Shardlow Heritage Centre

Brief History of the Village 

Shardlow has a unique place in the history of the country. The 18th century canal port, with all its associated wharves and warehouses is clearly to be seen. Originally a river port, Shardlow developed greatly with the opening of the Trent and Mersey Canal in 1770. Goods were transferred from wide boats to narrow boats and stored during this operation or while awaiting redistribution by road, in a growing range of warehouses. Along with this development came all sorts of other businesses and buildings to support the carriers, boat builders, rope walks, workshops, stores, stables, offices, workers' cottages and owners' houses. The decline of the Canal business brought different uses for the warehouses but the area remains remarkably unchanged. 

For more on the history of the port, go to  'The Working Port - 1770 to 1948'   

Early History  
There is much evidence of Iron Age, Bronze Age and Roman settlements in the Trent Valley, and discoveries near Shardlow include :  

the Shardlow Bronze Age boat
3 Medieval Bridges over the river Trent
a Barrow at Lockington
an Iron Age Settlement between Shardlow / Wilne and the river Trent
Roman finds at Great Wilne
River Trent Crossing  
The early bridges are of particular interest to us because we know that the present A6 Derby - London route crossing the river Trent at Cavendish Bridge was not the original crossing point. (The old route is mentioned in our page 'Virtual Walk' with reference to the 1882 map) The old route went from the Dog and Duck , 'behind' Shardlow Hall, to Wilne, and then onwards across the Trent towards Kegworth.   
The siting of the 3 ancient bridges is consistent with this, but we don't yet know the precise location of the original Wilden Ferry which was probably in the same area; although later we believe that Wilden Ferry 'relocated' to the present site of Cavendish Bridge.   

Shardlow Carrier 
"The only regular road service into Derby was the caravan-like vehicle of Potts, the carrier from Castle Donington, in which the passengers struggled for existence with various forms of livestock, innumerable parcels of uncomfortable shape and size, and odd bits of agricultural machinery". Dr. Lethbridge Farmer's memories of old Shardlow. 
This post card of about 1904 shows the bus outside the Midland Station in Derby.

Shardlow Church Centenary Leaflet - 1938  

Visit Shardlow and its Heritage Centre for a fascinating insight into this 18th century canal transhipment port. Follow the village trail, on sale at the Heritage Centre!  See our home page.
Home Page and update info
Exhibition and Special Events  
Brief History of the Village  (THIS PAGE)
1882 Map of Shardlow
Shardlow - placename and surname 
A Walk through the Village
Dobson's boat yard   (NEW 30/10/2016)
Photo Gallery 
Links to Related Sites 
 Setting the Scene and 1852 Plan
 Carriers by River and Canal at Shardlow 
 Boatbuilders at Shardlow 
 Other Traders in the Canal Port 
 Local Waterways on Old Postcards 
last updated on 12 January 2002