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Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Monday, 14 June 2010 12:16 UK
Hopes to restore Lune Aqueduct to its former glory

The Lune Aqueduct was completed in 1797.

A lot of water has passed over the bridge since the Lune Aqueduct was completed in 1797.

Work took three years and cost £48,321.

This amount exceeded the original estimate of £18,619 to such an extent that a corresponding aqueduct over the River Ribble was never built.

Now a consortium including British Waterways, the Lancaster Canal Trust and local councils is bidding for £2m from the Heritage Lottery fund for its restoration.

Unless you're a boater, a walker or a cyclist you might be unaware of its existence, and the restoration is a popular idea as it's hoped the project would open it up to the entire community.

The aqueduct carries the canal 664ft (202.3m) across the River Lune 53ft (16.2m) above the normal water level in the river, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of modern-day Lancaster.

Puddled clay

Designed by John Rennie and constructed by Alexander Stevens, the structure consists of five semi-circular arches, each spanning 70ft (21.3m).

The trough carrying the 20ft (6.1m) wide canal over the aqueduct is now made of concrete but old drawings show that it was originally made of stone. Its curving side walls were 18in (46cm) thick and the bottom was a 1ft (0.3m) deep with 3ft (0.91m) of puddled clay to make it watertight.

An inscription on the upstream face of the aqueduct reads: "To Public Prosperity" while the downstream side bears a Latin inscription, translated as: "Old needs are served, far distant sites combined. Rivers by art to bring new wealth are joined".

The organisations looking to restore the aqueduct have been given £50,000 to spend putting their bid together. If successful, the Lune Aqueduct's refurbishment could be complete within five years.

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