Lost Leeds & Liverpool Canal milepost recovered

Published: Thursday, 18 May 2017

A MISSING milepost from the Leeds & Liverpool Canal has been rescued from a railway memorabilia auction and restored to its rightful place on the towpath in Church.

It was Bob Pointing, Chairman of the Canal & River Trust’s North West Partnership, who was involved in launching the 'EveryMileCounts' bicentenary campaign, who spotted the milepost whilst perusing the catalogue of railway antiques at a saleroom.

Withdrawn from sale

He worked with the Trust’s legal team to get the item withdrawn from the sale and negotiated for it to be returned to its rightful owners, the Canal & River Trust.

And this month after being carefully restored and repainted by volunteers, the milepost has finally been returned to its original location on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal towpath at Church, near Accrington, with Bob remarking:

LLmilepostStoke of luck

“It was amazing stroke of luck to come across the milepost advertised in the sale catalogue. I’m a bit of a railway history bore and was intending to attend the auction in search of some old Furness railway items.

"I was so surprised when I saw one of our mileposts offered in the sale with a note suggesting it would make ‘a useful garden ornament’! Presumably it must have been stolen or mislaid at some point. Sadly it is too late to find out who the culprits are after all these years but we are just delighted to have the milepost restored to its rightful place alongside the canal.”

This particular milepost is significant because it marks the half-way point of the waterway.

Picture shows Canal & River Trust North West Partnership Chairman Bob Pointing (centre) after installing the missing milepost with the help of Emma Fielding and volunteer Neil Hartley. (Photo by Alice Kay.)

£5,770 donated

Since the 'EveryMileCounts'project started over a year ago, £5,770 has been donated by individuals and groups, and more than 100 volunteers have donated their time and expertise to painting and repair work, including damaged half and quarter mile posts.

The project has resulted in the restoration of 32 missing mileposts, 80 missing or damaged distance plates and over 100 missing half and quarter mile posts.


Although the canal is 200 years old, the original cast iron mile markers date back to the 1890s. They were installed as a response to legislation introduced to regulate canal freight tolls - the Railway and Canal Rates, Tolls and Charges Order of 1893. This prompted the whole of the canal to be re-surveyed and new mileposts, along with half and quarter mileposts, installed along the towpaths.