On Sunday October 12 1958 a major breach occurred on the Middlewich Branch Canal between bridges 12 and 13 – at the site locally known as the viewpoint overlooking Church Minshull. At that time it was the largest known canal breach in the UK.
Over a three hour period five miles of water – 2,600,000 gallons – drained into the field and the River Weaver below. Until it was repaired in order to travel between Nantwich and Middlewich – 13 miles – all commercial traffic had to detour via the Trent & Mersey, Staffordshire & Worcestershire and the Shropshire Union canals – 88 miles.
Further details and photos plus British Waterways' report from their December 1958 In House magazine can be found on SUMBA's website's History page.
Photos courtesy of Brian Charlesworth