterways Museums in Ellesmere Port and Gloucester. However, you can also find important, treasured items on loan at Anderton Boat Lift Visitor Centre, the Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne and here at Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre. Together it forms the most comprehensive collection of artefacts that tell the story of Britain’s canals and navigable rivers over the last 300 hundred years. The collection consists of over 12,000 objects – including 68 historic boats and the national waterways archive.
Come and meet the engineers and navvies that designed and built this impossible tunnel.
Benjamin Outram was the consulting engineer for the construction of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. When he was commissioned to design a tunnel to transverse beneath the great Standedge moors betwix Huddersfield and Oldham near Manchester he was confident that such an undertaking would not present any difficulties. After all, he was the architect for such great canal structures as the Marple Aqueduct on the Peak District Canal and the Butterley Tunnel, part of his Cromford Canal construction. However, the building of any tunnel is inevitably plagued by setbacks and grave losses.
Despite his many endeavors, at its opening it was not Benjamin who took the glory as builder of the world longest canal tunnel. You can discover full the story of the tunnel, its final famous engineer and why it also became the world’s most expensive canal tunnel at the Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre.
Last date edited: 22 September 2017