Monument details

HER Number:666/1
Type of record:Archaeology
Name:Anderton Boat Lift, basins and associated features


The Anderton Boat Lift is Grade I listed and a Scheduled Monument. It was built in 1875 to lift canal boats 50ft from the Weaver Navigation to the Trent and Mersey Canal, as an alternative to a series of locks. It was designed by Edwin Clark of Clark, Stansfield and Clark, Westminster and was the first boat lift of its kind in the world. It was operated hydraulically with two wrought iron caissons working side by side in an iron framework. The lift worked by removing water from the lower caisson. Corrosion of the hydraulic system meant it had to be replaced in 1908. The rams were removed and a new framework installed which operated by a system of pulleys and counterweights and an electric drive. It was connected to the main line of the Trent and Mersey Canal by a wrought iron aqueduct, 162ft (50 metres) long supported on 30 iron piers. The lift was closed in the 1980s needing major repairs. This work has now been carried out and the lift is now the only boat lift operating in Britain. It has been restored to its original hydraulic operation.

The monument includes the Anderton Boat Lift and its associated basins and aqueduct, the meter building, two toll houses, the buried remains of the original engine house together with an assortment of features used to transport and store salt and other goods between the River Weaver Navigation and the Trent and Mersey Canal. It also includes the buried remains of the east basin and various associated dockside features and the buried remains of part of a graving slip.

Limited excavations in the vicinity of the boat lift have found an assortment of salt chute footings, remains of a loading platform, a steam engine bedstone, part of a retaining wall, the well-preserved surface of a trackway, part of the wharf area, part of the east basin warehouse complex, a culvert, a flue and chimney, and the remains of the engine house which housed the steam boilersnand engines which ran the hydraulics to operate the boat lift prior to the early 20th century. The surviving remnants of the early industrial waterways transport network are particularly important both by virtue of their rarity and representivity.


Monument Types

  • AQUEDUCT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • CANAL BASIN (Post Medieval to AD 21st CENTURY - 1540 AD to 2099 AD)
  • SALT CHUTE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • STEAM ENGINE HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • TOLL HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • BOAT LIFT (AD 20TH CENTURY to AD 21st CENTURY - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)
  • CANAL TRANSPORT SITE (Canal Route, AD 20TH CENTURY to AD 21st CENTURY - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)
  • RIVER NAVIGATION (AD 20TH CENTURY to AD 21st CENTURY - 1901 AD to 2050 AD)
Protected Status:Scheduled Monument 1021152: Anderton Boat Lift, Aqueduct, Basins, Meter Building, Toll Houses And Buried Remains Of Salt Chutes, Inclined Planes, The East Basin And Dockside Features

Cheshire East Council and Cheshire West & Chester Council - Working in Partnership
Heritage Lottery Fund