Carlisle Gas And Water Works, and Carlisle Canal

The Gas Works1 were erected in Carlisle, pursuant to an Act of Parliament, in 1819, at a cost of about 10,000 raised in 25 shares, and were held by 160 proprietors till 1846, when nearly all the shares were purchased by the corporation trustees, at 43 per share. The old works, which were taken down in 1847, the site being required for the general station,2 now in course of erection, contained thirty three retorts, and three gasometers, capable of holding 30,000 cubic feet of gas. The New Gas Works, which are now being erected in Borough Mill Field, will be completed in 1847, and the estimated cost is about 10,000. They are intended for sixty retorts, with capabilities of extending them to ninety, and two gasometers, each capable of holding 50,000 cubic feet of gas. The gas is sold at 5s. per 1000 cubic feet, and the lights are very brilliant. The half-yearly meetings are on the first Tuesday in October and April: the City and District Banking Company, are treasurers, and Mr. John Crosthwaite is engineer, and manager of the works.

WATERWORKS. In l846, a joint stock company was formed for the purpose of supplying the city and its environs, with water from the river Eden. The company, acting upon the proposition of Mr. James Simpson, engineer of the Chelsea and Lambeth Waterworks, intend to erect a steam engine in the Stoney Holme, at a point near the junction of the Petterill with the Eden, to take water from the latter, and after filtering, to convey it across the land of the duke of Devonshire, along Union-street and the London-road, to Gallow-hill, there to be deposited in a large reservoir, near St. Cuthbert's Workhouse.

This reservoir is intended to be made of sufficient capacity to contain ten days supply; and the water will flow to all the streets and places in the borough, through pipes, varying in size, according to the probable want of each district. The height of the reservoir will be forty feet above the level of the flagging of the gaol, being the highest ground in Carlisle. With such a pressure as this elevation will produce, the houses, even in this district, may be supplied to a height of thirty-five feet above the ground, and to such an elevation in the lower parts of the town, that Messrs. Dixon's factory, in Shaddengate, may be served. The principal buildings and manufactories in the town and neighbourhood can thus, at all times, have the command of a large body of water in cases of fire, which, as the mains will be constantly charged, can be obtained at a moment's notice, from fire plugs being fixed at available distances; and posts can also be placed at convenient parts of the town to provide supplies for cleansing and watering the streets, and other purposes. It has been ascertained that there are in Carlisle 4481 dwelling-houses, varying in amount of rental from under 3 to upwards of 100 per annum; and it is proposed that the poorest class of houses, viz., those under 3 rent, should have an unrestricted supply of water at the rate of 1d. per week; the price for the higher classes gradually rising in a reasonable proportion to the rental.

The following is the estimate of the proposed works, which are expected to be in operation about August, 1847.


Reservoir and Works at Gallow Hill 1200
Filter, near theEngine House 200
Main Pipes, Cocks, Watering Posts, Fire Plugs, &c. 7987
Lead Branch Pipes, and Brass Work 1500
Engine and Pumps, complete 1450
Engine House, Shaft, and Cottage 800
Land for Reservoir, Engine House, &c. 500
Contingencies, Incidental Expences, &c., 10 per cent. 1363

raised in shares of 10 each.

The company is managed by a committee of fifteen directors, of whom Jas. Steel, Esq. chairman; Jos. Fawcett, Esq. vice-chairman; G.H. Head, Esq. treasurer; and Mr. Ed. Routledge, secretary.   Office - Town Hall.

The Ship Canal, which extends from Carlisle to Solway Frith,3 near Bowness, was commenced in 1819, and finished in 1823, at the cost of 150,000. It is the property of 305 shareholders, established by Act of Parliament, and contributes greatly to the wealth and prosperity of the city by affording a communication with the western ocean for vessels of from 80 to 100 tone burthen. It is 11 miles in length, and rises and falls 60 feet by means of eight locks, each of which is 72 feet long, 18 feet 4 inches wide, and 8 feet deep in water. The Solway is very efficiently buoyed and lighted by the canal company, under an Act of Parliament. The canal is terminated by a capacious basin, where there are large bonding and other warehouses, about one mile from the Market-place, in the higher part of Caldewgate township.4

The Port of Carlisle extends along the coast from the river Sark, (which divides Cumberland from Scotland,) along the south side of the Solway Frith, to Bank End, near Maryport. Vessels of less than 100 tons can navigate the canal, and the Eden is navigable for vessels of 60 tons, as far as Sandsfield, five miles N.W. of Carlisle. It has a good trade in timber, iron, slates, salt, &c. &c., and the exportations consist principally of grain, flour, meal, oak bark, alabaster, freestone, lead, staves, &c. The cotton
wool manufactured here is brought chiefly from Liverpool, whither a great part of it is returned in a manufactured state for exportation. A good custom-house and spacious bonding warehouses, for wine, spirits, groceries, and tobacco, were erected a few years ago at the canal basin. The following are the custom-house officers:- Collector, Kenneth Mackenzie; Comptroller, Edward Walters; Searcher and Clerk, Thomas Weir; Principal Coast Officer, Thomas Dickinson; Tide Waiters and Lockers, Alexander Oliver, James Smith, and George Topping.

The Excise Office, at the Lion and Lamb, is open once in six or seven weeks, when the collector for Cumberland attends for the receipt of this branch of the public revenue.


Mannix & Whellan, History, Gazetteer and Directory of Cumberland, 1847


1. In the original text, the section on the gas works is in the section describing the Walks; evidently a heading was omitted.
2. i.e. the railway station.
3. Now Solway Firth.
4. The canal was not economically viable and was filled in in 1854, the route used in part for the Carlisle - Silloth railway. The buildings at the canal basin were demolished relatively recently.

04 March 2001

Steve Bulman