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image for Waypoint item typeThe Canal

Melton Heritage Trail

Contact

Melton Carnegie Museum

0116 305 3860

Address

Melton Mowbray,
Leicestershire,
LE13 0PW

Details

The locks signify the old canal that once ran through this part of Melton. Completed in 1795, running first to Leicester and later to Oakham, Rev Ward wrote that the shares for the canal reached up to £250 each and it carried 75,000 tons of coal each year during its successful period. Before the canal existed, getting coal into Melton relied on roads which took a lot longer: the introduction of the canal made this easier and cheaper.

There was tragedy, mystery and conflict along the canal. A newspaper article from 1859 reported the death from drowning of Mr Richard Fisher of Great Dalby, seen last at the Childers Inn, apparently leaving cheerful and sober. There was also reputedly a highwayman who harassed the men who worked the boats near Oakham.

The canal and its towpath was to host a dispute between the Earl of Harborough and railway surveyors, who wished to run a line through part of his land. The surveyors tried to access Lord Harborough’s land several times from the towpath but were shown off first by the gamekeeper, then by several of Lord Harborough’s men backed up by a cannon from his yacht. In the end the railway line ran around his land, being known as Lord Harborough’s curve.

The advent of the railway made it easier still to get coal and livestock to Melton and due to this and other factors the canal was closed in 1876. Melton Mowbray had two railway lines, the Northern one opening in 1879 to transport ironstone, dairy and livestock. Demolished in 1967, you can see a surviving railway bridge in nearby Melton Country Park.

Trail: Melton Heritage Trail

Waypoint: 13

Location

Directions

See location of The Canal on Google mapsSee location on Google maps

Map reference: SK 750188  Lat: 52.76217 Long: -0.88888