River Lune, Lancaster, Lancashire
John Rennie snr
1794 - 1796
ICE reference number
photo Paul Dunkerley
Architecturally the finest aqueduct in north west England. It carries the Lancaster Canal over the River Lune on five semi-circular arches each of 70ft span.
Rennie designed both the aqueduct and the canal, a fine example of 'contour' canal construction, i.e., it follows the lie of the land. It meanders over the plain known as The Fylde between Preston and Lancaster.
The aqueduct is classical in style, with rusticated masonry and curved wingwalls, and is over 600ft long. For the piers, volcanic pozzolana powder was imported from Italy and mixed with lime concrete, which enabled the concrete to set under water. The men worked double shifts and night shifts to complete the piers before the 1794/5 winter could bring its floodwaters.
The final contact sum for the aqueduct was £48,000, which nearly bankrupted the canal company and forced them to abandon plans for an even bigger structure over the Ribble at Preston. The stonemasons were paid 12 shillings (60p) per week and the Resident Engineer £600 plus expenses per year.
The aqueduct bears two inscriptions. On the north side, the inscription reads "To Public Prosperity". On the south is an inscription in Latin: "Things that are wanting are brought together / Things remote are connected / Rivers themselves meet by the assistance of art / To afford new objects of commerce".
Resident engineer: Archibald Miller
Main contractor: Alexander Stevens & Sons