IWA Bulletin October 2014

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IWA Welcomes Government's Decision to Realign HS2 Route at Fradley

Fradley Junction, Trent & Mersey Canal (photo by Harry Arnold, Waterway Images)Photo: Fradley Junction, Trent & Mersey Canal (photo by Harry Arnold, Waterway Images)

IWA has welcomed a decision by the Government to adopt the proposals, put forward by IWA and Canal & River Trust (CRT) to re-align the route of HS2. The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, made the announcement yesterday (1st October 2014).

The new route avoids much of the popular and historic Fradley Junction to Woodend area of the Trent & Mersey Canal, and the need for a large worksite alongside the Coventry Canal between Streethay and Huddlesford. Assurances have also been given that HS2 will ensure that restoration of the Lichfield Canal can continue. The assurances being given on the restoration of the Lichfield Canal needs to legally confirm that the excellent work done by the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust can continue unimpeded both now and in the future.

IWA’s Lichfield Branch originally identified the major impact that the proposed HS2 route would have on the area around Fradley Junction in March 2011, and subsequently identified an alternative route. IWA then worked with the local waterway groups to refine proposals and in September 2013, agreed with CRT to commission renowned engineering consultancy Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd to develop a report to confirm the viability of our alternative route. The report demonstrated a credible route, which had significantly less impact on the area and the potential to reduce construction costs by around £50 million.  

At the visit by the Select Committee on 16th September 2014, we were able to visually demonstrate some of what would be lost with the help of a passing boater, and we are very pleased that HS2 has recognised the case we put forward.

Whilst delighted with the current outcome that greatly reduces the impact on the Fradley Junction area, there is much more to do on HS2 both in terms of the impact on other parts of the waterways and in terms of noise mitigation and design quality. As well as continuing direct engagement with HS2 Ltd and other stakeholders, both IWA and CRT have used the petition process, an agreed Parliamentary procedure, to formally ask for the Bill to be amended.  

Les Etheridge, National Chairman, IWA said: “IWA has been campaigning for several years for a better deal from HS2 on waterways especially at Fradley. It’s great that our pragmatic approach has been taken on board, saving this iconic location and providing assurance, which we need to see detailed, to protect the important Lichfield Canal restoration.

As ever IWA will continue to work hard to protect the inland waterways so that everybody can continue to enjoy this fantastic national asset to the full.

IWA News

Karen Bradley MP Opens IWA AGM

AGM 2014 Leek being opened by Karen Bradley MP (photo by Alison Smedley)Photo: AGM 2014 Leek being opened by Karen Bradley MP (photo by Alison Smedley)

Karen Bradley MP opened IWA’s Annual General Meeting on Saturday 27th September, by welcoming IWA members to the historic market town of Leek.  She conveyed the importance of the town’s historic waterway connections and confirmed her on-going support for waterways and IWA's work.

The AGM saw the normal routine business as well as noting the re-appointment of Ray Carter and Gordon Harrower, and appointment of John Butler, as nationally elected trustees. The appointments of Paul Strudwick (London Region Chairman) and Gareth Jones (South East Region Chairman) were also noted.

National Treasurer, Gordon Harrower presented the accounts giving a detailed breakdown of income and expenditure, and demonstrated the significant level of funding for Waterway Recovery Group.

IWA National Chairman, Les Etheridge addressed the AGM giving details of what had happened in the last year, particularly the work being done to campaign for the transfer of Environment Agency navigations.  Les also highlighted mooring issues, particularly in London and the western end of the Kennet and Avon canal, which needed to be resolved so that all boaters get a fair opportunity to moor.

Gren Messham, Chairman of the Navigation Committee gave a detailed presentation on HS2 and the work IWA has been doing to achieve a better outcome, particularly at Fradley, and on the importance of design and noise mitigation.

Over fifty IWA members contributed to a lively debate in the morning meeting organised by IWA's Promotions & Communications Committee, on ways to engage with younger people and make them enthusiastic supporters of IWA. Gren Messham and Geraint Coles promoted discussions under the perspectives of navigation and restoration.

Celebrations around the 40th anniversary of the reopening of the Caldon Canal took place in the local area over the weekend.

IWA’s National Awards Recognise Contributions to the Waterways

IWA 2014 AGM, Awards (Group) (0011) (WATERWAY IMAGES)Photo: (from left) Gillian Bolt, Peter Bolt (accepting Branch Achievement Award for Chester & Merseyside Branch and Richard Bird medal on behalf of Ron Evans), Les Etheridge, Brian Kingshott (Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust), Bernard and Joyce Snell, Roger Savage, Philip Sharpe, Christopher Skelhorne (photo by Harry Arnold, Waterway Images)

IWA’s annual awards were presented at IWA’s Annual General Meeting on 27th September 2014. The awards recognise contributions made to the Association and inland waterways.

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust received IWA’s Christopher Power Prize for its significant contribution to the restoration of this important cross-country route. The Trust has held regular work parties over many years on both canals, with assistance from IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group.  Both the Lichfield and Hatherton canals now have professionally produced Feasibility Studies to guide the restorations, and several sections of land have been acquired with others under negotiation. The Trust has proved able to rise to major funding challenges, and acquired increasing support from the local authorities to protect the routes.

IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch received the Branch Achievement Award for the Chester rally, which was one of a regular series of biennial rallies that have significantly raised the profile of the waterways over the years. The Branch has been campaigning to repair and re-open the River Lock leading onto the River Dee and allow navigation above the weir to Farndon. The Branch has also undertaken a lot of work with Chester Canal Heritage Trust members, in partnership with CRT, Cheshire West and Chester Council, to develop the Strategy for Chester's waterways.

IWA's John Heap Salver Award goes to Bernard and Joyce Snell for their outstanding contribution to raising funds for the Association. The Kent and Sussex Branch members have worked tirelessly for IWA over twenty years, by organising trail boat rallies and other events, along with manning stalls, and raising significant amounts of money for the branch and relevant projects.

Richard Bird Medals were awarded to IWA volunteers; Christopher Skelhorne, Ron Evans, Philip Sharpe, Roger Savage and Gillian Bolt, to recognise the benefit these members have brought to the Association over a sustained period.

Chris Skelhorne has been active in undertaking a wide variety of roles since the 1970s. He was the first Secretary of Stoke-on-Trent Branch becoming the chairman in 1977. He was one of the main organisers working with members of the Trent & Mersey Canal Society organising the very successful Trent and Mersey Bicentenary Celebrations. He has also led a series of projects improving the waterways in the area surrounding Stoke.

Ron Evans has been a very active member of the Chester, now Chester & Merseyside Branch for about 30 years. He has held a number of committee positions, including, publicity officer, newsletter editor, chairman and currently treasurer. He is involved with a number of other local waterway organisations and has assisted many in achieving their objectives, which link to those of IWA.

Philip Sharpe has had a long and active involvement with IWA and the Lichfield & Hatherton Canals restoration Trust, leading a number of teams relative to the M6 Toll Road navigable crossing, and recently worked on the re-alignment of the HS2 project, proposing a new route that would save Wood End Lock. He has been the planning officer for IWA Lichfield Branch since 1991 and has been the website editor since 2010.

Roger Savage has been the driving force behind the Cheshire Locks Project, having a plaque in memory of Pat & Millie Osborne on one of the new A500 road bridges and organising a Staffordshire Waterways Marquee at IWA festivals. He also initiated the Staffordshire Waterways Group, bringing together navigation authorities, local authorities and waterway groups on the Staffordshire area. He was a major force behind the Burslem Port project.

Gillian Bolt has been a very active member of the Chester & Merseyside Branch, but this award is for her dedicated work to develop and expand the reach of IWA’s Wild Over Waterways (WOW) project for young people.

Find out more about IWA's National Awards.

WRG Commended for Building Bridges Project

Amber Jenkins and George Rogers at CRT Living Waterways Awards ceremonyPhoto: Amber Jenkins and George Rogers at CRT Living Waterways Awards ceremony

IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) received a Commendation at CRT's Living Waterways Awards ceremony, which took place on 24th September at the Royal Armouries in Leeds.

The Commendation was awarded for a joint Building Bridges project between CRT and WRG, which was nominated for the Community and Volunteering Award.

The main aim of this project is to improve working relations with CRT, using three to four projects to develop a suitable framework, allowing volunteers to work on more technical projects with CRT in the future. At the end of the project, WRG plans to create a handbook ‘Bridge Restoration Guide for Volunteers’, which can be used by community and adoption groups to undertake more technical restoration work along their waterways. It is hoped that by working together, attitudes will change and volunteers will be actively encouraged to preserve structures along our waterways.

This year WRG and CRT will begin working on Bridge 178 on the Grand Union Canal, in partnership with Black Jack Locks Restoration Association. Re-pointing work will be carried out on the bridge from Friday 10th until Sunday 12th of October 2014. The Bridge will be repainted and finished in spring of 2015.

WRG’s Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, Amber Jenkins, who received the award on behalf of WRG, along with WRG volunteer George Rogers, said “The Commendation for WRG recognises what can be achieved when organisations work together for the benefit of the waterways. WRG volunteers have an exceptional collective knowledge of the historical and technical aspects of waterway structures, as well as a tireless dedication to seeing them restored.”

The awards themselves were split into eight different categories. The categories and winners were as follows:

  • Art and Interpretation: Rochdale Canal Connections
  • Contribution to the Built Environment: Scale Lane Bridge
  • Community and Volunteering: Wirral Community Narrowboat Trust
  • Education and Learning: Floating Cinema
  • Natural Environment: River Irwell
  • Recreation and Tourism: Stoke Bruerne Events
  • Restoration of Historic Environments: 'Relighting the Fire' of Ellesmere Forge

The Outstanding Achievement Award was also presented to Sonia Rolt, IWA Vice President, for her tireless efforts to improve the waterways. Sonia first became involved with the waterways as a trainee boatwoman during the Second World War. Since then Sonia has campaigned for waterways, contributed to the formation of IWA, published A Canal People: The Photographs of Robert Longden, edited and written introductions to several of her late husband's, Tom Rolt, books and received the OBE for services to industrial archaeology and heritage in 2010.

The Living Waterways Awards seek to recognise exceptional projects that are helping to care for canals and rivers across the UK.

Tony Hales, chairman of CRT, said: “The Living Waterways Awards celebrate the individuals, communities and organisations that have done the most to make a difference to the nation’s historic canals and rivers - making them exciting places to live, learn and spend time.

“Our panel of independent experts, headed up by Helen Carey, has been tremendously impressed with the quality of projects submitted. There’s so much to learn so much from these achievements and we wish everyone many congratulations on their tremendous success.”

WRG would like to thank everyone that contributed to making the Building Bridges Project a success.

Hundreds Attend Caldon 40 Celebrations

Lock Ceremony at Caldon40Photo: Lock Ceremony at Caldon 40 celebrations (photo by Waterway Images)

A weekend of celebrations were organised around IWA’s Annual General Meeting on 27th September 2014.

Hundreds of visitors gathered to watch the recreation of the ceremony, forty years to the day in 1974, when the Caldon Canal was reopened to navigation at Top Lock, Cheddleton. The Waterway Community Day on Sunday 28th September also included historic boats, ‘Pedal Peak’ cycling, boat trips, a discovery trail, canal art, stalls, bell ringing, displays and WOW children’s activities. The Flint Mill was open for visitors to look round.

Julie Arnold, active member of both IWA and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust (CUCT) said "IWA's North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and IWA corporate member CUCT, invited IWA to hold its national AGM in Leek during their September weekend of events, planned to mark the 40th anniversary of the reopening of the Caldon Canal. The canal restoration campaign was supported by IWA and Waterway Recovery Group, so it was fitting that a WRG work party team helped stage the celebration event and continue restoration work on the Uttoxeter Canal – all in one weekend!"

Other weekend events included a film night hosted by CUCT on Friday night, and a music, barbecue and beer festival on Saturday night.

Weekend events were organised by IWA's North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch, CUCT, The Beatrice Charity and Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club working in partnership with CRT. The Waterway Community Day included support from Cheddleton Flint Mill,  local businesses, churches and the parish council, CRT, Trent & Mersey Canal Society, Staffordshire County Council’s cycling connectivity team and Churnet Valley Living Landscape Partnership organisations including RSPB and Severn Trent Water.

Operation Manchester – Cleaning Up the Canals of Manchester

One of the many bicycles found during Operation Starburst, 2013 (photo by Alison Smedley)Photo: One of the many bicycles found during Operation Starburst, 2013 (photo by Alison Smedley)

IWA Manchester Branch and CRT are progressing plans for the third annual Canal Clean-up in Manchester, planned to take place on 4th and 5th October.

Following on from last year, when over 100 volunteers tackled removing rubbish from the canals in five different locations in the Greater Manchester area, and the event in October 2012, which saw a similar number of people volunteering to clean up the canals in Ashton-under-Lyne; IWA Manchester Branch is holding a third annual Clean-up Weekend on the city’s canals. This year the event will take place from 10am to 4pm on both Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th October along the Ashton and Rochdale canals in the Piccadilly/Ancoats/New Islington area.

Everyone is welcome to come and join in what promises to be another great weekend with a choice of litter picking, vegetation clearance or pulling rubbish out of the canal using grappling hooks. Volunteers are advised to wear old clothes, stout footwear and bring waterproofs in case of rain. Participants should meet at Piccadilly Basin each morning to collect equipment, sign in and receive the daily briefing.  

Steve Connolly, deputy chairman of IWA Manchester Branch, said “Whilst inland waterways are highly valued by communities for leisure and for wildlife, in some areas they are subjected to fly-tipping and vandalism. Waterway volunteers coordinated by IWA have become renowned for canal clean ups around the country, and this annual event in Manchester builds on this. It will bring improvements, both to navigation and the overall appearance of the canal and towpath, which will benefit all users of Manchester’s many and varied waterways.

Operation Manchester is just one of a number of large scale Canal Clean-ups organised by IWA to take place over the next few months. Other events are to be held across the country in locations including Warwick and London.

For more information on Operation Manchester or the other large clean-ups planned, contact Alison Smedley, IWA Branch Campaign Officer, by email alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk or phone 07779 090915. 

First Big Canal Clean-up in Leicester

IWA Leicestershire Branch is joining forces with CRT and Leicester City Council to hold a Canal Clean-up in Leicester, one of several large scale IWA clean-up events happening across the country this autumn and winter.

The event on Saturday 4th October, will give people an opportunity to get involved in clearing up the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal using workboats to travel through the city, working in both directions from Lime Kiln Lock near Abbey Park. Some volunteers will pull rubbish out of the canal itself, while others will carry out litter picking along the towpath.  

Ian McDonald, chairman of IWA Leicestershire Branch, said “Leicester is fortunate in having a living waterway passing through the city and close to the High Street. Unfortunately when rubbish lands in the water it can only float downstream, get caught up on overhanging branches or get deposited by floods onto the towpath. Volunteers will work from the towpath and from boats to remove this and undertake other work to improve this great asset for all. We do hope we will be able to welcome many on the 4th October for some time by the water!

Volunteers should meet at Lime Kiln Lock, Leicester, at 10am for a health and safety briefing and to be issued with tools and protective equipment. Volunteers are advised to wear stout shoes, old clothes and to bring waterproofs and a packed lunch if staying all day.

For further information, and to let us know that you are coming along, please contact Alison Smedley, Branch Campaign Officer for The Inland Waterways Association, on 07779 090915 or by email alison.smedley@waterways.org.uk. Alison is also able to provide details of other big Clean-ups happening this autumn and winter.

IWA Middlesex Branch Celebrates 20th Anniversary at Slough Canal Festival

Photo: The Mayor of Slough (centre) cuts IWA Middlesex Branch 20th Anniversary cake with Branch Chairman Keith Clayton (left) and Branch Secretary Robin Bishop (right) (photo by Ray Gill)Photo: The Mayor of Slough (centre) cuts IWA Middlesex Branch 20th Anniversary cake with Branch chairman Keith Clayton (left) and secretary Robin Bishop (right) (photo by Ray Gill)

IWA Middlesex Branch is pleased to report that Slough Canal Festival, held over the weekend of 13th and 14th September, was a great success, attracting over double the number of boats recorded in previous years.

IWA Middlesex Branch was present as usual with its sales stand as well as a birthday cake to celebrate the Branch’s 20th anniversary. The Mayor of Slough cut the cake on the Sunday and all the boaters were invited to enjoy a slice.

The Festival is an annual event held by Slough Borough Council, with the support of CRT, in Bloom Park alongside the Slough Arm of the Grand Union Canal. This year there were twenty-six boats in attendance, an increase most likely due to the completion of long awaited dredging on the Slough Arm earlier this year. It is hoped that boaters who attended the Festival will help to publicise the improved condition of the waterway and that as this becomes more widely known, more boaters will include Slough in their cruising schedules.

IWA Branch Involved in London Culture Event

IWA Middlesex Branch was recently involved with the citywide Open House event in London, held over 20th and 21st September.

Open House is an annual weekend event that this year saw over 800 of London’s buildings opened to the public. The events over the weekend are intended to help the wider community to become more knowledgeable, engage in dialogue and make informed judgements on architecture. IWA Middlesex Branch ran guided walks up the Hanwell Lock Flight in West London on the Grand Union Canal, to help achieve this.
The Branch display was also present with literature about IWA and Britain’s inland waterways, as well as teas and coffees for the walkers.

There was an extra event on Sunday morning when Channel Four were present filming the next series of “Great Canal Journeys” with Timothy West and Prunella Scales travelling up the Hanwell Flight on a narrowboat.

Run for IWA in the 2015 London Marathon

IWA is looking for an enthusiastic runner to take part in the London Marathon 2015.

IWA won the place after entering the Virgin Money London Marathon Charity Ballot. This is a great opportunity to take part in the largest annual fundraising event in the world. The runner will receive support and publicity from IWA to help attain sponsorship, which could be for IWA or a waterway cause chosen by the selected runner.

If you are interested in running for IWA in the 2015 London Marathon please contact IWA’s Fundraising Officer Toby Gomm at toby.gomm@waterways.org.uk or telephone 01494 783 453 ext.611.

Issuu App for IOS and Android Smart Phones and Devices

Issuu is a digital platform, used by IWA to publish magazines and other printed material online.

Issuu now has mobile apps for Android and IOS, which make it easy for members to read documents using a smart phone, iPhone or iPad.

The app allows members to read content on the go with an 'Offline Reading List' option, where you can save publications to read later, without Wi-Fi or a network connection. Other features include unlimited zoom and feed personalisation with the ability to follow IWA and see the latest publications as they are uploaded. You can also create stacks of your favourite magazines.

Publications uploaded by IWA include our quarterly member's magazine, Waterways, as well as branch and region magazines and WRG's Navvies.

You can download the app by searching for 'Issuu' in your relevant mobile device app store. Once the app is downloaded, open it, search for 'The Inland Waterways Association' and follow us. If you have any problems please email gemma.bolton@waterways.org.uk.

IWA's Issuu documents can be viewed on the Issuu website.

About People

Richard Drake BEM

Richard Drake (photo by (c) Harry Arnold, Waterway Images)Photo: Richard Drake (photo by Harry Arnold, Waterway Images)

IWA is saddened to report the death of one of its past National Chairman Richard Drake, who passed away on 26th September. Richard was greatly involved with IWA not only as National Chairman from 1998 to 2002, but also as IWA Chester Branch Chairman and IWA Western Region Chairman. Most recently, he undertook the role of IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch President and attended IWA’s Chester Campaign Festival as the special guest. One of Richard's great lifetime achievements was seeing through the full restoration of Anderton Boat Lift as chairman of Anderton Boat Lift Trust. Richard was present at a ceremony to mark the Lift's Heritage Engineering Award earlier this year - see photo below. Prior to retirement and taking on the national chairman role, Richard held a senior position at Allied Bakeries' computer centre in Merseyside, and had previously had an army career, during which he had earned the British Empire Medal for his computer work.

Presentation of the Transport Trust Award with Richard Drake (left) and Richard Parry, Canal & River Trust chief executive, earlier in 2014Photo: Presentation of the Transport Trust Award with Richard Drake (left) and Richard Parry, Canal & River Trust chief executive, earlier in 2014

Tess Hawkins

Waterway Recovery Group lost one of its key behind-the-scenes volunteers with the death of Tess Hawkins on 15th September. Tess, along with husband John Hawkins, and Alan and Carol Rowe, helped run the popular WRG Sales Stand in WRG's early years (see photo below from a 1984 edition of WRG's Navvies magazine). Tess also provided support for John for over 30 years with the WRG Print operation, where Tess's background in the printing industry was invaluable. Tess was a regular work party attendee too, bringing along the whole family to camp out in whatever village hall was being used for the weekend. A skilled canoe instructor, Tess's support for the waterways was never less than 100%, but sadly her later years were blighted with Pick's Disease. Her 'standing-room-only' funeral on 26th September saw a large contingent of WRG volunteers from all over the country.

Tess HawkinsPhoto: (from left) Tess Hawkins and Carol Rowe on the WRG sales and publicity unit, 1984 (photo by Sal Logalbo Photography)

Vic Smallshire

IWA is also saddened to report the death of Vic Smallshire, who passed away on 15th September 2014. Vic was greatly involved with waterways especially as founder, long-time chairman and, more recently, president of Dudley Canal Trust.

Other News

CRT Appoints Trustees

Canal & River Trust has appointed Ben Gordon and Allan Leighton as trustees.  They join CRT's Trustee Board which is legally responsible for ensuring that the Trust works towards its charitable objectives, sets the overarching policy and strategy for the Trust, and provides oversight of the charity’s executive team.
Ben Gordon, a civil engineer specialising in hydraulics held senior positions at WHSmith and Disney prior to becoming chief executive of Mothercare for nine years until 2011. He holds a number of non-executive director positions.
Allan Leighton was formerly CEO of Asda Plc, chairman of the Royal Mail and holds a number of non-executive chairmanships including Pace Plc, Pandora AS, Lastminute.com and BSkyB.
The appointments to the unpaid posts, approved by the Trust’s Council on 24th September, started with immediate effect for a three-year term. With the retirement of John Bridgeman, the appointment of Ben Gordon and Allan Leighton brings the number of Trustees to eleven.  A list of CRT’s Trustees is available at CRT's website

CRT Review of Governance

CRT’s Appointments Committee has carried out a review of the Trust’s governance, with its proposals approved on 24th September at the meeting of the Trust’s Council. In line with CRT’s constitution, this is the first review of the Trust’s governance since its formation in 2012. The core of the review concerned the Trust Rules that define the size and make-up of Council. The changes to the Trust’s governance rules, which will come into effect from March 2016, include:

  • Friends (people who give a regular donation to the Trust) will elect a member to sit on Council. This is an additional seat on Council and will serve from March 2016 to 2020.
  • Volunteers registered with the Trust will also elect a member to sit on Council. This will replace the nominated seat currently held by IWA’s Waterway Recovery Group and the first term will serve from March 2016 to 2020.
  • IWA is being invited to nominate a representative to sit on Council as a reflection of its membership and historic role, and its practical support for local canal societies.
  • An increase in the size of Council to forty people (from thirty-five) to allow further elected members to sit on Council when appropriate as part of the longer-term ambition to increase the number of people elected rather than nominated. These places on Council will be allocated by the Appointments Committee in future years.

In addition to the changes to governance, CRT's Appointments Committee has reported to Council that the chairs of West Midlands, Manchester & Pennine and Museums & Attractions partnerships have been reappointed. There are interviews planned in October for the chairs of North Wales & Borders and South Wales & Severn partnerships whose current chairs are unable to serve for second term due to other commitments.

Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge Nears Completion

Sutton Weaver BridgePhoto: Sutton Weaver Bridge (photo by CRT)

CRT has announced that it expects the £4.5 million restoration of Sutton Weaver Swing Bridge over the River Weaver, near Frodsham, Cheshire, to be completed by Friday 10th October.

The bridge, which carries the A56 trunk road, should reopen to traffic overnight in the early hours of Saturday 11th October. Work will then start to dismantle the temporary bridge that has kept road traffic moving over the duration of the restoration of the swing bridge.

Rowing boats and traditional narrowboats have been able to pass underneath throughout the project but the Weaver Navigation is expected to be fully open to all river traffic by the end of October.

Funding for the project came from Cheshire West and Chester Council, the Department for Transport and CRT. The project was managed by CRT, in conjunction with the Council, with Kier as the main contractor.

The restoration of the 88-year-old bridge, which carries 20,000 vehicles a day, started in summer 2013 and is the first complete refurbishment in its history. This project, which should be fully completed this autumn, will extend its life by over fifty years.

At a special ceremony to mark the project’s completion on Friday 10th October, a vintage Leyland Cub lorry and a modern day HGV, supplied by Huntapac Produce Ltd, will drive across the bridge to highlight the vehicle weight changes the bridge has had to cope with since it opened in 1926. On the river, a flotilla of rowing boats from Runcorn Rowing Club and boats from the River Weaver Navigation Society will also join in the celebrations.

Whilst the temporary bridge has been in place, the Council has taken the opportunity, with the assistance of Kier and CRT, to alter the traffic signalled junction and restore the direct link between Frodsham and Sutton Weaver, which was closed during the work. Pedestrian and cyclist facilities have also been improved and the carriageway has been re-surfaced.

CRT Announces £50,000 Project to Digitise the National Waterway Collection

Boat strike at Braunston on the Grand Junction Canal, 1923Photo: Boat strike at Braunston on the Grand Junction Canal, 1923 (photo from national waterways collection)

On 30th September, CRT published over 37,000 archive records and 22,000 historic images online for the first time ever. The £50,000 project is the first phase of a major project to open up public access to the national waterways collection.
The Waterways Archive is housed at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port and is the largest archive of waterway-related materials in the country. This important collection, which holds a wide range of primary material relating to the history of Britain’s canals and inland waterways, is to be made available for the public to access online at CRT's website
The archive images will be available for the public to purchase later in the year and CRT is already putting in place plans to digitise a further 15,000 images.

Eckington School Boat Named

Eckington School boat, MadelinePhoto: Eckington School boat, Madeline

The Eckington School boat was officially named by Headteacher, Patrick Cummings, on Sunday 28th September. The boat has been named Madeline in memory of Madeline Siddall, a student at the school who died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition at the age of 15.

The ceremony, held at Hollingwood Hub, was attended by members of Madeline’s family, staff and students from the school and members of Chesterfield Canal Trust. All were thanked for their support of the boat project, which began four years ago when the school bought the shell of a 40ft steel narrowboat. A dedicated team of students and staff from the school then fitted out the boat completely.

At the beginning of 2014, several members of staff and some students were trained as skippers by members of the Chesterfield Canal Trust. Following this Madeline was put into the water at Staveley Town Basin on the Chesterfield Canal on 26th June in time for the Chesterfield Canal.

Since then, the school has used Madeline on an Activities Week and for familiarisation cruises; whilst Chesterfield Canal Trust has used the boat to run public trips from Hollingwood Hub on Saturdays. Originally only scheduled to run in the summer holidays, they have proved very popular and the season has been extended until the end of October and will restart in April. All takings are split equally between the school and the Trust. In addition, a full course of Science work, based around the boat, is currently being written and Madeline will soon be used by Eckington feeder schools.

Access to World Heritage Site on the Llangollen Canal, North Wales, Improved

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Llangollen Canal (photo by Jacqui Hatcher)Photo: Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, Llangollen Canal (photo by Jacqui Hatcher)

Two projects designed to improve accessibility to Wales’ waterway World Heritage Site on the Llangollen Canal were officially opened on Friday 26th September, by local resident Roy Duggan.

The CRT projects have updated a 200-year old ‘roving bridge’ built by Thomas Telford in Trevor to make it easier for everyone to cross the canal and widened and resurfaced a stretch of towpath along the Llangollen Canal with the aim of making Wales’ waterway World Heritage Site accessible to all.

Postles Bridge is a 19th century ‘roving bridge’ that was built to allow horses, towing laden canal boats, to cross the canal without the need to be unhitched.  Access from Postles Bridge back onto the towpath was via a cobbled ramp, which ran parallel to the canal with a steep turn at the foot of the slope. The project involved building a new ramp from the bridge to meet current disability requirements allowing people with mobility scooters or pushchairs and cyclists easier access.

The towpath improvements included widening and resurfacing 1,500 metres of towpath along the World Heritage Site between Horseshoe Falls and Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, adding to the 16km of towpath already improved.

The work was carried out by Gland┼Ár Cymru, CRT in Wales, and was supported by a number of funding partners including players of the People’s Postcode Lottery, WREN Community Landfill Tax, Northern Marches Cymru through the Rural Development Plan and Taith Sustainable Transport.

Aylesbury Canal Society Moves to New Headquarters

Aylesbury Canal Society Chairman Bryan Barnes (left) and Peter Hubbard of Lodge Park Construction Limited outside new Society headquartersPhoto: Aylesbury Canal Society Chairman Bryan Barnes (left) and Peter Hubbard of Lodge Park Construction Limited outside new Society headquarters.

On 12th September, Aylesbury Canal Society moved into its new headquarters at Circus Field Basin. The new £1.7m building is the new headquarters for the Society that has spent around the last 40 years in an adapted prefabricated  home. The new building contains a Function Room, boaters’ laundry, shower facilities, workshops and two docks.

The indoor, temperature controlled and ventilated wet dock is over 72ft long and will accommodate a boat with an air draught of up to 2.2 m, beneath the automatic folding door. The covered and ventilated dry dock space is also centrally heated and is accessed by a slipway and electric winch with capacity for boats up to 72ft long and weighing as much as 30 Tonnes. At normal water levels, the draught above the trolley is sufficient to accommodate a former working boat. Once inside the dock, boats can be lifted off the slipway trolley with a purpose designed hydraulic lift system and placed on stands to allow the bottom to be pressure washed easily and worked on at a suitable height.

Metered, single and three-phase electric outlets are provided in each dock along with user-managed  central heating, fan and light-level controls. The essential equipment for cleaning and painting boats, such as sanding machines with dust extraction, access platforms and a 220 bar/3200 psi pressure washer, are included as part of the docks’ hire charges.  Dock users are also provided with separate toilet and shower facilities and a rest room with equipment for coffee and light meals away from the working space.

Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust Shortlisted for Lloyds Bank Community Fund Award

Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Trust has been shortlisted for the Lloyds Bank Community Fund Award, which could be up to £3000.

Members of the public are invited to vote for their favourite community project on the Community Fund Award’s shortlist. Four local causes in every area will then be awarded funding depending on the number of votes they receive. The group with the most votes will get £3,000, the next £2,000, £1,000 and finally, £500. The Trust has said that if it wins the award the money could pay for materials needed to undertake the Lichfield Canal Heritage Towpath Trail project.  

To vote for the Trust, visit the Lloyds Bank Community Fund website.

New 'Build a Canal' Game Launched by CRT

CRT has launched a new digital interactive game, ‘Build a Canal’, designed to encourage children aged seven to eleven to engage with waterways.

The game invites young people to have a go at being a canal engineer and choose their own route and select construction methods to create their own virtual waterway. The game comes with teacher notes suggesting ways the activity could be used for Key Stage 2 history, geography, music, English and maths lessons.

'Build a Canal' is available to play at CRT’s River Explorers website.

IWA has a range of waterways resources for young people available in the Wild Over Waterways section of the website.

IWA & WRG Work Party Reports

This section contains volunteer reports from IWA branches and IWA's Waterway Recovery Group (WRG). IWA branch reports contain information from their latest work parties where volunteers have worked to help maintain their local canals. WRG reports on its Canal Camps and weekend digs to keep readers up to date with the restoration work the group has been undertaking.

Branch Prepares for Caldon Canal 40th Anniversary

Volunteers at Cheddleton Top Lock work partyPhoto: Volunteers at Cheddleton Top Lock work party

Volunteers from IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch and Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust spent time during September continuing to carry out improvements at Cheddleton Top Lock on the Caldon Canal. This meant that the area was looking spick and span for events celebrating the 40th anniversary of the reopening of the Caldon Canal held on 28th September.  A notice board was cleaned, the handrails around the spill weir were given two coats of paint and the balance beams, paddle posts and lock bollards were also painted.  

IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch Move on to Wolverley Lock

IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire September work party at Wolverley LockPhoto: IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch September work party at Wolverley Lock

Following on from the monthly work parties on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal in the Kidderminster area, IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch moved slightly further north for their work party on Wednesday 10th September. The volunteers met at Wolverley Lock, where they painted the lock. The day was supported by CRT West Midlands’ Volunteer Co-ordinator, Murray Woodward, who brought the van with tools, coffee and tea, which contributed to a pleasant experience.
The volunteers on these monthly work parties vary from retired IWA members and friends to anyone free on a Wednesday once a month.

Nottingham Canal Clean-up, Sunday 21st September 2014

Just some of the rubbish pulled out by Trent Lane Depot, Nottingham clean up, Sept 2014. Photo by Alison SmedleyPhoto: Just some of the rubbish pulled out by Trent Lane Depot (photo by Alison Smedley)

Almost twenty volunteers turned out in Nottingham for a clean-up of the Nottingham Canal from Meadow Lane towards the city centre, on Sunday 21st September. The day had been organised by IWA Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Branch in partnership with CRT, and the volunteers included IWA members, boaters and local people who wanted to get involved in cleaning up the surrounding area.  

One team of volunteers set off on CRT’s workboat Bollin, to tackle the offside litter and any waterborne litter and submerged rubbish. Meanwhile, two teams of volunteers with grappling irons got to work, and had soon pulled out their first haul of rubbish from the lock chamber at Meadow Lane, before making their way all the way along the first mile of canal, pulling out numerous bicycles, shopping trolleys, fence panels and other assorted items. Later in the day, an enormous amount of scrap metal was pulled out from the canal near Trent Lane.  

Litter picking was carried out between Meadow Lane Lock for over a mile towards the city centre, whilst others weeded and cleared vegetation from around Meadow Lane Lock, the sanitary station service block, and along towards the first bridge.  

By the end of the day, all of the rubbish had been unloaded at CRT’s Trent Lane depot, where it filled one skip, and all the scrap metal went into an enormous pile to be taken away for recycling. 

IWA Volunteering Opportunities

IWA Branch Volunteer Vacancies:

Have a look at the list of volunteer opportunities within local IWA committees. There is a full list of volunteer opportunities within IWA branches.

IWA Branch and Region Magazines

The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added to the website since the last edition of the Bulletin:

Peterborough Branch - Hereward - Summer 2014
Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch - Worcester Bar - Autumn 2014
West Riding Branch - Mile Post - September 2014
Chelmsford Branch - Chelmsford Branch Newsletter - October 2014

The following IWA region and branch magazines have been added in recent weeks:

South East Region - Cargoes - Autumn 2014

Middlesex Branch - Middlesex Matters - Autumn 2014
North Staffordshire & South Cheshire - Knobsticks - Autumn 2014
Chester & Merseyside Branch - The Packet Boat - September 2014
North Riding Branch - The Northern Navigation News - September 2014

Waterway Events

Major IWA events in 2015

2nd - 4th May 2015 - IWA Canalway Cavalcade, London
30th - 31st May 2015 - IWA Trailboat Festival, Cumbria
29th - 31st August 2015 - Festival of Water, Northampton

Have you got a waterway event or activity to promote? - Anyone can add details of a waterways event or activity to this area on the website. You don’t even need to register with the website or provide any sort of password. Simply use the upload event form.

See IWA's Events Calendar for a full list of waterway events. You can also search by event type or find out what's going in on your area with the map search.

Upcoming Volunteer/Clean-up Events

4th October Work Party - River Gipping (Supportd by IWA Ipswich Branch)
4th October Leicester Canal Clean-up (IWA Leicestershire Branch)
4th October Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
4th-5th October Operation Manchester - Cleaning up the canals of Manchester (IWA)
6th October Work Party - Hatton Locks (Supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
8th October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
8th October Work Party - Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
9th Oct Work Party - Caldon Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
12th October Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
12th October Work Party - Hatton Offside (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
15th October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
16th October Work Party - Lapworth (Supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
18th October Work Party - Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal (supported by IWA Manchester Branch)
18th October Work Party - Lapworth (Supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
17th-18th October Work Party - Milton Keynes (IWA Milton Keynes Branch)
21st October Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
22nd October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
24th October Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
26th October Work Party - Tinsley Marina (IWA South Yorkshire & Dukeries Branch)
28th October Work Party - Northampton Arm (IWA Northampton Branch)
29th October Work Party - River Gipping (Supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)

1st November Work Party - Chester (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)
1st November Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
2nd November Big Canal Clean-up Warwick (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
3rd November Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
5th November Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
5th November Work Party - Hatton Locks (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
9th November Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
12th November Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
15th November Work Party - Lapworth (supported IWA Warwickshire Branch)
15th November Work Party - Newton Heath, Rochdale Canal (IWA Manchester Branch)
15th November Work Party - Trent & Mersey Canal (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)
19th November Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
20th November Work Party - Lapworth (supported by IWA Warwickshire Branch)
22nd November Canal Clean-up - London (IWA London Region)
22nd-23rd November Canal Clean-up - Bournville (IWA Birmingham, Black Country & Worcestershire Branch)
25th November Work Party - Northampton (IWA Northampton Branch)
26th November Work Party - River Gipping (supported by IWA Ipswich Branch)
28th November Work Party - Congleton (IWA North Staffordshire & South Cheshire Branch)

To advertise your restoration/cleanup events in the bulletin please add details to IWA's events calendar

Upcoming Towpath Walks

5th October Waterside Walk - King's Cross to Hitchcock's Hackney (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
19th October Waterside Walk - Braunston (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
19th October Waterside Walk - Little Venice to Camden (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
23rd October Waterside Walk - Higher Walton (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)

2nd November Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
16th November Waterside Walk - Newbold on Avon (IWA Warwickshire Branch)
16th November Waterside Walk - Regent's Canal (IWA Towpath Walks Society)
27th November Waterside Walk - Northwich (IWA Chester & Merseyside Branch)

To advertise your towpath walks in the Bulletin, please add details to IWA's events calendar

IWA Member Discounts and Special Offers

The following special offers are now available exclusively for IWA members:

  • ABC Boat Hire - 15% discount
  • Airedale Cruising - 10% Discount off skippered day cruises
  • Boatshed Grand Union - 10% discount on brokerage
  • Calcutt Boats - 5% Discount
  • Canal Boat Magazine - 6 Issues for £6
  • CanalCruising.co.uk - 10% discount
  • Channel Glaze - 10% discount on double glazing for boats
  • Cotswold Outdoor - 10% discount
  • Europcar - Special hire rates to IWA members
  • Frangipani SUP Ltd - 10% discount
  • Forge Studio - 10% discount
  • Grand Union Diesel Services - 5% discount
  • IceGripper - 20% discount
  • King's Lock Chandlery - 5% discount
  • Lee Sanitation Ltd. - 10% on orders over £100
  • Marine Megastore Ltd. - 15% discount
  • Midland Chandlers - 5% discount
  • Paper Wizard - 15% discount
  • River Canal Rescue - up to 15% discount
  • RoadPro - 5% discount
  • UltimateBerths.com - Free Listing
  • Willowbridge Marina - 10% discount on chandlery purchases and services in the yard 
  • Worcester Marine Windows Ltd - 5% discount
  • Wyvern Shipping Co. Ltd - 10% discount on published prices
  • Zead - Free postage and accessories

Please note: All discounts and offers are entirely at the organisers' discretion.

To see details of how to take advantage of these offers, please go to www.waterways.org.uk/support_us/members_area/member_discounts_special_offers_public

For IWA members who receive a printed copy of this bulletin in the post, please contact the membership team on 01494 783453 for the details of the offers.

Members can also support IWA with a Narrow Boat magazine subscription

Boat Insurance

IWA has an arrangement with insurers Navigators & General and River Canal Rescue that provides top quality boat insurance and access to the basic waterway rescue service for boat owners, with the added benefit that every policy taken out and subsequently renewed helps IWA, and thus furthers our charitable work for the waterways. 

See more information about the IWA insurance scheme for boaters

Contact Us

IWA Head Office, Island House, Moor Road, Chesham, HP5 1WA
01494 783 453
Bulletin is edited by Stefanie Preston

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Mystery Photo Challenge

Which canal is in this 1974 photo? Take part in the mystery photo challenge and submit your answer here.

See the answer and those that guessed correctly for the previous mystery challenge!

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