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River Trent
Taken From Lyson's Derbyshire of 1817

"The River Trent was made navigable up to Burton Bridge, when an act of parliament was passed in the year 1699 by The Earl Of Uxbridge. But in the year 1805 the navigation from that bridge to Shardlow was given by an agreement with the proprietors of the Trent And Mersey Canal which runs alongside, and is navigable only from Shardlow to the mouth of the Erewash."

There have been many notable changes in the stretch of the River Trent which forms the western and southern boundary of Long Eaton. Wilden Ferry, the forerunner of the Cavendish Bridge is frequently noted in historical records, and also on the earlier maps of the area. The Long Horse Bridge to the Trent and Mersey Canal was destroyed by ice floes when the river was frozen over in 1893. A number of boatmen who were held up by the frozen river were watching the bridge when the thaw came and the ice broke up. They tried to save the bridge by putting heavy weights on it, and also by directing the breaking ice. Eventually the ice smashed the supports and the bridge collapsed. One man, James Thompson, was carried down the river on the floating ice but he managed to land safely farther down.
The old Ox-bow bend just below the mouth of the Derwent on the northern side of the river is evidence of an earlier change in the river course at this point. In 1929 another breakthrough occurred on the northern end of Sawley Weir. Henry J. Bates, a fisherman tells how in 1929 he and another fisherman were fishing and they sat on the grass a few feet from the edge of the river bank. After sitting awhile he got up to stretch his legs and found his clothes were wet through and on examination of the spot where he had been sitting he found little jets of water shooting up through the grass. He notified the river authorities who examined the place in due course, and over a period of time the bank eventually washed away and the river had made a new course for itself.
When the Leicester Corporation Water Scheme was being carried out, a bridge had to be provided to carry the water main over the river. This is situated above the Sawley Weir. The Harrington Bridge at Sawley (built 1786-90) then rebuilt (1905-6) was a turnpike bridge which replaced the old Sawley Ferry. When the plans for the railway from the Parish of Sawley to Weston were passed in 1894, a bridge had to be provided to carry the railway over the river, this is situated near to Sawley Lock. Another horse bridge was necessary at this point in order to reach the Sawley Canal at Sawley Lock.
In the early days there was a considerable volume of traffic on this stretch of the river, and two locks were in operation at Sawley to deal with the large number of boats using the river. Sawley Lock was a very busy spot - and still is today.
Flood banks have always been an essential feature of this stretch of the Trent. Very serious floods have occurred from time to time, the biggest was in 1875, and the 1947 flood came a very close second. Since then a major comprehensive scheme designed to prevent flooding on the River Trent in this area has been carried out.
The triangular swamp in front of the Navigation Inn at Trent Lock was in the early days, part of the river and boats used to tie up to bollards in front of the Navigation Inn. The river consisted of shallows at this point. When the Erewash Canal was made the towing path on the Trent side was changed to connect directly to the Cranfleet Canal by way of the horse bridge over the Erewash Canal outlet at Trent Lock. The original Navigation Inn was the oldest building at Trent Lock.
Between the Cranfleet Cutting and the railway bridges, the river takes a definite sweep eastward and on this bend the River Soar joins the Trent from the south. The Trent Lock Weir is just below the high level goods railway line bridge which was constructed in 1900 to duplicate the main line into Toton Sidings.

River Erewash
Taken From Lyson's Derbyshire of 1817

"There is some contention over where the River Erewash actually rises. According to Pilkington, it is said to rise in the Hundred of Scarsdale, but on Burdett's map it appears to rise on the outskirts of Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, and most of its course follows the then boundary between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire passing by Pinkston, Ilkeston and Sandiacre then it falls into the Trent about a mile and a half from Long Eaton. Thrumpton Ferry was about a mile down the river from the railway bridges. Barton Ferry was near to the mouth of the River Erewash and about two miles below Thrumpton Ferry. The old Barton Ferry House, long since demolished, stood on the west side of the River Erewash and was subject to frequent flooding. A Mr Woolley, who was a ferry man at Barton Ferry used to tell how he always had to save his pigs and poultry by taking them upstairs whenever a flood occurred."

River Derwent
Taken From Lyson's Derbyshire of 1817

"The Derwent seems to take its name from a village in the High Peak, and rises on the moors at the northern extremity of the county near the junction of Cheshire and Yorkshire. Before it enters Derbyshire it receives a small stream called the River Westend, which rises on the Wolds. After passing Derwent Village, the river receives the River Ashop, which also rises on the Wolds. On its way down from North Derbyshire, it passes through some beautiful valleys on to Baslow, Rowsley, Darley Dale and Matlock. After reaching Derby it pursues a winding course passing near Draycott, Little Wilne and Great Wilne where it joins the Trent.

The Derwent was made navigable from the Trent at Wilden Ferry to Derby. Its chief objective was to supply Derby with coals, building stone, gypsum, cheese and other manufactured goods. There used to be wharves at Breaston, Draycott, Borrowash, Spondon, Chaddesden and Derby. But when the Derby Canal was completed in 1794, the proprietors of the canal purchased the interest of those who were concerned in the Derwent Navigation, which was discontinued from then on."

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