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Tuesday 1 May

Today's news from the web

  • British Waterways defends £23,730 spent on "party gear" civilsociety.co.uk

    British Waterways has defended itself over the £23,730 spent on what critics said was "party gear" for the launch of the Canal and River Trust this summer. The launch will use over 30,000 balloons, 30 miles of bunting and 25,000 stickers for celebratory events across the country. BW said that any third party applying to host an event along the towpath can use the balloons and stickers to help raise awareness of the new charity. “An important element of the Trust’s strategy will be to increase public awareness of the importance of our historic canals and rivers to both people and wildlife, and to encourage towpath visitors to become active supporters either as volunteers or donors. “To do this it is essential that we increase awareness of the Canal and River Trust’s name and what it stands for.” ...

  • April is the wettest for 100 years bbc.co.uk

    It has been the wettest April in the UK for over 100 years, with some areas seeing three times their usual average, figures from the Met Office show. Some 121.8mm of rain has fallen, beating the previous record of 120.3mm which was set in 2000....

Monday 30 April

Developers sought for historic 38-acre Leeds & Liverpool canal factory site near Burnley

A clean-up campaign has been completed at the historic William Blythe chemical factory, canalside at Hapton, near Burnley, and the owners are looking for investors to develop the site, reports the Lancashire Telegraph. 

The Blythe plant, which at its peak in the early 20th C employed over 1,000 people, closed in 2006, and since then efforts have concentrated on cleaning up the land.

Around a third of the 38-acre site will be available for housing, with the rest, at the western end, converted into a nature haven as part of a £2million programme.

Mike Dove, of Leeds-based property agents Dove Haigh Phillips, said: “Up to 280 high-quality houses can be built within a pleasant green setting by the historic canal. It has the potential to be really stunning.

“There will be large areas of open space and a restored country park within the green belt for the use of residents to the development and the wider Hapton community.”

The last significant structure on the site, the 150ft chimney, was felled in 2009, as recorded on video by the Lancashire Telegraph

The site can be seen clearly on Google Maps, with the chimney still standing

Andrew Denny  | 12.42pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • Wounded soldiers crew narrowboats to Thames Pageant bbc.co.uk

    Two narrowboats crewed by wounded soldiers are leaving Shropshire to go to the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The Shropshire Lad and Shropshire Lass will be crewed by nine wounded and injured soldiers from the Personnel Recovery Unit based at Copthorne Barracks, Shrewsbury. The narrow boats are specially-adapted for use by disabled people....

  • Spring clean for the Calder & Hebble at Brighouse basin brighouseecho.co.uk

    Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and pulled on their rubber gloves to give the canal in their area a spring clean. British Waterways, the Calder Navigation Society, Calder Future and Pennine Canoe Club helped with the clean-up of the Calder and Navigation through Brighouse....

  • I want to take adrenaline-seeking teenagers on a Thames boat trip. What is on offer? telegraph.co.uk

    I want to take some adrenaline-seeking teenagers on a Thames boat trip. What is on offer? A boat trip along the River Thames doesn't have to be a sedate affair - there are plenty of high-octane, action-packed options too. Here are some that are sure to quicken your pulse....

  • Tewkesbury sets up flood incident room as river rises bbc.co.uk

    The Environment Agency (EA) has warned of localised flooding across parts of southern and eastern England, the Midlands and Wales. Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire, which was devastated by flooding in July 2007, is on alert and the EA has set up an incident room there along with two others in the Midlands and another in the Wessex area. Forecasters warned that more rain is expected to fall in the coming week with southern and western areas likely to see the worst of the wet weather. After a brief respite today, more heavy showers are expected this evening and through Tuesday. The damp conditions then look set to continue right through the week....

Wednesday 25 April

Today's news from the web

  • Canal chaos at Wakefield as boats untied by vandals wakefieldexpress.co.uk

    The owners of a marina say someone could have been killed after vandals untied boats and let them drift into a canal. One boat at Fairies Hill Marina in Altofts drifted to a weir and was only saved at the last moment. Mel Smith, 63, who has a boat moored there said it could have had fatal consequences. He said: “One boat ended up doing a balancing act on a weir, but thankfully no one was on board, as those responsible could have been facing more than just criminal damage charges."...

  • 'World's first' canal-top solar project in India delivers up to 15% more power economictimes.indiatimes.com

    Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated the 'world's first' canal-top 1 MW solar project on Narmada branch canal network, to the national grid at Chandrasan in Mehsana district. Modi termed this pilot project to be an innovative merger of "jal and urja shakti" for a greener tomorrow, which virtually eliminates the need to acquire huge tracts of land, as is typically needed in setting up such plants. The trial run of plant shows that solar panels here produced 15 per cent extra power as compared to land installations as the water flowing under the panels keeps them relatively cool, he said. ...

Tuesday 24 April

Today's news from the web

  • Queen's Diamond Jubilee: 'President' narrow boat already on her way to pageant dailymail.co.uk

    In June, one thousand boats will gather on the Thames to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. But for one boat, the pageant has already started. To reach London in time, she has already begun steaming her way along a canal in the Midlands, at walking pace, on the first leg of her 336-mile voyage on England's waterways to the capital....

  • The Ellesmere Canal - When engineering went pro eandt.theiet.org

    Civil engineering was formally recognised as a profession in the early 19th century. The building of Ellesmere Canal was a key project that helped it on its way. ...

  • Heathfield priest gets on boat in support of the Queen theargus.co.uk

    A priest is preparing to board his narrow boat in a show of support for the Queen. Many clergy have a “bolt-hole” to which they can escape and recharge their batteries. For Malcolm Jones, parish priest of St Richards in Heathfield, and his wife Frances, this is a narrow boat, Frances Anne, which lives on the Grand Union Canal at Harefield in Middlesex. The pair have been asked to take part in the flotilla for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant....

  • Steam dredger SND4 set to return to Gloucester Waterways Museum after boiler repairs thisisgloucestershire.co.uk

    The oldest steam dredger in Europe is set to return to Gloucester Waterways Museum after undergoing extensive repair thanks to funding from Heritage Lottery. Dredger SND No 4, which used to dredge the Gloucester and Sharpness Docks, has been the star attraction at the Waterways Museum since it opened in 1987 because of its hissing steam action and clanking steel buckets. But earlier this year it was discovered that several boiler tubes needed replacing. Thanks to £43,300-worth of funding from Heritage Lottery the Dutch built dredger has been in dry dock for the past three months and is set to return to the Museum this weekend in a fanfare of glory....

  • Leeds to Liverpool horse-drawn canal cruise is first for 68 years yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk

    A journey from Leeds to Liverpool takes about 90 minutes by car or rail. Sue Day is taking three months. Not only is she travelling in meandering style along the Leeds-Liverpool canal by narrow-boat. ... She is promoting horse-drawn boating as part of Britain’s heritage and for educational purposes. She is one of only five operators of horse-drawn craft in Britain, and in 2001 helped set up the Horse Boating Society....

  • Five-year plan to transform Cromford Canal thisisderbyshire.co.uk

    Engineering consultant Atkins have said that the Cromford Canal could be turned into a nature reserve attraction within five years. And they have also outlined a long-term scheme to make the entire 17-mile waterway, from Langley Mill to Cromford and Pinxton, navigable again in a project that would cost about £44 million. That work would take between 30 and 50 years. ​ The pump house at High Peak Junction on the Cromford Canal. A report outlines options for the future of the canal, including creating a nature reserve and a full restoration. Engineering consultant Atkins has drawn up options for the canal's future after being commissioned by the Cromford Canal Partnership, a body including Derbyshire councils and the wildlife trust. The partnership was set up to make the canal more attractive to visitors. About 40% of the canal is currently in water, with 45% filled in but with the line of the waterway still visible. The remaining 15% is gone completely....

  • DUCK TRAGEDY AVERTED buckslocalnews.com

    There was a little excitement on South Main Street when the mother of more than a dozen baby ducks, discovered in the parking lot of Ye Old Yardley Florist on South Main Street, started making moves in the direction of heavily traveled South Main Street. “We were outside with a customer,” store owner Susan Gorka explained when someone said, “On the corner by the street -- look at all those ducks!” Gorka was immediately scared for her newfound feathery friends. ...

  • Drought will impact Rickmansworth canal boat festival watfordobserver.co.uk

    Canal boat enthusiasts hoping to attend one of the biggest waterways festivals in the country may be forced to stay at home due to drought. Rickmansworth Festival takes place on May 19 and 20, and attracts hundreds of barges and narrow boats to a weekend of music and entertainment. David Montague, festival director, said that despite recent heavy rainfall, restrictions put in place to conserve water may prevent some boats from coming....

Friday 20 April

Maureen Shaw’s last boat trip

Canal traffic was halted for a couple of hours on the morning of Friday 30th March in Middlewich for a memorable event. British Waterways closed Big Lock, Kings Lock and Wardle lock to ensure a ‘clear road’ for Maureen Shaw’s last boat trip.


The coffin was loaded aboard the Thomas Clayton boat ‘Tay’, one of the gas tar carriers operated by the extended Jinks family who adopted Maureen as a baby. She was living on ‘Spey’ when she got married and moved to Fellows Morton and Clayton. The boat set off from outside Maureen’s old cottage beside Wardle Lock, and made its way to the town wharf accompanied by a large crowd of canal folk. Her good friend Joan Baker accompanied the coffin on the boat which was steered by John Watson and Jim Taylor.

The service in the parish church of St Michael & all Angels was packed with 245 mourners, with standing room only for the latecomers. A very fitting send-off for a well-loved canal boat woman, and a memorable event for all who attended.

Rupert Smedley

Andrew Denny  | 4.03pm | add a comment

Today's news from the web

  • World's last steam-powered narrowboat sets off to join the Queen's Jubilee Thames Pageant itv.com

    The world's last remaining steam-powered narrowboat, built in Staffordshire, is setting off to join the Queen's Jubilee Thames Pageant. "The President" will be leaving its mooring in Stoke-on-Trent today to make the 300 mile journey to London through the canal network. The 71ft boat has been restored in time to join the one thousand boat flotilla to celebrate the Queen's 60 year reign and will be laden with coal, a mini JCB Digger, a tyre from Michelin and gifts from Wedgewood and St Modwen's....

Thursday 19 April

Today's news from the web

  • Gloriana, the gilded Jubilee rowboat, caught in a tide of traffic thisislondon.co.uk

    It cost £1 million to build and will have a starring role in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, but this gilded rowboat certainly didn’t have a graceful maiden voyage. A lorry carrying 88ft Gloriana came within a whisker of getting stuck in traffic on its journey from a factory in Brentford to the river at Isleworth today. At one stage, there was barely two inches between the lorry and parked cars in Park Road, Isleworth, although project manager Damian Byrne insisted that the 30-minute transfer, which began at 5am, went smoothly. Gloriana finally completed the trip unscathed and was set to be lowered into the Thames at about 2pm....

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