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This canal extends from Merseyside, where it joins the Manchester Ship Canal at Ellesmere Port, to the Midlands where it joins the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal at Autherley Junction. A central portion of this canal runs between Barbridge Junction, near Wardle, to Middlewich where it joins the Trent and Mersey Canal.
1772 The earliest portion was authorised by an Act of Parliament by the Chester Canal Co.
The canal was built in different phases.
c 1774 Chester to Nantwich,
c 1795 Ellesmere Port to Chester, (The Wirral Canal),
c 1828 Nantwich to Autherley,
c 1830 Barbridge to Middlewich.
The second part, also known as the Wirral Canal, saw the amalgamation of the Chester Canal Co with the Ellesmere Canal Co to become the Chester and Ellesmere Canals Co. The village of Netherpool became known as the Port of Ellesmere after the construction of the waterway with Ellesmere in Salop.
1826 Under an Act of 1826, the third section was completed by the Birmingham and Liverpool Junction Canal Co.
1827 The final section was started by the Chester and Ellesmere Canals Co.
1846 All the sections were amalgamated, along with other local connections, into the Shropshire Union Canal
The canal was leased and then purchased by the London and North Western Railway Company.
There are 46 locks on the main line and 2 cast iron aqueducts.