The Driffield navigation is a waterway which is about 18km, and it goes through the market town of Driffield in Yorkshire, England. The navigation is made up of many linked waterways from Yorkshire to Humber in the north. The river Hull and Frodingham Beck which is at the northern end is navigable, but Driffield Canal was not navigable during the initial stages due to the presence of a small bridge that was maintained by Beverley Corporation. In the year 1968, the navigation amnesties association wanted to restore the waterways into a proper navigable pathway. In order to have a legal body which is responsible for all the assets, a Driffield Navigation trust was formed.
River Hull was mostly used for transportation and the boats could go up to Fishilme and could not reach the town named Driffield. So the merchants over there approached an engineer named John Smeaton so that they could find a way to get their boats to Driffield. John suggested a plan where he indented to cut for about 2km from Wansford. Later a better idea was suggested, and funds were started to be raised for the construction of the canal. The canal was open for use in the year 1770, and the distance from Emmotland to Driffield was about 9km. The four locks were Sheepwash Lock, Whinhill Lock, Wansford Lock and Snakeholme Lock. The Sheepwash Lock is now called as the Town Lock.
Development of the canal:
As the trade increased during the 1790s, it was the time of prosperity. George Knowsley wanted to develop the bridge, and after prolonged negotiations, a new bridge was decided to be built, and it was operational by the year 1804. In the year 1846, Driffield had railways setup, but the navigation through the canals never stopped.
Decline and Restoration:
The maintenance of the bridge slowly came down as there were not enough funds and there were also not enough profits. By 1937 the condition of the bridge became very poor, and it slowly started to become weedy. By the year 1956, three locks of the canal were completely not useable. The Driffield Navigation Amenities Association had new commissioners, and they started to begin the restoration work in the year 1978. In the year 1996, the town lock was entirely restored by with the help of many volunteers and fundraisers. Whinhill Lock was rebuilt in the year 2005, and it was open for navigation. As the restoration work began, the priority was given to creating a flood relief channel which was built on the southern part of the lock so that it can carry all the excess water during rainy seasons. More funds were collected, and the final restoration work was done in the year 2009. New gates were installed, and finally, a boat entered the canal after 60 years.