Shardlow Heritage Centre
The Working Port 1770 - 1948
 
  
SETTING THE SCENE 
 
 
 
(not yet written)
 
   
Memories from the 1830's -  
" I then find myself on the old coach road once more and will this time steer my course towards Derby as there are at least a few people there that I am desirous to see, and I know who will be equally well pleased to see me.  But I must pause here for a minute as this used to be the centre point of attraction in fact the business quarter of the village, here all the day through might be heard the creaking of cranes, the rattling of chains, the falling of timbers, the shouts of the boatmen and wharfmen and all other noises associated with a busy little commercial port.  In addition to this there was the sounds of hammer, axe and saw of the carpenters, the sound of the anvil and also the well known noise of the boat builders, the sail manufactory also being close by, and when all these were stilled in the silent hours of night it was yet not altogether hushed into silence for the whole night through at short intervals might be heard the rattling of the coach wheels upon the road and the merry notes from the bugle horn of the guard of stage coach or the red coat of the Mail, on the Canal the same for the fly boats of Pickford kept on in like manner through night as well as day and from many of those seemingly illiterate men might be heard discoursed the sweetest of music which in the night time was delightful to hear. 

In front of me as I stand is the old warehouse in which was the Clock and the bell which was rung to give notice to the men to commence and to leave off work, and also the lock and the Inn and the stables for the horses." - George Gilbert's unpublished memoirs written 1882 about his early life in Shardlow as an apprentice blacksmith in the 1830's. 

 
 narrowboats leaving Shardlow Lock
view from the Idle Bridge on the old coach road
 
 
Canal, Basin and Warehouse Development - overview 
The Trent and Mersey Canal was built through the years 1766 - 1777. The section through Shardlow was completed 1770. 
 The earliest map we know of is a 1778 plan of the complete T & M  Canal, in book form, and the section for the north end of the canal survives (British Waterways) but we have so far been unable to locate the other half that includes Shardlow. If found, this would give a valuable insight into how much of the port was created when the canal was first built. The earliest map we have of the port is 1816 and shows about a dozen warehouses and 12 canal basins. So by 1816 all the canal basins that we know of had been constructed but some of the dozen warehouses were later replaced, and additional ones were built. All those with the distinctive sunburst windows were built post 1816. There was a similar warehouse with sunburst windows on the Derby Canal in Derby with the date stone 1820.  

"The Trent and Mersey Canal runs through the village and joins the river Trent about 1/2 mile below. On its banks and branches are several extensive coal and timber wharfs with a large warehouse for iron, another for cheese, corn and salt and other carrying establishments. For many years this was an improving place, but since the opening of the Midland and other railways the business of this place has been gradually declining." 
Harrison's Directory of 1860 (Derbyshire)

 
 
1852 PLAN and key 
 
1852 PLAN
 
1.
The Canal Tavern
21.
Soresby's warehouse and dockyard
2.
Shardlow Lock and Lockhouse
22.
The Maltings - built 1799 as a brewery
3.
'B' warehouse
23.
Coal Wharf - owned by Charles Cope
4.
'A' Warehouse
24.
New Inn - owned by Mary Cope - provided accommodation for boatmen
5.
The Limes - offices of the T & M Canal Co (demolished)
25.
Cowlishaw's Row, since renamed Long Row
6.
The fishponds of Shardlow Hall
26.
Soresby and Flack's wharf, showing the grain warehouse next to which a steam corn mill was later sited
7.
Salt warehouse, Cottages & houses built by Thomas Sutton
27.
Corn warehouse on the site occupied by the Trent Brewery from 1860 to 1970's
8.
Idle Bridge - named after boatmen 'waiting for work'
28.
Coal wharf and the Lawn(s)
9.
Cottages and shop (demolished when London Road was widened)
29.
Soresby's wharf including warehouses, stabling and offices
10.
Iron Warehouse, blacksmith's shop etc. belonging to Thomas Soar and James Sutton (demolished in 1890's)
30.
the Soresby family home (built 1770's), now the Lady in Grey restaurant
11.
Two docks, nailshop, paint and tar shed etc. belonging to James Sutton (all gone)
31.
the Ropery, owned by James Sutton, later run by the Henshall family
12.
'C' warehouse - c. 1820
32.
the Ropewalk
13.
Derwent House - one time offices of the Trent Navigation Company - 1794
33.
the Navigation Inn built by Thomas Sutton 1778/1779
14.
Row of canal workers cottages
34.
Broughton House built by Thomas Sutton in the 1790's and occupied by James Sutton the elder until his death in 1830 and then by James Clifford, his friend and agent - and later partner of James Sutton junior
15.
'D' warehouse - 1816
35.
Wharf occupied in the early years of the port by the Soresby's and later (by the 1850's) by the Sutton's consisting  of a 1780's? long warehouse and an 1820's rectangular warehouse with sunburst windows
16.
'E' warehouse - 1792
 
17.
The Iron Warehouse
 
18.
2 cottages; one the home of the Gilbert family, whose son George wrote memoirs in 1882
 
19.
Soresby's Wharf
 
20.
The Firs (built in the 1790's) - owned by the Soresby family
 
for a separate page showing only the above map key table (to facilitate printing) click  here 
  
 
THE CANAL COMPANY AT SHARDLOW  
  • Hugh  Henshall - Trent and Mersey Canal Company,  and North Staffs Railway Company
  
 
 to continue, see links to other sections of THE WORKING PORT below:
 
 
   
 
LINKS TO OTHER PAGES IN THIS SITE 
Home Page and update info
Exhibition and Special Events   
Brief History of the Village   
1882 Map of Shardlow
Shardlow - placename and surname 
A Walk through the Village
Photo Gallery 
Dobson's boat yard   (NEW 30/10/2016)
Links to Related Sites 
 
THE WORKING PORT
NOW IN THE FOLLOWING 5 PAGES:
 Setting the Scene and 1852 Plan (THIS PAGE)
 Carriers by River and Canal at Shardlow 
 Boatbuilders at Shardlow 
 Other Traders in the Canal Port 
Local Waterways on Old Postcards
 
 
 
 
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last updated on 1 December 2000