IWA Timeline: 1974 - 1976


Harecastle Tunnel, on the Trent & Mersey Canal, was closed all year due to repairs being carried out on roof lining falls.  Huddersfield Canal Society was formed to promote the restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

The Branch structure of IWA was changed into one of 7 Regions and 18 branches with the idea of growing the number of branches further.  IWA Membership reached 12,000.

In May, the restored Ashton and Peak Forest canals were reopened as well as further stretches of the Kennet & Avon Canal.

1974_upper_avonOn 1st June, the Upper Avon was officially reopened by HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

In September, the Caldon Canal restoration was complete and the navigation was declared open.

IWA's National Rally was held at Nottingham on the River Trent and attracted over 600 boats. Drawing attention to the nearby Grantham Canal restoration was one of its objectives.



Now that British Waterways was making a start to address the maintenance backlog some IWA members expressed concern at the length of some of the stoppages needed for the work.  The condition of the towpaths and water shortages were also subjects increasingly coming to everyone's attention.  Lack of moorings, hire boats and speeding craft featured in the expanding letters pages of the Bulletin.

1975_middlewichIWA's North West Region held the first IWA Regional Rally, to which 280 boats attended and there was a large trade fair. The local Council Parks Department provided an appropriate floral display outside Middlewich Civic Hall.

On the Kennet & Avon Canal, traffic lights were installed in Reading at each end of the narrow and fast running brewery cutting.  A substantial portion of the cost came from Captain Munk's testimonial collection, which he gave as a memorial to his late wife Marion.

IWA's National Festival at York on the River Ouse was sponsored by Shell. This was the first year since 1964 that the event was called a Festival rather than a Rally.


IWA's members' magazine was changed from Bulletin to IWA Waterways and produced in A4 format.  This was also the year of the big drought, made worse on the canals by the maintenance backlog.

IWA objected to the draft of the Anglian Water Authority Bill, which would have made it possible to extinguish navigation rights on the authority of the Secretary of State.  A Select Committee of the House of Lords heard the objection, and decided in IWA's favour.

1976_droughtA downturn in the economy meant IWA's National Rally at Peterborough on the River Nene did not have a sponsor, and the drought caused an entry of 382 boats to translate to just 142 arrivals.  Despite this 33,000 people attended the Rally.