25 December 2014

Shrewsbury Canal - Longdon Aqueduct

The Shrewsbury Canal is at Longdon carried over the River Tern, a tributary of the Severn, by means of a cast iron aqueduct - possibly the idea of ironmaster William Reynolds and at least in part designed by Thomas Telford. This is oft-claimed as the first such in the world, but that honour belongs to Benjamin Outram's 44 feet long cast iron Holmes Aqueduct on the Derby Canal, in water by February 1796, just one month ahead of Longdon-upon-Tern.

Telford's 187 feet long, 7' 6" wide, trough was bolted together from sections cast at Reynolds' ironworks at Ketley. It was erected, complete with a cast iron towpath, in place of Josiah Clowes' stone aqueduct, washed away in 1795 before completion. The masonry at each end is of the original aqueduct.

In its design can be seen that later adopted by Telford for the trough of his Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, completed in 1805. The Shrewsbury Canal closed in 1944, since when the Longdon-upon-Tern Aqueduct, Grade I-listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument, has stood stranded amid fields.

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