Natural Eden Images Nature Photography by Stephen James Thompson
Natural Eden Images Nature Photography by Stephen James Thompson
An oil on canvas painting of the Canal basin by William Brown c1823 displayed in tullie house museum Carlisle

The Carlisle Canal a brief history of a short lived form of transport

Carlisle's long lost Canal must be one of the least known of all the Canals that were built in this country.To look along its course today you would never know that it even existed.Work started on the Canal in 1819, its short passage from the Basin close to Carrs biscuit factory on Primrose bank down to Port Carlisle on the Solway Firth that led it out to sea, was closed in 1853.Only the odd clue remains of its short lived existence, its use gave way to the Railway boom that spanned the country at this time.With a length of around 11 miles long, and a depth of 8ft with 8 locks along its length the Canal created a lot of jobs.Mens lives were lost in the construction of the Canal through accidents and misuse of alchohol.There was a huge Ceremony on the opening of the Canal with most of the population of the City gathered to watch the Boats come up into the basin near what is now port road and an industrial estate.The Canal would once of been a thriving waterway with regular cargo sailing up and down its route to the solway, but it was soon to be replaced by the great steam trains that ran the same course as the canal.The old Silloth line was built on the channel of the canal and a large engine shed was constructed close by and named the Canal sheds.Unfortunatley as the steam railways were being replaced by deisel trains and huge cut backs were being made in the wake of the beeching report the Canal sheds went the same way as the old Canal and were broken up in 1963 with the loss of the old Silloth line. 

The North British Railway bridge carrying the waverley line to Scotland,this network of railway lines replaced the Canal in 1853