Butterley Tunnel

Nottingham, United Kingdom

Butterley Tunnel

Butterley Tunnel is a 3,083-yard (2,819 m) disused canal tunnel on the Cromford Canal below Ripley, in Derbyshire, England, opened to traffic in 1794. Along with Butterley Works blast furnaces, part of the canal tunnel and its underground wharf were declared a scheduled monument in 2013.

The tunnel was 2,966 yard (2712m) long, 9 ft (2.7 m) wide at water level, and 8 ft (2.4 m) from water to soffit (depending on the water level). At the time of building it was the third longest canal tunnel in the World after Sapperton and Dudley. Thirty-three shafts were sunk during construction with the workings dewatered using a Woodhouse steam engine. Water was provided for the Cromford Canal from the 50-acre (200,000 m2) Butterley Reservoir situated on the hill above the tunnel. The Butterley Reservoir is itself crossed by a stone railway embankment currently used by the locomotives of the Midland Railway - Butterley's preserved steam railway. Water flowed from the reservoir directly into the tunnel via an adit 600 yards (550 m) along the tunnel from the western portal. Above the eastern portal the Butterley Park Reservoir once provided water to the canal. This Reservoir was filled in during 1935. Both the tunnel and reservoirs were constructed by the Butterley Company, formed in 1790 by Benjamin Outram (1764–1805) and Francis Beresford (died 1801) with William Jessop (1745–1814) and John Wright (1758–1840) joining by 1793.

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