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Wigwell Aqueduct
Matlock, Derbyshire
associated engineer
William Jessop
date  1793
era  Georgian  |  category  Aqueduct  |  reference  SK314556
The stone Wigwell Aqueduct (also known as Derwent Aqueduct) was rebuilt at Jessop's own expense after it partially collapsed during construction. It is part of the engineering of the Cromford Canal.
This canal was perhaps the most crucial work in Jessop's career, establishing him at the forefront of his profession in his own right (he had been John Smeaton's deputy). The canal was authorised in 1777 and its purpose was to provide better transportation for the limestone quarries at Crich and the coal and iron ore at Ripley.
The aqueduct carries the canal over the River Derwent at Lea Wood. It consists of a single, segmental arch, spanning the river, with a smaller arch on each bank. The main arch rises 18ft from its springing, low by the water. The top of the parapet measures 38ft from normal water level.
The aqueduct is of Crich limestone but was not originally built to sufficient thickness for the material -- an error on the side of economy to which Jessop whole-heartedly confessed: "The failure has happened for want of a sufficient strength in the front walls and I blame no one but myself for the consequence, having often seen profusion of expense by an unnecessary consumption of materials..."
While the aqueduct was being rebuilt, goods were transported between the two halves of the canal via a tramway across a temporary bridge.
reference sources   LG/SJ

Wigwell Aqueduct