Historical Notes

Key Points on the Chesterfield Canal from Norwood to Shireoaks and Historical Notes, by Lance Wilks

Woodhall ponds supplied water for the western Norwood locks via a brick lined channel through Norwood Wood to the basin against the western portal of the tunnel.

Tunnel Keeper’s Cottage (demolished) on left of Norwood Tunnel Western Portal with a Basin: at the time of the tunnel construction it was the longest in the world at 3050 yards, built about 1770.

The tunnel ventilation shaft 200 yards up the hill is now under the M1 motorway.

The Tunnel Top open hole between two colliery waste tips at Kiveton Park Colliery is now filled it, but was used as a loading bay for coal and boat passing place before the tunnel was closed. It was also a swimming hole in a dry season: you could dive off the top of the brick portals into the canal and swim down into the tunnel. In a wet season it was flooded about 15 feet above the portals, making it about 25 feet deep in the canal channel. The Tunnel Top was used by some people as a dog-drowning pond before the Second World War. When the new drift was built to the Clowne coal seam (a sloping tunnel from the surface), the Tunnel Top water drained away down the new drift. We had to install larger pumps.

At the eastern side of Hard Lane the tunnel collapsed on the 16 Oct 1907, which resulted in the closure of the tunnel. It is navigable from the collapse to the Eastern Portal. I went down it in 1996 in a boat from the Eastern Portal and it is in good condition.

John Varley built a house in 1771 on the north side of the Norwood Tunnel Eastern Portal. My school pal Lewis Jefferys lived there as a lad. The house is now demolished.

Tunnel Keepers cottage on the south side left of Norwood Tunnel Eastern Portal has been demolished.

A water supply for the canal eastern locks came from Harthill ponds via a stream past the pit and through Tommy Flockton's to Broad Dyke sluice, which ends at the waterfall on the north side of the canal. This is also a winding hole for boats turning around.

There was a tunnel from the canal to Turner's Quarry at Kiveton Park so they could load stone onto barges for transhipment to the River Trent and the North Sea, then via larger ships to build the Houses of Parliament and other London buildings.

No 31 Dog Kennel Bridge built in 1841 is what is called a turnover bridge where the horse can transfer from one side of the canal to the other on the towpaths without uncoupling the rope to the barge. Station Hotel is on the north side of the railway at this point.