Count­down to L& L 200

Canal Boat - - News -

THE DATE ‘1816’ can just be seen on the key­stone of this bridge in Wi­gan, in­di­cat­ing that it was one of the last to be built in the canal’s con­struc­tion – and, there­fore, an ap­pro­pri­ate place for the Canal & River Trust’s North West Wa­ter­way Man­ager Shantelle Se­aborn (right) and Leeds & Liver­pool Bi­cen­te­nary Project Man­ager Sarah Knight to launch a year of cel­e­bra­tions in the run-up to next year’s 200th an­niver­sary.

Bri­tain’s long­est sin­gle canal as built (the only longer ones were the re­sult of amal­ga­ma­tions and takeovers), its 127-mile trans-Pen­nine route took 46 years be­fore the open­ing of the fi­nal length from John­son’s Hillock to Wi­gan in 1816 saw it com­plete. Once built, its cru­cial role sup­port­ing the trades of Lan­cashire and York­shire, par­tic­u­larly the tex­tile in­dus­tries, made it “the most his­tor­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant canal in the coun­try” in the words of lead­ing wa­ter­ways his­to­rian Mike Clarke.

Re­place­ment of all miss­ing mile­posts along its length will form a last­ing legacy of the bi­cen­te­nary year, which will also fea­ture a re-en­act­ment of the first jour­ney by L&L boat Ken­net to mark the an­niver­sary on 22 Oc­to­ber.

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