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Latitude: 52.9021 / 52°54'7"N
Longitude: -2.8926 / 2°53'33"W
OS Eastings: 340057
OS Northings: 334227
OS Grid: SJ400342
Mapcode National: GBR 79.PCVF
Mapcode Global: WH89S.JBS0
Entry Name: British Waterways Board Canal Maintenance Depot, Shropshire Union Canal (South East Side) (Llangollen Branch) british Waterways Board Offices and Dry Dock, British Waterways Board Canal Maintenance D
Listing Date: 25 April 1988
Source: Historic England
Source ID: 1366122
English Heritage Legacy ID: 260795
Location: Ellesmere Rural, Shropshire, SY12
Civil Parish: Ellesmere Rural
Traditional County: Shropshire
Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Shropshire
Church of England Parish: Ellesmere St Mary
Church of England Diocese: Lichfield
17-SEP-02 BRITISH WATERWAYS BOARD OFFICES AND DR
Y DOCK, BRITISH WATERWAYS BOARD CANAL
SHROPSHIRE UNION CANAL
BRITISH WATERWAYS BOARD CANAL MAINTENA
NCE DEPOT, SHROPSHIRE UNION CANAL (SOU
TH EAST SIDE) (LLANGOLLEN BRANCH)
Stables and stores, now offices, and dry dock. Circa 1806 adjoining William Jessop's and Thomas Telford's Ellesmere Canal with minor later additions and alterations.
Roughly coursed sandstone rubble with sandstone dressings; hipped slate
roof. Long building on canal side of canal depot with dry dock at south-
west end. 2 storeys. 6 horizontal sliding sashes directly below eaves
and 4 with segmental heads to ground floor. Segmental-headed boarded doors
to left and right with 3 wide segmental-headed double doors to right of
centre. Round-headed arch to south-west end gives access to dry dock.
Open lean-to supported on wooden posts to canal side. Rectangular ventilated
louvre to ridge has weathervane in shape of narrow boat. INTERIOR: Dry
dock has king-post roof with raking struts from walls to tie beams on canal
side. Stone sett floor with mooring rings surrounding dock. In the dock boats were formerly built, repaired and 'indexed'. To empty the dock of water a temporary dam was built across the entrance by dropping 'stop-planks' into iron-shod grooves. The water was then drained out, the boat coming to nest on baulks of timber in the now-dry dock.
This range, with its attached covered dry dock for the manufacture and repair of canal barges, is of great significance in relationship to the canal industry, for it comprises one of the key functional buildings in what is now acknowledged to be the best-preserved canal workshop site in Britain. The dry dock, which has access direct to the canal, comprises an exceptionally early example of such a structure. Dry docks were first employed in the naval dockyards, the introduction (based on Swedish precedent) of the first wide-span roofs to enable the protection of ships under construction not taking place until the first decade of the 19th century. This covered dry dock predates the grade I and II* covered slips at Devonport and Chatham, partly no doubt on account of the fact that its much narrower span did not present a major engineering challenge.
It was very probably built to the designs of Telford and Jessop, canal engineers being traditionally responsible for a wide range of structures from the trim (lettering and mileposts) to locks and keepers' houses. All canal companies had maintenance yards for work on boats, locks, paddle gearing and other aspects of the working fabric of inland waterways.
(Edward Wilson, The Ellesmere and Llangollen Canal (1975), pp. 53-7).
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