Aspley Canal Basin, Aspley

This page is a bare-bones entry for a specific location marked on an old map. More detailed information may eventually be added...


  • appears on maps: 1851 [#593], 1890 [#45], 1892 [#130], 1905 [#108]
  • location: Sir John Ramsden Canal, accessed via St. Andrew's Road, Aspley
  • status: still exists
  • category: canal feature

Discovering Old Huddersfield

Extract from Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:

The Ramsden Canal was brought through to its terminus near the King's Mill in 1780 and subsequently Aspley Basin was developed in an advantageous position near to the town. With its wharves, docks, warehouses, cranes and weighing machines the Basin was for many years a scene of bustling activity where horse drawn barges were loaded and unloaded. Coal, lime, stone, timber, slates, corn, machinery and textiles, all these and more were carried along the canal, and although transport was slow by modern standards it was much easier, and cheaper at one shilling and sixpence (7½p) a ton, than carrying goods over the difficult roads of those times.

The importance of the Basin was increased when, in 1811, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal was finally opened through the Pennines to link up with the western waterways and ports thus putting Huddersfield at the centre of a cross country trade artery. Activity at Aspley Basin continued for some hundred and fifty years although, of course, the railway and, eventually, the improved roads took an ever increasing amount of business away from the canals Shortly after the Second World War the Narrow Canal was abandoned and although the Ramsden Canal continued to be navigable, albeit with some difficulty, there was no longer any trade and the wharves and warehouses at Aspley were left to decline.

Then, in the late 1960s, the growing popularity of pleasure boating as a leisure activity encouraged the refurbishment of the Basin and the concomitant improvement of the Ramsden Canal was largely due to the efforts of those canalboat owners who regarded reaching Huddersfield by water as something of an adventure.

More recently, the Huddersfield Canal Society, formed in 1974, has lobbied long and hard for the restoration of the Narrow Canal and their labours were rewarded here at Aspley when the channel beneath Wakefield Road, which provided a link between the two canals, was cleared and restored.

Historic England Listing

  • Grade II
  • first listed 29 September 1978
  • listing entry number 1134350

CALDER AND HEBBLE NAVIGATION. SIR JOHN RAMSDEN'S CANAL. Aspley Basin. 1774-80. Stone curbs to waters' edge all round. Mooring irons. The original terminus of Sir John Ramsden's Canal.