Melton and Oakham Waterways SocietyRegistered charity number: 1078752
The canal was opened in 1802. It was financially successful, especially in its last 10 years and consistently did more trade than the Melton canal. However there were difficulties with its water supply, and it closed in 1847. In 1846 some 30,000 tons (mainly coal) were transported along the Oakham canal. It is thought that the proprietors foresaw the advent of railways and consequently sold their canal. Their 20 ton barge was sold the year following the closure. It was bought by the Midland Railway to allow the construction of the Syston and Peterborough The main cargoes were coal, via the River Soar and Melton Navigation to Oakham, and agricultural products in the reverse direction.In the early 1800's links to Stamford and on to the River Nene at Peterborough and to the River Welland were discussed, and even put before Parliament in 1811, but no further action was taken.Leaving the old canal basin by the Boat Inn at Melton, it followed the valley of the River Eye to Saxby before reaching a wharf which became Station Cottages, the location of Whissendine Railway Station, and then on to Edmondthorpe and Market Overton. Heading south to the Ashwell/Cottesmore road it was crossed by the former mineral railway to Cottesmore Iron Mines sidings, now the site of "Rocks by Rail", before reaching the Oakham canal basin. (See Google Map)Although buildings at the Cottesmore wharf (near Rocks by Rail) have become derelict and overgrown with ivy, the site of the former Market Overton wharf, the warehouse (now converted into cottages) and the converted weigh-house can still be seen from the Market Overton to Teigh Road.The former warehouse at the Oakham basin is now the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. The stonework around its windows, and the interior beams are the original.