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The Eldonian Village Canal Festival IWA National Campaign Festival 11th - 12th June 2016 | Liverpool

Souvenir Programme and Guide

Keeping our waterways alive

The Pride of Sefton - a wonderful way to relax and switch off. Let our crew do all the work ! Trips are available all year round. Travel in first class comfort along the Leeds Liverpool canal. We offer trips from 2 to 6 hours, and we cater for all groups. We have over 30 years of experience of bringing the countryside to life

Community groups, schools, private parties, business meetings. Up to 12 passengers catered for. The Royal Family loved it ! (see website gallery) Our booking team are ready and waiting to take your call. Your trip will be confirmed there and then

Tel: 07860 814 406

All of our prices are displayed on our newly updated website and booking is simple—but please be quick ! Charity no. 1144393 Company no. 0702079

Festival Partners & Thanks The festival has been organised by IWA Chester and Merseyside Branch in partnership with the Liverpool Culture Company, the Eldonian Housing Trust and Canal & River Trust. Special thanks go to all the volunteers who made this event happen. Thank you also to Martin Clark at Pennine Waterways ( and YO! Liverpool ( for the use of their photos.

Welcome to the Festival Dear Visitor I am delighted to welcome you all to the Eldonian Village Festival in Liverpool to celebrate the bicentenary of the opening of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. It was nearly 50 years ago when The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) first came to Liverpool attracting nearly 200 boats from all over the country, campaigning at that time to prevent the canal being closed. The area was very different in those days, with Victorian slums, high levels of unemployment and the major employers in the area were closing down. Tony McGann, Festival Chairman MBE OBE was at the forefront of the creation of the Eldonian Village.

Since the first visit of the boats in 1968 many changes have taken place not least the creation of our award winning Eldonian village, recognised as an excellent urban development both nationally and internationally. We know that the canal is a major asset to our community and we look forward to seeing more boats as they make their way through to the dock area at the Liverpool waterfront. It’s great to think that many of these boats have travelled hundreds of miles for their annual holiday to join us at Eldonian Village for this fantastic Festival. We hope you all enjoy yourselves and wish you a great weekend.

Working boats at the 1968 rally

Yours, Tony McGann MBE OBE Festival Chairman 1

IWA National Campaign Festival





The Tearoom at Scarisbrick Marina Open Daily from 9am till 4pm Serving Breakfast, Lunches and Cakes

Next to Bridge 27a on the Leeds Liverpool Canal

Scarisbrick Marina Southport Road Scarisbrick, L40 9RH Tel: 01704 841924

Contents Timetable......................................................................................4 Live Music.....................................................................................5 The Eldonians .......................................................................6-7 Festival Highlights.................................................................8-9 Your IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch .......12-13 Help us to Restore a Canal this Summer................14 Win a Family Holiday Afloat!...........................................15 Festival Moorings and Bunting

IWA Special Show Offer............................................16-17 1968 Campaign for Liverpool .......................................18

Find out more:

Leeds & Liverpool Canal Historic Boats...........19-20 The Sankey Canal Restoration – the earliest canal

f Search for IWA National Campaign Festival

in England?.................................................................................22

t Use #EldonianFestival

Take a short stroll through our local history..23-26

IWA Working with Schools.............................................28

Where the Stanley Dock Branch meets the Leeds & Liverpool Canal by Pennine Waterways Published by: The Inland Waterways Association. Registered Office: Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA. Tel: 01494 783453. The Inland Waterways Association is a non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee. Registered in England no. 612245. Registered as a charity no. 212342


IWA National Campaign Festival

Timetable Saturday 12:00 - 12:45

Allerton Brass

13:15 - 14:00

Allerton Brass



14:30 - 14:50

Schools Choir & Dance

15:00 - 16:20

Bobcat Billy’s Moonshine Mission


Mike Byrne and the Sunrockers

Sunday 12:00 - 12:45

Port Sunlight Lyceum Brass

13:15 - 14:00

Port Sunlight Lyceum Brass

14:15 - 14:30

Vogue Dance Academy

14:45 - 15:30


15:45 - 16:30


As well as these fantastic performances, there will be activities, taking place throughout the weekend. You will be able to meet Shreck, the boat horse, get creative

with WOW activities for children and see the exhibition of waterways related work that children have been doing at various local schools.

Lace plate making with IWA’s WOW activities

Shreck the boat horse



Live Music


Bobcat Billys Moon

shine Mission

Port Sunlight Lyceum Brass

Allerton Brass Mike Byrne

Swingology Swingology were formed in 2005 by five musicians based in Crosby, Liverpool, to play the toe-tapping music known as Gypsy Jazz. This style became famous in the 1930s and 1940s, popularised by the great Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. The band not only plays all the Gypsy Jazz standards, but a range of popular Jazz classics and some modern songs in the classic Swing Manouche style (the original term used for Gypsy Jazz)

Bobcat Billy’s Moonshine Mission They play pure Rockabilly and also put a Rockabilly slant on to popular tunes both old and new.

Commonwealth Games in Manchester, as well as many functions around Wirral and Cheshire, this friendly band are a popular listen.

Allerton Brass Allerton Brass was formed in 2013 by Euphonium player Michael Jackson. It made its inaugural performance in December that year for a Christmas charity concert. Since then the band has gone from strength to strength, building a high calibre of brass musicians and partnerships with the local community.

Mike Byrne and the Sunrockers Mike Byrne and the Sunrockers are a Liverpool-based rock ‘n’ roll band, who travel all over the country to play the hits of Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and a whole lot more.

Port Sunlight Lyceum Brass With over 30 members and a CV which includes performances at the 2002 5

IWA National Campaign Festival

The Eldonians

Future site for Eldonian once Tate & Lyle had been demolished

home, taking its name from Eldon Street, the street where their church was situated, the Eldonians were born and the rest as they say is history.

Eldonian village is located in the inner city close to Liverpool’s North Docks. The Victorian slums were eventually replaced with walk up tenements, which by the late 1970’s were overcrowded, totally decayed and vermin infested. The area had the largest proportion of low demand housing stock of any UK city. High levels of unemployment were experienced as the major employers in the area closed down. The docks went in to decline as the sugar and tobacco factories closed their doors and moved away from the area.

In 1981 the Tate & Lyle sugar refinery closed leaving behind a large highly contaminated piece of land. What many saw as a blight, the Eldonians saw as an opportunity and the vision of an Eldonian Village housing the local community was their aspiration. The community formed a housing co-operative and after a long and bitter struggle with the Militants in Liverpool they eventually gained support from Central Government and funding was provided to clear the site and start the first phase of the Eldonian Village. Phase one of the Village, which comprised of 145 houses and bungalows as well as an elderly scheme was completed in 1989, quickly followed by the next phase of a further 150 houses and bungalows in 1994.

A strong community flourished despite the bad housing, poor environment and chronic unemployment. So when the local council sought to demolish the crumbling tenements and in effect break up their community they decided to stand together and fight. Despite the appalling poverty and the industrial dereliction the area was their



Stanley Lock Flight Photo by Yo Liverpool

This second phase also saw the Eldonians build a Village Hall, nursery and sports hall to complement the houses. Phase Two of the village is situated at the end of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. As part of this development it was decided to make a feature of the canal which at the time was in a very poor condition. The Eldonians canvassed to have the canal cleared, decontaminated and landscaped, so that it could be brought back into use. Today this stretch of the canal is totally different from its industrial past. Wildlife thrives in the area and narrowboats have started to return and use the Eldonian Basin as a base when visiting Liverpool and the North West. The Eldonian Village is a pioneering urban development that has helped change the way people think about regeneration, sweeping away dereliction and decay to bring true community-led transformation to 7

what was once one of the most deprived areas in the United Kingdom. In recognition of their achievements, the Eldonians were awarded the United Nations sponsored World Habitat Award in 2004, and still receive visitors from all over the world who come to see for themselves what can be accomplished when communities work together.

Aerial view of Eldonian Village today

IWA National Campaign Festival

Festival Highlights


This Festival will be an amazing day out for all the family, with the canalside at Eldonian Village alive with boats - all decorated with bunting and flowers. Take a look at the live music performances, get afloat activities, arts, crafts and brass bands.

There’ll be the opportunity for children to get out on the water and test out their paddling skills with free canoeing sessions.

Live music Performances throughout the festival include folk, country and brass bands, with Bob Cat Billy’s Moonshine Mission, the Lyceum and Allerton brass bands, Swingology, the local school’s choir and local dance troupe Vogue Academy. See page 4 for performance times.

Children’s Activities

Boat trips

With something for all the family, fun activities for children will include IWA’s Wild over Waterways trail and face painting.


Enjoy a cruise along the restored canal and Stanley locks with free boat trips.


Historic boats

Debbie Hughes, so he is the perfect horse to help us celebrate 200 years of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Visitors will be able to see inside the boatman’s cabins and enjoy commentaries on the working lives of the old Leeds & Liverpool boatmen who contributed so much to the development of Liverpool as the world’s leading industrial city and port. See page 19 for more information.

During the Eldonian Village Canal Festival, Shreck will be dressed in his towing harness and he and Debbie will be happy to meet visitors and talk to them about life on the working boats and his life as a boat horse.

Shreck the Boat Horse

Craft & food

Shreck is a 10 year old Comtois x Breton French heavy draught horse and came to the UK from a farm in France when he was 18 months old, so he is an ideal boat horse being very strong but not too big to go under canal bridges.

Peruse the artisan craft stalls and sample the range of food and drink on offer.

Open: Saturday 12 - 6 pm Sunday 12 - 5 pm

Since arriving in England Shreck has been trained to tow narrowboats by his owner,


IWA National Campaign Festival

The care provider owned by Sefton Council

Our highly qualified and caring team are here to help with the following services: Reablement Intermediate Care Care & Support for People Living At Home Individualised Support for Young People Moving On Dementia Care Education & Training for Employment Opportunities Shared Lives Day-Time Support Services Residential Short Stay and Respite Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing For further information contact: New Directions, The Investment Centre, 375 Stanley Road, Bootle L20 3EF quoting reference LCG2016

#EldonianFestival Tel: 0151 934 2752


Eldonian Way Unwind and enjoy the Festival celebrations in our warm welcoming café We serve delicious food made on our premises including soup, sandwiches and cakes. For the Festival weekend we will be offering Specials of the Day! Friday: Fish and Chips, Saturday: Cream Tea, and Sunday: Hot Roast ‘Bin Lids’

Join us on our patio overlooking the canal and take in the view whilst enjoying some wonderful home cooking. If you prefer, we will deliver directly to your boat. Just telephone your order to the number below. We are open from 10am – 4pm and look forward to seeing you. For further information contact: New Canalside Café, Robert Lynch house, James Dunne Avenue, Liverpool L5 8SA

Normal opening times Monday to Friday 9am till 2pm. We also provide outside catering, please contact us for more information on the following: 11

Tel:IWA 0151 207 9335 National Campaign Festival

Your IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch Chester & Merseyside Branch is one of IWA’s branches of which there are 33 around the country. They are all supported by volunteers working for the good of their local inland waterways.

have provided the catalyst for urban regeneration, and it’s our job to ensure that the Navigation Authorities and Local Councils work together to maintain their local waterway communities and environment as part of their development plans.

IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch campaigns and activities involve and benefit our local waterways and community.

We are ever vigilant and campaign to ensure that such developments are not only compatible with the local waterway heritage but also contribute to the communities in the area so that all waterway users and boaters are considered.

Involving and educating local communities in our local waterways. We spend time working with schools and local community volunteers to promote their local canal as a highly valued place, worth taking time to look after. To encourage this we organise work parties to clear litter, paint railings and lock gates as well as planting bulbs and clearing weeds away. We also raise funds to put into local waterways projects, including Pride of Sefton; Daniel Adamson Preservation Society and further afield the River Weaver Navigation Society. Our latest project here at Eldonian Village working with schoolchildren from Trinity, Holy Cross and Our Lady Immaculate, has been very satisfying with good outcomes for the community as a whole.

In particular, in the Chester & Merseyside Branch area we have successfully worked with Cheshire West & Chester Council to put together a Waterways Strategy to invest in local waterways in the Chester area. This successful model was so well received by Chester that we have now been able to start similar progress with Sefton & Liverpool councils, making good cases

Getting more value from Navigation Authorities and Local Councils

Volunteers at IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch work party

We can see many areas where waterways



IWA Chester and Merseyside Branch volunteers install 32 rings at the Anderton Boat Lift

description of what we do and we welcome new members at all levels to take pride in being associated with one of the most successful volunteer led campaigns ever seen in the UK.

for key strategic investments to Leeds & Liverpool canal corridor from Aintree to Eldonian Village.

Volunteer Power With regular work parties, canal clean ups, waterways walks, talks, social events and even waterway festivals, IWA volunteers bring huge benefits to local waterways environment. In particular let’s not forget the work of your IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch who have worked so hard to bring this national event to Liverpool. In 2016 the branch committed over 3,000 volunteer hours and raised funds to support local volunteers working in Bootle and Liverpool providing tools, resources and practical support to many projects in the local area. The branch hosts regular lively social events and even hosts an annual River Mersey convoy for narrow boats crossing the Mersey. IWA locally (and nationally) is very strong and continues to be an effective campaigner for your waterways. ‘Keeping Our Waterways Alive’ is a valid and effective

Let me urge all festival goers to take a few minutes to reflect on the special place that our canals and waterways offer us, and to consider the alternative outcome where ‘filling in the cut’ may have become the norm. So to summarise: as a direct result of the work of IWA and its Chester & Merseyside Branch, we have a vibrant and unique canal and river heritage, which supports leisure and trade for the communities of Merseyside & Cheshire. With your help the success story will continue. Please visit uk/join or visit IWA’s stand to offer your support. There is still a lot to do. Your Canals Need You. Mike Carter (NW Region Chairman)


IWA National Campaign Festival


Help us to Restore a Canal this Summer Get outdoors and help to bring a derelict waterway back to life. There is little more rewarding than spending a week restoring a crumbling lock chamber or rebuilding a bridge alongside other like-minded volunteers. Canal Camps, run by IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group, are unique residential volunteer holidays, designed to restore unnavigable canals to their former glory. Duration: 1 week Cost: £63 Includes: Food and accommodation Suitable for: Anyone aged 18+

And there are plenty of projects to choose from. In 2016, WRG is running 35 Canal Camps at 16 different sites across England and Wales. Volunteering with WRG is a great experience for anyone who loves being outdoors, meeting people, and wants to learn new skills such as bricklaying; stone walling; and machine operation.


Book your place on a summer Camp Website: Email: Phone: 01494 783453 14

Win a Family Holiday Afloat!

During the Festival weekend you can win one of two great prizes;

• A short break holiday for the whole family on a narrowboat

• A day out for up to 12 people Look out for the Raffle ticket signs near the WOW children’s activity marquee and buy your ticket for only £1. By the end of the day you could be the lucky winner of a short break holiday from ABC Hire Boats worth £900 or a day out (worth £100) in the Cheshire countryside on Midway Boat’s day boat. The draw for the short break holiday will be announced at 5 pm on Saturday and the draw for the day boat will be drawn at 4 pm on Sunday - so don’t miss a fantastic opportunity to get the whole family out on the canals for a relaxing break. 15

IWA National Campaign Festival

Special Show Offer IWA Membership - 3 months for just £3! Visit IWA’s stand to join today

Free when you join IWA: > Our unique quarterly members’ magazine

You will also receive: > Updates on waterways activities in your area > Exclusive member discounts > Volunteering opportunities

PLUS Sign up for 12 months and get a map of Great Britain’s waterways including IWA’s new Waterways Directory.

16Village Festival. Visit IWA’s stand to find o Join IWA#EldonianFestival today for just £3 at Eldonian16

Enjoy the waterways and help make them better Over the years IWA has promoted the restoration and improvement of hundreds of miles of our best waterways. We’ve done this with the help of our dedicated members, our renowned Waterway Recovery Group and an army of enthusiastic volunteers. As a result, today thousands of people enjoy this wonderful national treasure. And there’s so much more that we could do to make the waterways even better for everyone!

We need your support Become a member and help us to protect our heritage and support the move to bring more and more waterways back to life.

Join now for just £3! This special offer is for 3 months single or joint IWA membership. After that your membership will renew at the appropriate annual subscription.

Includes: IWA’s Directory to the Inland Waterwa ys of Great Britain


West England (Cheshire Ring), The Black The Norfolk Broads, Country Canal Network, The Canals of Scotland, London Waterways

out more

Scale 1:625 000


Annual Membership

Visit IWA’s stand to find out more about how you can sign up for the special showonly offer.

Single............ £31.50 Joint...............£39.00 Concession rates are available for those aged over 65, as well as different payment methods, including monthly.

Keeping our waterways alive

17 IWA National Festival 17 or visit or call us onCampaign 01494 783453

1968 Campaign for Liverpool IWA’s 1968 National Rally of Boats was staged at the western end of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to highlight the fact that the waterway from Aintree to Liverpool Docks and the Mersey had been left out of the British Waterways list of ‘cruiseways’ which were going to be kept open. This could only mean one thing – permanent closure – and in fact British Waterways had already removed this part of the Leeds & Liverpool from their waterways maps.

93 year old Mr Stuart Burton who cruised 300 miles in his boat Brindley from the river Thames. Later in the year Mr Burton cruised down to the Wellingborough River Festival, on the river Nene. Clearly boating was and still is a great way of keeping fit. A Steam Rally on the site included traction engines, wagons and a fairground organ while processions of the vehicles trundled from the Rally site to publicise the event elsewhere in the city. A boat Tug of War took place (sadly not allowed in 2016) in the centre of the canal which must have been quite a spectacle. The struggle was between a wide beam Leeds & Liverpool short boat, Edith against the combined power of narrow beam tugs James Loader & Sharpness. Organisers commented at the time that “Never has a threatened waterway been closed to navigation following an IWA National Rally taking place in the area” and thankfully IWA’s magic worked again with the Leeds & Liverpool living to see a more vibrant future.

1968 Rally towpath

170 Craft attended from all over the country and made an amazing spectacle which was unique in that densely developed part of Liverpool’s dockland. Alongside the working boats were several large sea going vessels as well as the much smaller leisure craft of the time. One of the longest journeys to the Rally was completed by four double canoes which had travelled 945 miles from Hildesheim, Germany, including 55 sea miles across the channel! This crossing under escort lasted 81.5 hours while the whole journey took them 33 days. Another amazing visitor was


1968 Rally Tug of War Contest between wide-beam Leeds and Liverpool Canal short boat Edith against narrow beam tugs James Loader and Sharpness



Leeds & Liverpool Canal Historic Boats 2





Historic boats coming to the festival - 1. Beatty, 2. Kennet, 3. Ambush, 4. Ribble, 5. Swallow, 6. Greenlaw

Here at IWA National Campaign Festival we have exhibits of the types of canal boats that used to trade on the Leeds & Liverpool. All craft have been lovingly restored by their owners preserving the unique heritage of the canal on its 200th birthday. The Leeds & Liverpool canal was built as a wide canal capable of supporting 14ft wide boats, which could carry wider loads of 40 tonnes, a design feature that turned out to be a significant factor in making the canal so successful even in the face of later competition from the new railways. These wide boats although designed for coal and other bulk cargoes carried almost any type of load including boxed goods and large bales of Alpaca wool.

• Short boats at 62ft x 14 ft capable of

end to end transits from Liverpool to Leeds • Long boats at 72ft x 14ft which traded between Liverpool, Wigan and the Leigh area. This southern section of the canal also supports the 72ft x 7ft narrow boats developed for much of the UK canal network.


Beatty was built in 1937, by W J Yarwood and Sons at Northwich on the River Weaver. She worked for 23 years for the Samuel Barlow Coal Company carrying coal from Midlands coalfields down the Grand Union Canal to factories in the London area, and down the Oxford Canal to Banbury and Oxford. She is powered by a 1950s Armstrong Siddeley 22 HP twin cylinder diesel engine. In 1960 Beatty was sold for conversion to an 8 berth cruising boat, retaining the original boatman’s cabin and engine room. Beatty attended the IWA

There are two different lengths of locks on this canal, 72ft between Liverpool and Wigan and 62ft between Wigan and Leeds. Thus we have two types of Leeds & Liverpool canal craft.


IWA National Campaign Festival

National Rally in Liverpool in 1968, carrying special guests and will be performing the same role in 2016.

In the early 60s, she moved to London was converted to a restaurant boat and renamed Fair Lady. In 1984 she was deconverted and the name Ribble restored. Operated by London operators, T&D Murrell as a general workboat until 1995 when she was sold to Barrie and Reg Lawson of Burscough and returned to the North.


Owned by the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society, Kennet is a river class cargo carrying Leeds & Liverpool Canal short boat which was built for Canal Transport Limited in 1947 by Yarwoods of Northwich. The boat is constructed of riveted steel plate and powered by a Lister 3JPM water cooled diesel engine. Painted in livery of the Canal Carrying Company, which is how she started her working life in 1947. In this Bi-centenary year of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, National Historic Ships have awarded Kennet the special accolade 2016 Regional Flagship of the Year, this award is particularly gratifying as it is the first time it has been awarded to a canal based craft.


Built at Yarwood & Sons of Northwich in 1934, Swallow was one of eight narrow boats delivered for Cowburn & Cowpar of Manchester. These boats were all named after birds beginning with the letter ‘S’, initially operating between Manchester and the Midlands carrying acids and chemicals, in drums, carboys and bags. In more recent times she became part of the fleet of Lorenz & Co, based at Barton where she was carefully restored with a new cabin and engine room and a 1936 National 2DM engine. Swallow is now used as a display boat at events and festivals, promoting both the value of historic boats and freight by water.


Ambush is a Leeds & Liverpool longboat, one of a small number of surviving Leeds & Liverpool long boats. Of steel plate construction and powered by a Gardner 4LW diesel engine, she was built by W J Yarwood of Northwich in 1933 and worked for H R Ainscough of Burscough. In 2011 Ambush was fully restored by her present owner. Now part of the Ainscough Barge Restoration project in Burscough, Ambush is often to be seen delivering fuel and gas to the modern pleasure boats at the marinas in the Burscough area.


Greenlaw was built in 1937 by Harland & Wolf for Grand Union Canal Carrying Company. These boats were of all steel construction and known as Big Woolwich’s with a hold depth of 4ft 9” carrying between 25-30 tonnes. Named after towns and villages, we have a Town Class, Large Woolwich powered by a Lister JP3 Diesel engine, lovingly maintained by its current owner, with The Boatman’s Cabin open for viewing. Visitors will be able to see inside the boatman’s cabins and enjoy commentaries on the working lives of the old Leeds & Liverpool boatmen who contributed so much to developing Liverpool as the world’s leading industrial city and port.


A Leeds & Liverpool short boat built in 1934 by Yarwood & Sons, Northwich for Canal Transport to be operated as a Fly-boat for the carriage of general merchandise. In 1948 Ribble was transferred to British Waterways Board.






Celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Leeds- Liverpool canal The Eldonian Village Hall is a social club run and owned by the Eldonian Community. The club is situated at the Liverpool end of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. During the Festival the club will be open from 9am for breakfast and will be providing food and a good selection of alcoholic and non- alcoholic drinks from 12noon till late. A varied range of entertainment will be provided in the Village Hall during the canal festival. Why not pop in and join us. At the Eldonian Village Hall we specialise in Weddings, Parties and all types of functions. We have established a superb reputation for fine food and drink and continue to maintain our levels of excellence in all areas of our business. 21


**8 *****




ELDONIAN VILLAGE HALL Burlington Street Liverpool Tel: 0151 476 6231

IWA National Campaign Festival

The Sankey Canal Restoration – the earliest canal in England? An Act authorising the Sankey Brook Navigation was passed in 1755. The artificial cut that was subsequently cut, because the Brook was too small to be made navigable was carrying coal by 1757, making England’s first canal of the Industrial Revolution. Boats at Fiddlers’ Ferry

The Sankey was built to bring coal down to the growing chemical industries of Liverpool. They rapidly expanded and spread back along the line of the canal to St Helens, Earlestown, and Widnes, which were small villages until this period. The Sankey can thus be credited with the industrial growth of the region.

the opposite direction - raw sugar from Liverpool for the Sankey Sugar Works at Earlestown. The ending of the sugar traffic in 1959 led to the abandonment of the canal in 1963. North of the sugar works, closure had taken place in 1931, and fixed bridges quickly replaced the old wooden swing bridges. The canal, however, remained largely in water right up into the centre of St Helens, although its terminus had been truncated in 1898, when Canal Street was built over it.

The Sankey was built for Mersey flats, the sailing craft of the local rivers - the Mersey, Irwell, and Weaver - and the Lancashire and North Wales coasts. To allow for the masts of the flats, all the roads in the canal’s path had to be carried over on swing bridges. When the railways came, they too had to cross in similar fashion - except at Earlestown, where Stephenson erected his massive viaduct for the country’s first passenger railway from Liverpool to Manchester, leaving 70 foot headroom for the flats’ sails.

The Sankey’s immediate commercial success, followed soon after by that of the Bridgewater, led to a mania of canal building around Britain with fortunes being made and lost in the process. The Sankey Canal Restoration Society was formed in 1985 and works with the local authorities, organises work parties and has kept the remaining canal open and improves the environment around it. If you would like to know more about them see their website

England’s first double locks were built on the Sankey at Broad Oak, St Helens. A second set were built later at Parr. In later years the final traffic on the Sankey was very different and travelled in



Take a short stroll through our local history

Looking down from the top lock of the Stanley Dock branch by Pennine Waterways

A walk along the Liverpool section of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal By Dave Smalshaw

Walk half a mile along the main line of the canal (north along the left hand towpath) before turning on to the 1846 Stanley Dock Branch.

This walk covers many historic aspects of our local canal and features a visit to the original coaling wharf near Liverpool city centre. The paths are paved so should be accessible for all. The main line of the canal was opened in 1816 stretching from Leeds to a terminus at Pall Mall, Liverpool, a distance of 127 miles. The terminus was filled in, in the 1960s, and was redeveloped in the 1980s for the building of Eldonian Village as part of a scheme to rid the area of its slums. The walk starts at the Eldonian Village Hall, which sits on the former site of the Fairrie Sugar Refinery which, with its neighbouring Tate Refinery, dominated much of the immediate area.


Next to the refinery, on the opposite side of the canal from the towpath, stood a bottle factory and, at some point, a distillery. Neat housing development now populates the side of the canal where you are walking and recreational and grass landscaping dominate the other side where there are good moorings to be had. This was not the typical scene in the working days of the waterway. The first bridge on the canal is a new one recreating a bridge which existed before the turn of the last century but was dismantled many years back. We are now approaching the wider basin which connects the main line of the canal to Liverpool docks. The towpath once crossed the branch here on a horse bridge, the abutments of which are still evident but they now only carry a pipe, the crossing of which is supported in the middle by a typical Jesse Hartley castlelike tower. There have been plans in the last

IWA National Campaign Festival

The estate on the south side is closed for access pending redevelopment of the old south quay warehouse and the gigantic Tobacco Warehouse. To get a better view of the dock you will need to walk down the north quay, alongside Hartley’s original north quay shed, to the Regent Road gate, and then southerly for a short distance to the lift bridge spanning the road.

few years to rebuild this bridge and this is still an aim for the local canal society and residents. Turn left here and start to walk down the flight of locks. This massive set of three locks was designed and constructed by Jesse Hartley. Completed in 1848 it typifies his grand style of building. After freight began traveling by rail rather than canal, the locks were rarely used although they remained unique due to their old paddle gear, long replaced on more popular flights of locks. Despite modernisation certain old features are still in place.

Cross Regents Road (more commonly known as the ‘Dock Road’) and enter the Dock Estate to Collingwood Dock. Straight ahead is the six sided clock structure now standing forlornly derelict at the site of the old pier head. A good viewpoint for the old pier head is at the watersports centre on the right.

The entrance to Great Howard Street has now been opened out to allow quick access to view the Stanley Dock estate. The “hole in the wall” permits walkers to visit the brand new Titanic Hotel complex, just metres from the bottom lock. The hotel is housed in the north quay of the original Stanley Dock, the only one of Liverpool’s Dock system which lies inland of the old Dock Road.

Retrace your steps to Regents Road and head south towards the Royal Liver Building.

The Stanley Dock was constructed about the same time as the lock flight and is another of Hartley’s masterpieces. The Liver Building on the Liverpool Link by Colin Grundy

We are now on our way to the site of the first terminus of the canal. Continue up to where the road is ramped up slightly The route joins with another main route heading towards the Pier Head. Take a flight of steps through a grassed area to reach this

Tobacco Warehouse in Stanley Dock and Stanley Locks



other road. Cross the road and head to the side of the modern office and newspaper plant along Brook Street until you reach Old Hall Street which lies at the heart of the business district of Liverpool. The Merseyrail stations are close by.

Turn left here towards what is left of a collection of old cottages. The building which is now a bar, attached to an adjacent hotel, was the old wharf office of the Wigan Coal and Iron Company and stands on the edge of the quay of Clarke’s Basin, the nearest the canal got, for many years, to the river below.

Liverpool Canal Link opening

The opening of the Liverpool Canal Link

and Salisbury Docks. Turning left to run parallel to the river, the next three docks – Clarence, Trafalgar, and West Waterloo – had to be re-excavated. From the end of Prince’s Dock three short tunnels and 500 metres of new canal were built past the Pier Head with a lock at each end (the new canal is lower than the docks).

The Liverpool Canal Link was a £22 million scheme to link the Leeds & Liverpool Canal to the South Docks. It adds 1.4 miles to the canal system and in addition gives canal boats access to all the South Docks (and two accesses to the River Mersey). It was opened in March 2009. There is no towpath so it is not open to walkers.

This route recreates a link between the North and South Docks which was lost a hundred years ago when George’s Dock was in-filled and the ‘Three Graces’ built on the site. Once in Canning Dock boats can access all of the remaining South Docks.

The Liverpool Link route goes from the bottom of the Stanley Dock Branch lock flight through Stanley, Collingwood,


IWA National Campaign Festival

The canal used to make its way over to the old main line through property which, in later years, was taken over by the rail company. The course was subsequently changed and new terminal and warehouse buildings were built in Pall Mall where they largely still remain today.

The bridge used to sport a metal liver bird logo but this has sadly disappeared. The Bridge Inn was once a lively house and even had a door at canal level for boatmen’s access. It is now a decorator’s office and store but still retains its Walker’s Brewery maroon tiles and faded lettering on the gable end. The pub was locally known as “The Fly House” for the number of flies that once infested this area from the council rubbish and manure yards which lay to the rear of the building in the past. Standing here on a warm summers day you can picture what the scene (and smell) must have been like some years back and take pity on the poor publican who had to eke his living here!

Head towards Pall Mall Take care when crossing the busy Leeds Street dual carriageway, and head inland to the first traffic lights. The canal came as far as here until 1960. The warehouses were well built and designed to last which they did until recently when they were demolished to make way for a new development. A condition of development planning consent was to conserve and retain the outward profile of the warehouses so future generations may see the old terminus.

Continue down the street back into Vauxhall Road where your way is left to return to the Eldonian Village centre to complete the tour. Recommended reading: “Liverpool and It’s Canal” Mike Clarke and Alison Hewitt . For a definitive history of the whole canal Mike Clarke has written “The Leeds and Liverpool Canal, A History and Guide”. Both books are strongly recommended for all canal historians.

A car showroom and depot comes in to view and was part of the old Tate and Lyle buildings. You may be able to obtain permission to enter to view the full extent of the old line of the canal here. The site is bounded some way along by a brick wall on its south side and the remains of the wash wall stones were discovered here with mooring rings still intact. Retrace your steps to Pall Mall and continue up to the junction with Chisenale Street. Bear right to the old Chisenale Street canal bridge. The bridge lay at the heart of the Tate and Lyle complex and many craft would tie up here, only to be submerged in the steam created by condensing water from the refinery plant.


The canal terminus at Eldonian Basin


National Waterways Museum

• Events 2016 • 40th anniversary celebrations and opening of Window on the World 2 & 3 July • Between July & October 'George' will be travelling her old route between Liverpool and Leigh along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal #GoGeorge

• Horses at Work & at War 14 August • Santa Cruises 17 - 24 December • For more information on the events please visit or find us on Facebook.

Show your support Like us on canalrivertrust Become a Friend Find out more at T 0151 355 5017 E Charity number 1146792. 11/02/2016


IWA National Campaign Festival

IWA Working with Schools

Since January all the pupils at Trinity Primary School have been working on projects about the canals and particularly the Leeds & Liverpool, . Volunteers from IWA and the Boat Museum Society went into school to do workshops with all the pupils about the history of the working boats and what it was like to live on the canals. They have also had assemblies on water safety.


Since then some pupils have been out for a canal trip on the Pride of Sefton whilst all of the children have continued working on canal related projects in school. You can see some pictures of their work and also read some of the children’s comments. During the Festival the children are also performing a song and a dance routine for visitors.



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The Eldonian Village Canal Festival  

With boat trips, canoeing sessions, local crafts, historic boats and children's activities, The Eldonian Village Canal Festival promises to...

The Eldonian Village Canal Festival  

With boat trips, canoeing sessions, local crafts, historic boats and children's activities, The Eldonian Village Canal Festival promises to...