Middle Basin

The Middle Basin contains several interesting features: note the cantilever stone steps leading down to the wharf from the upper level close to Silk Hill bridge, also, the tippler pier beam slots in the wall above the draw tunnels and their corresponding padstones on the wharf-deck. These recessed padstones were used to locate the vertical support posts for the horizontal beams. (See also Waggon-Tipplers.)

Across the canal, to the south, stand the remains of the Gnat Hole (west) lime kilns. This surviving battery contains four combustion chambers, although the draw tunnels have been either destroyed or covered by the collapse which occurred c1890. The three surviving draw tunnel openings which remain visible belonged to the east battery, demolished in the 1950s for a road widening scheme, and the buried remains of which were finally destroyed in 1984 during construction of the A6 bypass.

The footing stones in the Middle Basin channel beneath the kilns are the remains of one of three lime transfer sheds where the lime was loaded onto barges bound for Manchester.

A lime transfer shed was also built across the Middle Basin Arm to service the New Road lime kilns which stood to the north across the Blackbrook. The foundation remains of this building are still visible, as are some of the lower buttress walls and a draw tunnel opening of the former kilns.

Livestock were also loaded and unloaded from the Middle Basin Arm, some heading for the slaughterhouse which once operated in the village.

Middle Basin c1880