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FORTH AND CART CANALClass = CANALSNGR Desc. = NS 4975 6936 to 5007 7029

Event ID 1047178

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Linear Account


Forth and Cart Canal - Lin 27. From NS 4975 6936 to NS 5007 7029.


In 1836 the Act was passed to undertake work on this canal, which was opened in 1840. The purpose of this waterway was to act as a feeder from Paisley to the Forth and Clyde Canal in an attempt to improve transport facilities for the cotton-mills of Paisley. The original scheme had been put forward by Hugh Baird in 1799 and the later promoters likewise hoped that uninterrupted communication between the Firth of Forth and Paisley could thus be provided. Such a route they considered preferable to that via Port Eglinton and Port Dundas, and they also hoped that by using the Monkland Canal, the Forth and Clyde, the new cut and the River Cart coal could be transported to Paisley from the Coatbridge area. A further claim was that by furnishing a link to the Clyde for 'boats and barges of small burden,' these would not have to go through the larger locks to the west and consumption of water on the Forth and Clyde would be reduced.

The canal, once opened, provided a link between the River Clyde opposite the mouth of the River Cart to the Forth and Clyde Canal at Whitecrook. On this half-mile waterway there was a single lock and a staircase pair, which served to raise its level by thirty feet. The chamber of each lock was sixty-seven feet in length and fifteen feet in width, enabling the canal to take boats of these measurements.

In 1842 there was an Act passed authorising the Forth and Clyde Canal Company to take it over, but it was 1855 by the time the transfer took place. There were notable financial difficulties. Although the annual revenue was #325 on average and annual maintenance and management expenses together with the payment of interest on the debt were reckoned to be about #342, it was estimated that in order to 'put the works in good order' a sum of #3,100 would have to be expended. Due to railways from Ayrshire having taken over the mineral trade to Paisley, traffic in the canal had dropped to below 40,000 tons causing the Company to be in considerable debt and unable to pay dividends. A purchase price of #6,400 was agreed by the Forth and Clyde, whose revenue annually from 'the whole Cart Canal trade' averaged #739. They also agreed that the original proprietors should receive 1d per ton on traffic in future which exceeded 90,000 tons annually. The shareholders were advised to accept by the Forth and Cart Committee, who realised the improbability of a doubling in trade as well as the fact that the Company's debt would absorb the whole of the cash payment.

The Caledonian Railway assumed ownership of the canal when it acquired the Forth and Clyde and the Forth and Cart eventually ceased operations and was closed by an Act of 1893.

J Lindsay 1968.


(Map sheets NS46NE, NS47SE and NS57SW).

The sites have been located on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Dumbartonshire 1864, sheet xxviii).

The canal (NS46NE 129.00) commenced in the NE corner of map sheet NS46NE at a point on the River Clyde opposite the mouth of the River Cart. Heading in a NNE direction, it passed under a small bridge (NS46NE 129.01) near the Clyde, then flowed through a lock (NS46NE 129.02), possibly the staircase pair mentioned by Lindsay (1968), under a bridge (NS46NE 129.03) carrying the road from Yoker and finally passed through another lock (NS46NE 129.04).

The canal (NS47SE 202) then briefly passed through the SE corner of map sheet NS47SE, still heading in a NNE direction, and the waterway (NS57SW 176.00) terminated on map sheet NS57SW by flowing under a small bridge (NS57SW 176.01) and joining the Forth and Clyde Canal (NS57SW 72) at Whitecrook.

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