Melton to Oakham Canal

Site design and build: Nick Cooke
Melton and Oakham Waterways Society Registered 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.