Stockport Branch Canal

Stockport Canal Basin

Stockport Canal Basin was at the terminus of the Stockport Branch of the Ashton Canal just beyond Lancashire Hill Bridge. It was located in a lozenge-shaped area of land bounded on the east by Lancashire Hill and Gordon Street and on the west by Sheffield Street and it was bisected by Wharf Street.


Stockport Canal Basin, 1896.

Albion Corn Mill, belonging to W Nelstrop & Company, and Lancashire Hill Canal Warehouse dominated the basin and the whole area was once a scene of considerable activity. Grain bound for this mill was one of the most important cargoes carried on the Stockport Branch. The keystone in the arched-shipping hole to the warehouse was engraved 'AC Co 1823' (Ashton Canal Company). It is understood that the warehouse was eventually used as a storehouse for grain and flour but it had to be demolished after a serious fire.

Besides Albion Corn Mill, the map of 1896 shows Wharf Street Mill, a paint works and a hat works plus three coal wharfs and two other wharfs. However, the Canal Distance Table, produced by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company in September 1888, gives a clearer indication of the amount of industrial activity at Stockport Basin. This has been reproduced below as accurately as possible and it includes the strikeouts and alterations. The distances are measured from Clayton Junction, which is where the Stockport Branch left the main line of the Ashton Canal between locks 10 and 11. These tables shows that Stockport Basin was a mere 18 chains (396 yards) long and it is hard to believe that so much industry could be packed into this short distance.

Stockport Branch of the Ashton Canal
Distance Table for Stockport Basin CW = Company Wharf
Distances measured from Clayton Junction where the branch left the main line of the Ashton CanalMilesChains
Lancashire Hill Bridge453
Lancashire Hill Warehouse455
W. Nelstrop & Co's Albion Corn Mill455
Company's Wharf. Junction of Lancashire Hill Branch for Hayes' Wharf
Wilson's Rivett's Mill and Wharf
Norton's Rivett's Mill and Wharf
CW456
D. Worth's Coal Wharf. Lee & Booth's Coal WharfCW458
Wharf Street Bridge459
Company's New Warehouse and Wharfs on both sides of canalCW461
Company's Sand Wharf, Company's Timber WharfCW463
Company's Wharf occupied by A. HartleyCW465
Denham & Hough's Machine Rhodes & Co's Works
H. Barlow & Son's Oil Works
CW466
Coal Wharf. Company's Wharf occupied by L. Maiden & CoCW469
Coal WharfCW471

The Stockport Branch was largely an urban canal that was heavily industrialised for most of its length. However, commercial carrying dwindled during the 1930s and eventually Stockport Basin was closed. Nonetheless, traces of this were still visible in the late 1960s before it was finally filled in. Today, the only reminders of the existence the basin are Albion Corn Mill and Wharf Street.

Lancashire Hill Canal Warehouse on the corner of Wharf Street and Sheffield Street (late Canal Street), Stockport, 1961.

Wharf Street Bridge is in the foreground and Sheffield Street is on the right.

It is understood that this warehouse was eventually used by W Nelstrop & Company's Albion Corn Mill as a storehouse for grain and flour. It had to be demolished following a serious fire.

One of the principal cargoes carried on the Stockport Branch Canal was grain destined for Albion Corn Mill.
Detail of the arched-shipping hole accessing the Lancashire Hill Canal Warehouse, viewed from Wharf Street Bridge, 1967.

Note the keystone incised with, 'AC Co 1823' (Ashton Canal Company).