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News article created on 17 June 2013

Yorkshire's historic waterways set for bright future

Wakefield’s answer to Sydney Harbour Bridge and a historic lift bridge on the Huddersfield Broad Canal have a bright future ahead of them after English Heritage gave a vote of confidence to the way they are cared for.

We care deeply about the heritage of our waterways and the purpose of these agreements is to make sure that we continue to do the right thing in protecting these important examples of Yorkshire’s rich history. Judy Jones

The Government's statutory adviser on the historic environment has endorsed our work by giving us prior permission to inspect and repair the two historic landmarks. These are jobs which would ordinarily need formal consent.

It’s all part of an agreement that sets out how Stanley Ferry Aqueduct near Wakefield and Locomotive Bridge near Huddersfield should best be cared for to protect them for future generations.  

Stanley Ferry Aqueduct was built between 1836 and 1839 and has national significance as one of the earliest through-arch bridges in the world – opening a full 100 years before the world’s most famous example, Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

It is thought to be the largest aqueduct built from cast iron and is designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade 1 Listed building. It was designed by George Leather Jnr and built by H. McIntosh to carry a 50-metre long stretch of the Aire & Calder Navigation over the River Calder.

Unsung heroes

Locomotive Bridge (also sometimes known as Turn Bridge) on the Huddersfield Broad Canal gets its name from the mechanism that would have lifted it allowing boats to travel along the canal. The bridge is the most historically interesting structure on the canal and still shows evidence of its early working life, from the original historic mechanism and brickwork to rope marks created by tow-lines between the boats and the horses that pulled them.

Judy Jones, heritage advisor for the Canal & River Trust says: “These two landmarks are real unsung heroes of Yorkshire’s industrial past. They have national significance but most people probably don’t think about their history while they use them as part of their daily lives.

“We care deeply about the heritage of our waterways and the purpose of these agreements is to make sure that we continue to do the right thing in protecting these important examples of Yorkshire’s rich history.

“We’re really pleased that English Heritage recognises the genuine pride and passion our teams have shown in looking after these structures over the years and their ability to give them the care and attention they deserve in the future.”

Neil Redfern, principal Inspector of Ancient Monuments at English Heritage adds: “We are delighted to be working with the Canal & River Trust on these agreements and think they’re an excellent example of how heritage can be managed so everyone is happy with the outcome.”

Read the agreement for each structure