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BARNSLEY CANAL - HEATH COMMON
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Aire & Calder Navigation

Adjacent section
Agbrigg - Oakenshaw Lane


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This page covers the section of the canal from Lock 1, where the canal joins the Aire & Calder Navigation* on the River Calder, to Doncaster Road (A638) at Heath Common. There are few traces left of the canal and the power station that was built upon much of this section, has now also gone. (* The canal was once part of the Aire & Calder Navigation system.)

Wakefield power station consisted of two units, A and B. What became Wakefield A was constructed before World War II. Wakefield B was constructed between 1955 and 1957. At one time, coal from Walton Colliery was used to provide fuel for the power station. The power station was closed down in 1991 and demolished in 1994.

In addition to Lock 1 at the junction with the river, there were two more locks in this section, one each side of Doncaster Road.

The first sod was ceremonially cut at Heath in 1793. The original depth of the canal was 5 feet, later the depth was increased to 7 feet. The extra depth was achieved by increasing the height of the banks and bridges. The enlarged canal could accommodate billy boys*, coastal vessels and other large boats.

In 1816, the original cut along Oakenshaw Beck was replaced by a broader, deeper canal to the west of the beck with a new lock at Heath by the River Calder to replace the lock situated further inland.

(* A billy boy is a flat-bottomed vessel with a full broad bow ('bluff-bowed'), rigged as a sloop, with a mast that can be lowered to enable the boat to pass under bridges.)

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Click to enlargeLock No. 1 - Then ....
The Barnsley Canal ran north to south from Wakefield to Barnsley, and then west to Barnby Basin., starting from its junction with the Aire and Calder Navigation at Heath Lock, near Fall Ings Lock, Wakefield. The first half mile of the canal is infilled and crosses private land where a power station had been built after the closure of the canal. The power station has been demolished. The entrance to the Barnsley Canal seen from the River Calder, east of Wakefield. The entrance to the former lock can be seen to the right. To the left is the Oakenshaw Beck, which originally formed the first part of the canal.
Click to enlarge... and now.
A few traces of the old lock remain near the river. September 2010.
Click to enlargeThe entrance to the Barnsley Canal viewed from the bank of the River Calder.
September 2010.
Click to enlargeOakenshaw Beck joins the River Calder alongside the remains of Lock No. 1. The beck flows into the River Calder from Crofton above Walton Colliery Nature Park, passing by Agbrigg and crossing Doncaster Road (A638) en route. Bull Bridge Dike which flows northwards through Greenside joins the beck to the west of Oakenshaw Lane.
September 2010.
Click to enlargeNot quite gone, some remains of the lock and adjacent area photographed by Roo Holman, 2013. Click to enlargeThe canal has gone but there is still plenty of water about in the area where the old canal was and where the Oakenshaw Beck still drains off into the River Calder.
[Photo courtesy Roo Holman, 2013]
Click to enlargeRelics of another age, lock 1 area.
[Roo Holman, 2013]
Click to enlargeSlip-sliding away, Lock 1 area.
[Roo Holman, 2013]
Click to enlargeThe River Calder at Heath by the entrance to the Barnsley Canal (Lock 1). Heath Old Hall is in the distance.
[early postcard]
Click to enlargeHeath Old Hall. Former occupants include Benedictine Nuns, in residence until 1821. The hall was demolished in the 20th century. Find out more about the nuns at St. Austin's Online.
[early postcard]
Click to enlargeAnother view of the River Calder with Heath Old Hall in the distance.
[early postcard]
Click to enlargeHeath Bridge over the Barnsley Canal, circa 1904.
[old postcard]
Click to enlargeDame Mary Bolle's Water Tower, built in the 17th century. It was built above a spring and pumped water to nearby Heath Old Hall. Find out more at the British Water Tower Appreciation Society. Click to enlargeThe King's Arms, Heath. Take a break whilst exploring the surrounding area. Alternatively, you could try the Heath Tea Rooms in the King's Arms Cottage.
Click to enlargeHeath Common along the route of the canal photographed from the Trans Pennine Trail near the Heath Common Travellers' Site. The canal has long gone.
July 2010.
Click to enlargeThe canal route looking south towards Doncaster Road. Once used by the Aire & Calder Navigation Company, Ivy House and the Blacksmith's Workshop can be seen on the southern side of the road. July 2010.
Looking northwards from Doncaster Road - then. The canal between the Doncaster Road Bridge and Lock No. 2. Believed to have been photographed circa 1905. Click to enlargeLooking northwards from Doncaster Road - now. Much has changed, but the building in the earlier photograph (left) is still there.
21st July 2010.
Click to enlargeThis is the area where the canal crossed Doncaster Road. The canal was filled in and the road bridge levelled some time ago. The entrance to the now demolished power station is to the right of the red brick building. The railway line is still in use.
July 2010.
The Jolly Sailor inn was situated in this area of Agbrigg at the bottom of the commoln. Opposite it was Ivy House (see below). There is more about Ivy House, the Jolly Sailor, and some of the locals, including photographs, in Sandal Magna - Another Look Back by Mary Ingham and Barbara Andrassy, 1983.
Click to enlargeIvy House and Blacksmith's Workshop, Agbrigg. Ivy House was a shop, bank and boat dues collection point on the Barnsley Canal. The house was built circa 1792, and the cottages in the early 18th century with the mill and blacksmith's workshop added in the 19th century. Barges coming through the lock (no. 3) from Goole to Barnsley paid their dues here.
July 2010.
The English Flag - The Cross of St George
Part of our English Heritage
Ivy House and the Blacksmith's Workshop are included on
Images of England
IoE Number: 342454
Location: IVY HOUSE AND BLACKSMITHS WORKSHOP, 240 DONCASTER ROAD,   CROFTON, WAKEFIELD, WEST YORKSHIRE. Grade II Listed Building.
Click to enlargeAn albumen print possibly taken in the 1880s.
The albumen print (or albumen silver print) was invented in 1850 by Louis Désiré Blanquart-Evrard, and was the first commercially exploitable method of producing a photographic print on a paper base from a negative. It used the albumen found in egg whites to bind the photographic chemicals to the paper. It became the principal form of producing photographic positive prints from 1855 to the turn of the 20th century. (Source Wikipedia, 09 Mar 2015).
Click to enlargeAnother albumen, this time a print taken of a canal or navigation in the Wakefield area.
  Unless otherwise stated all photographs are
Copyright © John S. Sargent.

Sources include
the invaluable publication: "The Barnsley Canal - a Forgotten Waterway?" by the Barnsley Canal Group, 2nd revised edition May 1988.
Sandal Magna - Another Look Back by Mary Ingham and Barbara Andrassy, 1983.

This area is covered by
Ordnance Survey Explorer Map, Sheet 278.

Click to enlarge



Click to enlarge
Sandal Magna,
Another Look Back
.
1st Edition, 1983.
Ivy House Agbrigg, the former Barge Bank and Dues Office, page 44.
BARNSLEY CANAL - HEATH COMMON
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