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1840s: The demise of the Canal

Balcombe Viaduct, West Sussex date 1999, by Michael Codd (b.1938)

The Mid Sussex Times on 27 February 1912 summarised Canon Cooper’s researched published  by his son Wilbrahim V Cooper in 'A history of the Parish of Cuckfield'. Canon Cooper was vicar 1888-1909.

Under a summary of Chapter 8 devoted to Highways and Communications we find:

The chapter also refers to the stage coaches of past times, the opening of the railway from London and Croydon to Brighton through Haywards Heath in 1841, and there is a means of communication – and the almost forgotten Ouse Navigation, the terminus of which  was at a wharf in Cuckfield parish, opposite the Ouse Valley railway viaduct.

Of course the advent of the railway and its subsequent extension to Lewes and Newhaven killed the traffic on the waterway as far as the Cuckfield-end of the canalised portion of the Ouse was concerned, and if there was a last burst of energy prior to 1841, by the conveyance of tons upon tons of materials for the building of the massive viaduct, the navigation thus helped, as it were, to forge the  weapon by which it met its own extinction.

Mid Sussex Times on 27 February 1912

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details



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