Sunday, 23 July 2017

Returning to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal - Canal and Waterways (A Bridge of Two Locks) Talk

I had an opportunity to attend a talk by Trevor Roberts, founder of Canal Connections, one Thursday evening in July.  He passionately shared his interest for the Leeds Waterways (the Heritage Canal Zone between Thwaite Mills and Armley Mills).


Interesting facts were given out about the waterways, nationally and locally:

  • 80% lived within five miles to a waterway.
  • Many haven't been on a boat or realised there is a waterway in Leeds.
  • Leeds Bridge (situated between Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Aire and Calder Navigation) was the city's first bridge which held the first cloth market.  It had a natural ford to get across the River Aire.
  • Aire and Calder Navigation was the country's first inland waterway to be opened.
  • It's claimed Leeds started the Industrial Revolution (though other cities may not agree with) because of its furthest inland port.
  • River Aire was once the worst polluted river though a lot of improvements have been made to make the river cleaner.
  • Leeds and Liverpool Canal celebrated 200 years since its completion last year.
An overview was given about Canal Connections, a social enterprise, including its project's aims and outcomes as follows:
  • Engagement with young people and connecting them with heritage
  • Viewing the waterways as a "Living Museum" (still operating 200 years later) and "an opening to the new world".
  • Continue to break down perceptions and barriers with engaging with members of the public.
  • Running activities programmes especially the summer school holidays.
Future plans were outlined including a new Port of Leeds in Stourton and increasing its commercial activity on the waterways.

The ultimate aim is for the younger generation to become "custodians of this heritage" and highlighting its importance.

An enjoyable and inspiring evening at Left Bank Leeds - formerly a church and now beautifully restored to its former glory and with an overpriced bar!

Please check out Canal Connections here.

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