Celebrating 250 years of Bingley Five Rise

Published: Wednesday, 27 March 2024

THE Canal & River Trust tell that thousands of people joined the celebrations to mark the 250th anniversary of Bingley Five Rise on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

This took place on Saturday 23rd March when fashion designer and star of BBC’s The Great British Sewing Bee Patrick Grant, joined comedian, actress and writer Jessica Knappett (who grew up in Bingley), and other local dignitaries, who took a special boat trip during the celebrations.

bingley five riseTravelled from afar

Sean McGinley, regional director, Yorkshire & North East at Canal & River Trust, explained:

“A massive thank you to everyone who came along to support the celebrations. It was fantastic to see so many people coming together. We had thousands of local people as well as visitors who had travelled from as far as Cumbria and the Netherlands.

“At a time when these centuries-old canals are under threat from extreme weather events bought about by climate change, combined with cuts in vital funding from government, it’s heartening to see people coming together to celebrate and support our waterways and demonstrate their importance to our communities.

“It is hugely important that the trust continues our work to keep canals alive, and I’m hugely proud of our team and amazing volunteers who have helped to make this event such a success. Special thanks to Bingley Town Council for supporting the costs of the activities and to Bradford District Council, Damart, Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society, Sport England, BD25, Sustrans, Players of People’s Postcode Lottery (PPL) and Northern Rail for helping make this a ‘town to towpath’ celebration.”

Councillor Marcus Dearden (Bradford Council, Bingley Ward), who also runs The Five Rise Locks Café next to the historic locks, enthused:

Town centre busy all day

“We had a very, very busy day at the café—far busier than normal, with thousands of people coming out. The town centre was busy all day longa really good day for Bingley.”

FiveRiseOldVisitors had the chance to meet the experts from the Canal & River Trust who care for the canals and locks, and get afloat on the water with free paddle sports and boat trips. Free family-friendly activities were on offer along the towpath, with an arts programme of talks, weaving demonstrations, readings by the Trust’s Canal Poet Laureate Roy McFarlane.

Local community celebrations helped to extend the event from the canal towpath into the town centre, with Bingley Town Council hosting an artisan market, plus live music and performances and businesses running special promotions, including a commemorative Five Locks beer.

Exceptional historical importance

Ruth Garratt, Canal & River Trust’s Yorkshire & North East heritage advisor, explains: “

With just 2.5% of the country's listed houses and structures awarded Grade I listing, Bingley Five Rise Locks are of exceptional historical importance and puts these locks in the same category as Buckingham Palace and York Minster.

“Constructed in Georgian times, the locks were a vital part of a commercial thoroughfare to transport goods across the Pennines to the North Sea. Thanks to the work of our charity to keep canals alive, it is staggering to think that 250 years later these locks are still in daily use by boaters, but also by thousands of walkers, cyclists and runners who come to enjoy spending time by water.”