Victor gets memories of Anderton being restored

Published: Sunday, 19 December 2021

IT BEING the 20th anniversary of the restoration of the Anderton Boat Lift certainly brought back some memories.

stalybridgePrior2They were really the 'good old days' of the waterways when money was being spent where it should be by British Waterways—restoring Anderton Boat Lift, the Huddersfield Narrow and the Rochdale canals.

The Ribble Link was then created connecting the Leeds & Liverpool Canal with the Lancaster Canal with navigation across the Ribble Estuary.

The Bugsworth Basin on the Macclesfield Canal was also restored, though water voles had been installed in the banks of the channel leading to the basin that also destroyed the bank so it had to be closed and restored again!

The photograph shows the restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow through Stalybridge with the one below showing the Caen Hill Flight on the Kennet & Avon Canal as it was before restoration.

caen hill flight derelictThe completed massive restoration of that waterway was reopened by HRH the Queen on the 8th August 1990.

Then there was the plan to connect the Grand Union Canal at Milton Keynes with the River Great Ouse in Bedford but a £50,000 feasibility study rather put paid to that.

All we are left with are the individual canal societies struggling to restore their own navigations with none of the help or cash as in those days of old.

And I have to ask—what is happening to all those restorations of the past?  Well, we all know the answer to that.

It just did not work

But back to the reopening of the Anderton Lift, with our Thomas amongst the Press on that opening day where they were to be taken by boat up the lift from the Weaver, a little trip on the Trent & Mersey then back down to the river.

andertonFiguresBut to the embarrassment of the  chiefs from British Waterways it was not to be, for when the lift juddered (and so it did) to the top the gates refused to open to allow the boat out!

There was much dashing about by engineers, but try as they might, those gates remaining firmly closed, so back went the Press with no cruise along the canal.

The reason given was the health and safety rules that had to be applied with lots of safety features did not match too well with the old Victorian engineering.

And as we later took our own boat on the lift, the same occurred!  But it was just a matter of a fella isolating the safety device to allow the gates to open! Here's a strange photograph of the figures that at one time were present at the lift, and at the opening actual moving ones!

Those cancelled winter works

So we now get an excuse for those cancelled winter works, with two more over the last week, our being told they were found not to be necessary, yet they will be undertaken later.

Work that one out!

So CaRT's Department of Silly Notices triumph once again!

Victor Swift