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Burslem Branch Canal

The Burslem Branch Canal (Burslem Port Arm) is under restoration having been closed in 1962.  The canal helped Burslem claim its reputation as the home of pottery manufacturing within Stoke-on-Trent.

Facts & Stats

1805

The year the canal was opened

1962

The year the canal was closed

0.4 miles

The length of the Burslem Branch Canal

Burslem Branch Canal – an immediate success!

The Burslem Branch Canal was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1797 and completed in 1805 – 30 years after James Brindley completed the mainline of the Trent & Mersey Canal.  The Branch Canal was linked to Burslem town centre by a tramway up the hill of Navigation Road.

The success of the canal was immediate, paving the way for Burslem to develop a reputation as the home of pottery manufacturing within Stoke-on-Trent.

The canal breached in 1961, draining much of the 5½ mile summit pound of the Trent & Mersey Canal from Etruria to Kidsgrove.  The breach was the result of mining subsidence and lack of maintenance.  Rather than repair the breach, the then British Waterways piled off the Arm at the junction of the Trent & Mersey Canal main line.

The restoration story…

The restoration of Burslem Port Arm was jointly promoted by the Trent & Mersey Canal Society and IWA’s North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch in the 2000s.  In 2011 the two organisations founded the Burslem Port Trust.

The original line of the Burslem Branch Canal was added to the Trent & Mersey Canal Conservation Area in a review carried out in 2012.  Parts of Middleport with strong connections to the canal, such as the terraced streets around Middleport Pottery, were added to the Conservation Area at the same time.

The Burslem Port Trust published a comprehensive proposal and plan in 2014 and started up volunteer work parties in the same year.

A strategy report for restoration was published in 2018 and Stoke on Trent City Council awarded the project £45,000 in 2019 for major towpath repairs.

Waterway restoration

Restoring the UK’s blue infrastructure – our inherited network of navigable canals and rivers – is good for people and places.

New waterways add value

The advantages of the proposed waterways far exceed leisure boating alone. They incorporate a nature reserve, footpaths and cycle ways, the potential to improve flora and fauna and will contribute to the health and wellbeing of locals and visitors.

Waterway underfunding

Hundreds of miles of waterways – along with their unique heritage and habitats – are currently starved of funding and rely on constant lobbying by us to safeguard their future.