RESEARCHERS from Brighton University are nearing the end of a project to investigate the heritage of the Ashton and Rochdale canals in Greater Manchester.
Dr Abigail Wincott, Dr Paul Gilchrist and Professor Neil Ravenscroft have looked at a variety of resources, including the Tameside Local Studies and Archives Centre in Ashton.
Abigail Wincott said: “This is one of the best local studies centres we’ve seen.
“There is so much material in this archive that is yet to be discovered and used.
“The town has a fascinating and important history – very rich, very colourful.”
The team has created three colourful multimedia trails for Ancoats, Holt Town/ Beswick and Droylsden to Ashton-under-Lyne.
The Droylsden to Ashton trail was difficult to produce because there were so many stories to choose from, yet many of the material remains, like mines, mills and houses, had gone.
In the end the team chose the theme of ‘stones’.
The tour encourages towpath walkers to think twice about the stone walls, cobbles and lumps of concrete they pass along the towpath and around town.
The trails can be found on the Izi.travel website and mobile app.
“This is just the start,” Abigail explains. “If you have knowledge about the local area, especially the canals, then we want you to produce more trails for people to enjoy.”
She hopes trails might feature local buildings and industries, family histories and social movements as well as the many characters who have lived here over the years.
“If you’ve done some family history research, if you remember campaigning for the canal to be restored, if you have always wondered what that funny looking building used to be – get down to the Local Studies and Archive Centre, get your old photos out, get talking to people, and it could all be the start of a memorable heritage trail.”
The trails and more information on the project can be found on the project blog: waterwaysheritage. wordpress.com.
Alternatively, follow the Twitter updates @ww heritage and at www. tameside.gov.uk/. archives. ●
Junction Mill, taken from Peak Forest Canal, Ashtonunder-Lyne