Record Details

NHER Number:13534
Type of record:Monument
Name:North Walsham and Dilham Canal

Summary

This important artificial waterway linked North Walsham to the River Ant at Dilham. The idea to build it seems to have originated as a means of avoiding the fairly high cost of transporting goods on the newly opened toll road between North Walsham and Norwich. It was also seen as an opportunity to improve turnover at a number of mills along the River Ant. Although the idea to build a canal was decided on, mainly by local landowners, in 1811, and an Act of Parliament authorizing its construction was passed in 1812, the canal was only completed in mid-1826 at a cost of £32,000. Once completed, the system allowed goods to travel from Antingham, via the River Bure, to Great Yarmouth (and of course back). The canal was ten miles long, dug by hand by a labour force of about a hundred men, and lined with clay. A special cut ('Tyler's Cut') was made in Dilham to access a brickworks there (NHER 15890).

However, the canal itself was narrow, only able to take boats up to twelve tons, and it soon became clear that the volume of trade was too small to be profitable. Even if the volume had been higher, the water supply (from the upper reaches of the River Ant) would not have been sufficient to replace the water let through the locks. Also the advent of the railway and improved roads meant that, in a short period of time, cheaper and more efficient transport systems were available.

After various changes in ownership, the canal fell into disuse in the 1920s. Of the five mills along its course, Antingham (NHER 15854), Bacton Wood (NHER 11572), Ebridge (NHER 11730) Briggate (NHER 8206) and Dilham (NHER 15892) only Ebridge continued to trade (by road, not using the canal) and now even this has pretty much closed down.

Images

  • Dilham and North Walsham canal showing Bacton Wood Lock  © J.O. Ward

Location

Grid Reference:TG 3086 2862
Map Sheet:TG32NW
Parish:ANTINGHAM, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK
DILHAM, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK
NORTH WALSHAM, NORTH NORFOLK, NORFOLK

Full description

Begun 1825. Now mostly abandoned.
Bridges, locks remain.
See details, press cuttings (S1) to (S5) and photograph (S6) in file.
E. Rose (NAU), 24 November 1986.

Duplicate prints from an important set of photographs taken of the canal in 1956 are in file (S7).

This important artificial waterway linked North Walsham to the River Ant at Dilham. The idea to build it seems to have originated as a means of avoiding the fairly high cost of transporting goods on the newly opened toll road between North Walsham and Norwich. It was also seen as an opportunity to improve turnover at a number of mills along the River Ant. Although the idea to build a canal was decided on, mainly by local landowners, in 1811, and an Act of Parliament authorizing its construcion was passed in 1812, the canal was only completed in mid-1826 at a cost of £32,000. Once completed, the system allowed goods to travel from Antingham, via the River Bure, to Great Yarmouth (and of course back). The canal was ten miles long, dug by hand by a labour force of about a hundred men, and lined with clay. A special cut ('Tyler's Cut') was made in Dilham to access a brickworks there (NHER 15890).

However, the canal itself was narrow, only able to take boats up to twelve tons, and it soon became clear that the volume of trade was too small to be profitable. Even if the volume had been higher, the water supply (from the upper reaches of the River Ant) would not have been sufficient to replace the water let through the locks. Also the advent of the railway and improved roads meant that, in a short period of time, cheaper and more efficient transport systems were available.

After various changes in ownership, the canal fell into disuse in the 1920s. Of the five mills along its course, Antingham (NHER 15854), Bacton Wood (NHER 11572), Ebridge (NHER 11730) Briggate (NHER 8206) and Dilham (NHER 15892) only Ebridge continued to trade (by road, not using the canal) and now even this has pretty much closed down.
P. Aldridge (NLA), 26 June 2006.

January 2007. Norfolk NMP.
Notes on Norfolk’s World War Two defences (S8) record that sections of the canal were deepened to form an anti-tank ditch. Where this is visible on aerial photographs (as banks of dredged material, for example) it has been recorded as NHER 38818, 45232, 45233, 49213, 49212 and 49211.
S. Tremlett (NMP), 3 January 2007.

Monument Types

  • BRIDGE (19th Century to 21st Century - 1826 AD to 2100 AD)
  • CANAL (19th Century to 21st Century - 1826 AD to 2100 AD)
  • LOCK (19th Century to 21st Century - 1826 AD to 2100 AD)

Associated Finds - none

Protected Status

  • SHINE
  • SHINE
  • SHINE

Sources and further reading

---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TG 33 SW 40.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Unpublished Contractor Report: Network Archaeology. 2002. Bacton to Kings Lynn Proposed Gas Pipeline. Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment. Network Archaeology. 179.
---Website: Baker, K.. 2006. http://www.canals.btinternet.co.uk/canals/northwalshamdilham.htm. http://www.canals.btinternet.co.uk/canals/northwalshamdilham.htm. 5 September 2006.
---Monograph: Russell, R.. 1982. Lost Canals and Waterways of Britain..
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Fiche: Exists.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2012. Protest halts canal work. 25 April.
---Collection: Norfolk Historic Environment Record Staff. 1975-[2000]. HER Record Notes. Norfolk Historic Environment Service.
---Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 2017. Historic North Walsham landmark restored by volunteers. 15 September.
<S1>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1981-1982. [Articles on the restoration of bridges across the North Walsham and Dilham Canal].
<S2>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1984. Clash over canal use. 31 January.
<S3>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1984. [Articles on the restoration of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal].
<S4>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1984. [Photograph of North Walsham and Dilham Canal in 1912]. 27 February.
<S5>Newspaper Article: Eastern Daily Press. 1999-2000. [Articles and a letter to the editor on the planned restoration of North Walsham and Dilham Canal].
<S6>Photograph: BVA 12 (Ebridge Lock).
<S7>Photograph: Ward, J. O.. 1956. Images of the North Walsham and Dilham Canal. Black and white prints. print.
<S8>Unpublished Document: ?. ?. Defence Notes, derived from 'Old Maps in County Hall' IN Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society military defence file.

Related records

49212Parent of: Site of World War Two anti tank defences along the North Walsham to Dilham canal (Monument)
49213Parent of: Site of World War Two anti tank defences along the North Walsham to Dilham canal (Monument)
45233Parent of: Site of World War Two anti tank defences along the North Walsham to Dilham canal (Monument)
45232Parent of: Site of World War Two anti tank defences along the North Walsham to Dilham canal (Monument)
49211Parent of: Site of World War Two anti tank defences, North Walsham to Dilham canal (Monument)
38818Parent of: Site of World War Two anti-tank barrier (Monument)

Find out more...

Norfolk County Council logo Heritage Lottery Fund logo

Powered by HBSMR-web and the HBSMR Gateway from exeGesIS SDM Ltd, and mojoPortal CMS
© 2007 - 2020 Norfolk Historic Environment Service