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River Stour (Suffolk)

In November 1946 the first IWA Bulletin was issued informing members that the Kennet & Avon, Stratford Canal and Suffolk Stour were among their most prominent campaigns.

The following item appeared in Bulletin 78 - January 1967


RIVER STOUR
Now is the time for Action !

"There is something very British about the way a small motor cruiser navigated up the River Stour yesterday morning. Despite foggy conditions the voyage went very well until the cruiser reached Flat ford Lock. Further free navigation was barred by a rusting chain and padlock festooned across the lower lock gates. At this point, instead of hacking away the chain and padlock as any irate foreigner might do, the crew of the cruiser simply nailed two protest notices to the secured gates." (From a leader in the Ipswich Evening Star, 10th October.) The boat was Aelling, belonging to our Council Member and Press Officer, Major Logan Brown, who reports on the exercise below:

ALTHOUGH the Suffolk and Essex River Stour is right on the fringe of the London and Home Counties Branch - it is the Branch northern boundary and theoretically our jurisdiction extends only to mid-stream - the River Stour Action Committee has recently been so active that any doubt of whose river it is must have been dispelled. The navigation originally extended from the tidal estuary at Cattawade 25 miles inland to Sudbury, but since the winding-up of the navigation company in 1937 the question of what navigation rights exist has been difficult to establish. Apart from the complex legal situation our campaign has been hindered by the actual physical difficulty, if not impossibility, of cruising on the river. Above Stratford St. Mary decay is such that only canoes or other easily portaged craft can make a voyage ; the locks are either derelict or non-existent, and there are fixed sluices in several places. The four locks at Stratford St. Mary, Dedham, Flatford and Brantham were, however, rebuilt by the South Essex Water Co. in 1934, and are in quite good condition, although gates and gears need some essential work done to them before they can be used.

For several years the Action Committee has organised successful canoe rallies on the river, the latest on 25th September 1966, when fifteen canoes paddled from Langham to Brantham, getting very useful publicity. Our next step was to tackle the work to be done on the locks with volunteer working parties, the first of which was scheduled for Sunday 9th October at Brantham Lock. Bye-law permission had been sought from the Essex River Authority, but as it was not forthcoming in time for a full scale attack on the lock, our sights were lowered to making a detailed reconnaissance of the work to be done ; to removing debris from the lock chamber ; and finally to staging a "protest" cruise in order to try to arouse local interest in the river (which is sadly lacking). The plan evolved was to make a passage through Brantham Lock on the high tide on Sunday morning ; proceed to Flatford Lock (chained and padlocked) ; affix protest notices to the gates and then return to Brantham Lock to work.

Time and tide wait for no man, and this was never more evident than at 06.30 hours at Manningtree Hard, on the estuary, where the boat Aelling was berthed on the mud. The crew, accompanied by Bill Keddie of the East Anglian Daily Times, assembled in the misty morn and eventually succeeded in getting under way. Visibility in the estuary was down to about twenty yards and neither buoys nor banks were visible.

"Aelling" at Flatford Lock, with Miss Cobb, Major Brown (on gate at right) and Mr. Keddie.

Aelling grounded once on the mud before reaching Brantham, and was freed only by the skipper going overboard to pull her off, but Cattawade Bridge soon loomed out of the mist and a few minutes later, still on schedule, she rounded a bend and there was Brantham Lock ; bottom gates open and a welcoming party of Action Committee, Working Party, T.V., and an Essex River Authority inspector, who stayed rather aloof and made copious notes. Our difficulties were not yet over, because the rising tide failed by a few inches to reach the level of water above the lock, and locking through necessitated the temporary removal of one paddle from a top gate into a bottom gate in place of a missing one. Once successfully out of the tidal river, Aelling cruised uneventfully to Flatford Lock where, with due ceremony and more T.V. and press coverage, our Council Member Miss Pamela Cobb nailed up the notices.

Later in the day, having returned to Brantham Lock, the working party carried on with the clearance of mud, submerged timber and other nuisances from the lock chamber ; working in the water since it was impracticable to stop the lock off. While work was going on John Marriage, the Action Committee's Chairman, was interviewed by B.B.C. T.V. The overall publicity achieved, from a comparatively small exercise, was considerable, resulting in some five minutes on the screen ; three detailed, illustrated reports in the local press ; an excellent leading article in the Ipswich Evening Star, a mention on B.B.C. Radio News, and a number of smaller reports and comments, mostly favourable. If you want to help to restore John Constable's river to its original usefulness and beauty, watch for details of the next working party in Windlass, and Navvies Notebook. All are welcome.

The chains remain at Flatford, but not for long, we hope


The River Stour trust was founded in 1968.

Lancaster Canal

In 1947 the Association's first official outing was made on the Lancaster Canal.

In 1948 the British Tourist and Holidays Board were approached to advocate canal holidays. Only two hire boat companies were available for people wanting holidays on the canals. One enterprising firm started running boat trips on the Lancaster Canal.

In 1952 concerns were raised that navigation on the Lancaster Canal was being discouraged on the section from Tewitfield Locks to Kendal.

Concerns were expressed at the start of 1953 that the Docks & Inland Waterways Executive had plans to transfer canals that were not "required commercially" to local autorities or other bodies. These included some legally abandoned waterways such as the Cromford Canal, Grantham Canal and Llangollen Canal. Other canals included in the list were the Ashton Canal, Peak Forest Canal, Lancaster Canal, Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and the southern section of the Oxford Canal. In response to this the Association continued to advocate full use and development of the whole waterways system for the benefit of all types of user and for the establishment of a National Waterways Commission covering all navigations as well as a public enquiry into the best ways of developing them.

The 1955 British Transport Commission Bill contained a measure to abandon Haddiscoe New Cut on the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads as well as parts of the Lancaster Canal and other waterways.

In March 1955 the Board of Survey reported and recommended the disposal of 771 miles of waterway including some canals like the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Barnsley Canal that had already been abandoned and closed to traffic. These "Group 3" waterways also included the Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Bridgwater and Taunton, Chesterfield, Cromford, Dearne and Dove, Erewash, Forth & Clyde, Grand Western, Grantham, Kennet & Avon, Lancaster, Manchester, Bolton & Bury, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Nottingham, Oxford (southern section), Pocklington, Ripon, Llangollen, Montgomery, Stratford-upon-Avon (southern section), Swansea and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals as well as the River Witham.

In response IWA advocate a National Waterway Conservancy to look after all our waterways and point out that it is cheaper to restore and use waterways than to eliminate them.

The Lancaster Canal Trust was founded in 1962.

The 1964 proposed route of the M6 motorway threatened navigation on the upper reaches of the Lancaster Canal.

The 1989 National Trailboat Rally was attended by 125 boats at Glasson on the Lancaster Canal Glasson Branch. This highlighted the campaign for the Northern Reaches and the Ribble Link.

In 1997 the Millenium Commission anounced a grant of 2.7 million for building the Ribble Link.

On the 11 July 2002 the Ribble Link was opened giving the Lancaster Canal a connection by water to the rest of the system for the first time. Boats could now travel from the Rufford Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal down the River Douglas and up the River Ribble to the new link.

Barnsley Canal

In 1793, Acts of Parliament were passed to construct both the Barnsley and Dearne & Dove canals to transport coal from the nearby coalfields. After 1914, the canals declined due to competition from road and rail and were gradually abandoned.

In 1947 there were objections to the proposed abandonment of the Derby and Barnsley Canals. A number of IWA Members supported the opposition to the abandonment of the canal led by IWA Member Mr.E.V.Waddington of The Boat Yard, Swinton, Mexborough, Yorkshire.

In 1949 concerns were rasied about the Barnsley Canal.

Towards the end of 1953 the Barnsley Canal was abandoned

In March 1955 the Board of Survey reported and recommended the disposal of 771 miles of waterway including some canals like the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Barnsley Canal that had already been abandoned and closed to traffic. These "Group 3" waterways also included the Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Bridgwater and Taunton, Chesterfield, Cromford, Dearne and Dove, Erewash, Forth & Clyde, Grand Western, Grantham, Kennet & Avon, Lancaster, Manchester, Bolton & Bury, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Nottingham, Oxford (southern section), Pocklington, Ripon, Llangollen, Montgomery, Stratford-upon-Avon (southern section), Swansea and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals as well as the River Witham.

In response IWA advocate a National Waterway Conservancy to look after all our waterways and point out that it is cheaper to restore and use waterways than to eliminate them.

Restoration began in 1984 with the formation of Barnsley Canal Group.

In 2004 the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) is to contribute 6,000 towards a restoration feasibility study that the consultants Atkins have been appointed to carry out on the Barnsley and Dearne & Dove Canals. IWA has given a grant from national funds of 5,000 to Barnsley, Dearne & Dove Canals Trust for the study on behalf of Barnsley Canals Consortium. IWA's West Riding Branch is also supporting the appeal with further donations totalling 1,500 - bringing IWA's total contribution to 6,500.

The Barnsley Canals Consortium is a grouping of local authorities, The Inland Waterways Association, the Royston and Carlton Community Partnership, the Barnsley Dearne & Dove Canals Trust and other interested bodies.

Llangollen Canal

In 1948 the Rolts and the Grundys cruised together up the entire length of the Llangollen Canal.

1949 concerns were rasied about Llangollen Canal.

Concerns were expressed at the start of 1953 that the Docks & Inland Waterways Executive had plans to transfer canals that were not "required commercially" to local autorities or other bodies. These included some legally abandoned waterways such as the Cromford Canal, Grantham Canal and Llangollen Canal. In response to this the Association continued to advocate full use and development of the whole waterways system for the benefit of all types of user and for the establishment of a National Waterways Commission covering all navigations as well as a public enquiry into the best ways of developing them.

In March 1955 the Board of Survey reported and recommended the disposal of 771 miles of waterway including some canals like the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Barnsley Canal that had already been abandoned and closed to traffic. These "Group 3" waterways also included the Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Bridgwater and Taunton, Chesterfield, Cromford, Dearne and Dove, Erewash, Forth & Clyde, Grand Western, Grantham, Kennet & Avon, Lancaster, Manchester, Bolton & Bury, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Nottingham, Oxford (southern section), Pocklington, Ripon, Llangollen, Montgomery, Stratford-upon-Avon (southern section), Swansea and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals as well as the River Witham.

In response IWA advocate a National Waterway Conservancy to look after all our waterways and point out that it is cheaper to restore and use waterways than to eliminate them.

Rochdale Canal

In 1949 new threats of clousure of the Rochdale Canal (later in the year the threats to navigation were withdrawn from the Rochdale Canal Bill).

In 1951 there were new threats to the Rochdale Canal.

On the parliamentary front the 1952 Transport Bill and the Rochdale Canal Bill claimed much attention.

1959 bought a new threat to the canal as can be seen from this extract from IWA Bulletin 59 published in July.

Though still much better maintained than the Ashton Canal (between 1948 and 1953, 12 new lock gates were installed at the 9 locks), it is believed that the navigation authority, the Rochdale Canal Company, are now trying systematically to discourage traffic with a view to abandoning the waterway; being, no doubt, therein encouraged by the Manchester Corporation. A toll of 15/is being charged for the distance of 1¼: miles; the movement of traffic is prohibited on Saturdays and Sundays; and, worst of all, notice of 48 hours is demanded before a passage is permitted. Needless to say, the legality of these conditions is extremely doubtful. And the Rochdale Canal Company in 1958 increased its dividend to 4½:%, against 4% the previous year, as well as carrying forward a larger sum.

The March issue of "The Nor-Wester", organ of our North-Western Branch, states: "The matter will not be allowed to rest in its present unsatisfactory state".

Nor is anything very edifying to be said about the rest of the Rochdale Canal, abandoned a few years ago, though one of the biggest navigations in England. Our Member, Mr. R. G. R. Calvert of Oxhey, writes:- "I walked some time ago from Castleton to Failsworth. "Several locks have had the top gates replaced by a concrete wall; but these walls do not appear to have been built into the lock walls. All locks from the Basin at Manchester upwards, have had the lower gates removed; and those which retain the upper gates, have had the beams of these upper gates removed. The lower gates and the beams of the upper gates have been dropped into the lock chambers. Nothing but deliberate and wilful destruc tion.

Part of the Basin at Manchester has been filled in and is used as a park for lorries. There is a lifting bridge of the Dutch type at Middleton. It would be a tragedy if it were replaced by a fixed structure at present road level, as it would go far to finish off all possibility of re-opening the waterway.

Neither the weed nor the water position at present appears to be serious, but they could easily become so. Surface water draining into the Canal at one place has caused silt right across, and the available channel between the weeds growing from both banks, is narrowing.

There is a power station between Middleton and Failsworth. New service lines and bridges have all been erected at the proper height for navigation.

The whole Canal is a real oasis, just where an oasis is needed. Wild flowers and elderberries have covered up broken land, and the destruction of the locks leads one to the conclusion that only man is vile. The way the Canal climbs up and up over the hills is quite thrilling. About a mile from Middleton, I met a cowman bringing the cows in for milking. The Rochdale Canal has been far too much associated with dirt, filth, tripe works, and the rest. One thing at least we might try to do as an Association: which is to kill this impression. Canoeists should be encouraged to use the Canal. I need not enlarge on the commercial possibilities. It would seem to fit the bill exactly as an extension of the docks, especially in that it is a barge Canal."

The many who will wish to investigate further will be encouraged to learn that the entire towpath of the Rochdale Canal has been declared a public footpath.

The 1964 Bill for the Rochdale Canal presented the prospect of closing the Rochdale nine locks and thus destroying the route that was to become known as the Cheshire Ring.

In 1973 with the Kennet & Avon Canal still not restored after more than 10 years some IWA members were now suggesting that the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and Rochdale Canal should be considered next for restoration. Others said that this was too ambitious, an argument history would refute some thirty years later.

The Rochdale Canal Society opened the restored section of canal between Todmorden and Hebden Bridge in 1983.

The 1986 proposed route for the M66 motorway threatened to make the restoration of the Rochdale Canal impossible.

The battle for future navigation on the Rochdale Canal was won in 1988 when it was announced that the M66 motorway would be built to allow navigation when the canal was restored.

The 1988 IWA National Boat Rally and Carnival was held at Castlefield at the junction of the Bridgewater Canal and the Rochdale Canal in the centre of Manchester.

In 1990 locks from Todmorden up to the Summit of the Rochdale Canal were officially reopened making almost half the canal navigable although still separated from the rest of the system by the obstuction at Tuel Lane.

The canal received a 602,000 Derelict Land Grant from the Department of the Environment in 1993 to reconstruct part of the canal near Oldham.

In 1996 the Rochdale Canal was reconnected with the waterways system by the opening of the new Tuel Lane Lock.

The whole of the Rochdale Canal was reopened on 1 July 2002.

Swansea Canal

In 1949 the Swansea and Monmouthshire canals were under threat of abandonment. IWA member Mr Ian L Wright of 141 Whitchuch Road , Cardiff, and an early supporter of all the South Wales canals, made a voyage of nearly all the canal and prepared a detailed report.

In March 1955 the Board of Survey reported and recommended the disposal of 771 miles of waterway including some canals like the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Barnsley Canal that had already been abandoned and closed to traffic. These "Group 3" waterways also included the Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Bridgwater and Taunton, Chesterfield, Cromford, Dearne and Dove, Erewash, Forth & Clyde, Grand Western, Grantham, Kennet & Avon, Lancaster, Manchester, Bolton & Bury, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Nottingham, Oxford (southern section), Pocklington, Ripon, Llangollen, Montgomery, Stratford-upon-Avon (southern section), Swansea and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals as well as the River Witham.

In response IWA advocate a National Waterway Conservancy to look after all our waterways and point out that it is cheaper to restore and use waterways than to eliminate them.

Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal (Monmouthshire and Brecon & Abergavenny canals)

In 1949 the Swansea and Monmouthshire canals were under threat of abandonment.

In 1951 better news came from the Brecon & Abergavenny Canal where local authorities were considering taking over responsibilities for maintaining the waterway.

A Rally at Brecon was organised in 1952 by IWA member Ian L Wright to promote the canal. Only a few canoes managed to arrive by water but the land based activities were well attended.

Concerns were expressed at the start of 1953 that the Docks & Inland Waterways Executive had plans to transfer canals that were not "required commercially" to local autorities or other bodies. These included some legally abandoned waterways such as the Cromford Canal, Grantham Canal and Llangollen Canal. Other canals included in the list were the Ashton Canal, Peak Forest Canal, Lancaster Canal, Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and the southern section of the Oxford Canal. In response to this the Association continued to advocate full use and development of the whole waterways system for the benefit of all types of user and for the establishment of a National Waterways Commission covering all navigations as well as a public enquiry into the best ways of developing them.

In March 1955 the Board of Survey reported and recommended the disposal of 771 miles of waterway including some canals like the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Barnsley Canal that had already been abandoned and closed to traffic. These "Group 3" waterways also included the Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Bridgwater and Taunton, Chesterfield, Cromford, Dearne and Dove, Erewash, Forth & Clyde, Grand Western, Grantham, Kennet & Avon, Lancaster, Manchester, Bolton & Bury, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Nottingham, Oxford (southern section), Pocklington, Ripon, Llangollen, Montgomery, Stratford-upon-Avon (southern section), Swansea and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals as well as the River Witham.

In response IWA advocate a National Waterway Conservancy to look after all our waterways and point out that it is cheaper to restore and use waterways than to eliminate them.

The official reopening of the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal (previously called the Brecon Abergavenny Canal) from Pontypool to Brecon took place on 16 October 1970.

In 1984 the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canal Trust was founded.

One of the two Inland Waterways Association National Trailboat Festivals that were held in 2000 was at Monmouth on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.

The 2004 National Trailboat Rally was held at Newport on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.

Forth & Clyde Canal

In 1949 concern about the future of the Forth & Clyde Canal was raised as the Fallkirk Locks had all been filled-in and regional planners had recommended closing the whole waterway.

The prospect of the closure of the Forth & Clyde Canal and the southern section of the Oxford Canal occupy the minds of IWA Members in 1954.

In March 1955 the Board of Survey reported and recommended the disposal of 771 miles of waterway including some canals like the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Barnsley Canal that had already been abandoned and closed to traffic. These "Group 3" waterways also included the Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Bridgwater and Taunton, Chesterfield, Cromford, Dearne and Dove, Erewash, Forth & Clyde, Grand Western, Grantham, Kennet & Avon, Lancaster, Manchester, Bolton & Bury, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Nottingham, Oxford (southern section), Pocklington, Ripon, Llangollen, Montgomery, Stratford-upon-Avon (southern section), Swansea and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals as well as the River Witham.

In response IWA advocate a National Waterway Conservancy to look after all our waterways and point out that it is cheaper to restore and use waterways than to eliminate them.

The Bowes Report was published in 1958 and lifted the threat of clousure from most of the canals in Group 3 of Lord Rusholme's Board of Survey. The most prominent exceptions to this being the Forth & Clyde Canal and the Kennet & Avon Canal.

The intention to abandon navigation on the Forth & Clyde Canal was announced in 1961.

The Forth and Clyde Canal Society was formed in 1980 to campaign for the canal's restoration.

The 1990 National Trailboat Rally was held at Falkirk on the Forth & Clyde Canal.

The Millenium Commission anounced a grant of up to 32 million in 1997 for Scotlands Millenium Link to restore the Forth & Clyde and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals.

The Forth & Clyde Canal was reopened on the 26 May 2001.

On 21 May 2002 the Queen opened the Falkirk Wheel linking the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Edinburgh & Glasgow Union Canal.


Bridgwater & Taunton Canal

In 1949 the poor state of the Bridgwater and Taunton Canal was the subject of complaint. The following year IWA again pressed for the removal of restrictions on the locks and of the temporary low bridges that had been placed across the canal during the war.

In March 1955 the Board of Survey reported and recommended the disposal of 771 miles of waterway including some canals like the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Barnsley Canal that had already been abandoned and closed to traffic. These "Group 3" waterways also included the Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Bridgwater and Taunton, Chesterfield, Cromford, Dearne and Dove, Erewash, Forth & Clyde, Grand Western, Grantham, Kennet & Avon, Lancaster, Manchester, Bolton & Bury, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Nottingham, Oxford (southern section), Pocklington, Ripon, Llangollen, Montgomery, Stratford-upon-Avon (southern section), Swansea and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals as well as the River Witham.

In response IWA advocate a National Waterway Conservancy to look after all our waterways and point out that it is cheaper to restore and use waterways than to eliminate them.

The Bridgwater and Taunton Canal was officially reopened in 1994 after 20 years of restoration work.

Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal

In 1948 IWA Bulletin 16 stated that IWA had been officially informed the canal had been transferred from the Control of the Railway Executive to the control of the Docks & Inland Waterways Executive.

In 1949 concerns were rasied were the Manchester, Bolton & Bury.

In March 1955 the Board of Survey reported and recommended the disposal of 771 miles of waterway including some canals like the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Barnsley Canal that had already been abandoned and closed to traffic. These "Group 3" waterways also included the Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Bridgwater and Taunton, Chesterfield, Cromford, Dearne and Dove, Erewash, Forth & Clyde, Grand Western, Grantham, Kennet & Avon, Lancaster, Manchester, Bolton & Bury, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Nottingham, Oxford (southern section), Pocklington, Ripon, Llangollen, Montgomery, Stratford-upon-Avon (southern section), Swansea and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals as well as the River Witham.

In response IWA advocate a National Waterway Conservancy to look after all our waterways and point out that it is cheaper to restore and use waterways than to eliminate them.

In 1987 the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal Society was formed and cleared some parts of the canal, and towpath.

In 1995 the society changed from being an informal society to become a limited company and a registered charity.

In 1996 the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal Society, the three local authorities and British Waterways, worked to produce a detailed application to the Millennium Commission for funding to restore part of the canal. The bid was not successful but a lot of the detailed work carried out for the bid will be of use in the future.

In 2001 a proposal to build a new railway threatened to obstruct the canal near water level. After objections from the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society, British Waterways and the Inland Waterways Association, Railtrack were persuaded to compromise. The relevant road authority also compromised and agreement was reached to reduce everybody's headroom marginally to allow restoration.

At the same time there was a threat from the Manchester and Salford Inner Relief Road; the final phase of construction of which had already commenced over and alongside the River Irwell. It was to be embanked across the site of the original entrance locks to the canal from the River Irwell (seen here in 1962 before demolition). With design work nearing completion there were worries that the Government's recent promises about non-obstruction of canals "that stood a reasonable chance of restoration", had come too late. The canal society and IWA were therefore absolutely delighted with the recent announcement that a 300,000 Government funding package will finance a tunnel to allow the canal to be rebuilt under the new road without disturbing it.

Photo by Waterway Images

On 21st October 2005 work started on the ground on the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal with a first phase 4.5m to cover the first five hundred meters.

Grantham Canal

In 1949 concerns were rasied over the Grantham Canal when one of the most unobtrusive abandonments was brought to light by IWA Council Member Mr.L.A.Edwards in the course of his work in revising INLAND WATERWAYS OF GREAT BRTIAIN. The Docks & Inland Waterways Executive wrote to Mr. Edwards as follows: "The Grantham Canal was closed for navigation purposes in accordance with the provisions of Section 38 of the London & North Eastern Railway (General Powers) Act 1936. The locks generally are inoperable and part of the Canal has been culverted." It was not thought that this abandonment was generally known even among students of canals. An inspection by Robert Aickman confirmed that the waterway was in an advanced state of unnavigability and that it was of peculiar beauty.

Concerns were expressed at the start of 1953 that the Docks & Inland Waterways Executive had plans to transfer canals that were not "required commercially" to local autorities or other bodies. These included some legally abandoned waterways such as the Cromford Canal, Grantham Canal and Llangollen Canal. Other canals included in the list were the Ashton Canal, Peak Forest Canal, Lancaster Canal, Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and the southern section of the Oxford Canal. In response to this the Association continued to advocate full use and development of the whole waterways system for the benefit of all types of user and for the establishment of a National Waterways Commission covering all navigations as well as a public enquiry into the best ways of developing them.

In March 1955 the Board of Survey reported and recommended the disposal of 771 miles of waterway including some canals like the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Barnsley Canal that had already been abandoned and closed to traffic. These "Group 3" waterways also included the Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Bridgwater and Taunton, Chesterfield, Cromford, Dearne and Dove, Erewash, Forth & Clyde, Grand Western, Grantham, Kennet & Avon, Lancaster, Manchester, Bolton & Bury, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Nottingham, Oxford (southern section), Pocklington, Ripon, Llangollen, Montgomery, Stratford-upon-Avon (southern section), Swansea and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals as well as the River Witham.

In response IWA advocate a National Waterway Conservancy to look after all our waterways and point out that it is cheaper to restore and use waterways than to eliminate them.

In September 1963, a number of letters appeared in the Nottingham press opposing the scheme to fill in a short length of the abandoned Grantham Canal, and calling for the reinstatement of the waterway. One correspondent said that the City Council's policy should be 'to preserve for all time a useful amenity for non-motorists to enjoy their leisure away from the danger and noise of the roads.' Another observed that 'we are slowly approaching the day when we shall be living in a concrete and tarmac jungle. I wonder how long it will be before they start building on the Nottingham side of the Trent Embankment, and turning the river into a smaller version of the Thames at its worst. It could happen.' Bulletin 69 commented "Very much worse than that could happen, and will if we do not fight: in London there is a very active group which advocates narrowing the Thames by building a wide motorway on each side of it; and exactly the same would be possible in Nottingham".

The Grantham Canal Society was founded in 1970.

In 1973 IWA and the Grantham Canal Society went from towpath clearing to a campaign for full restoration of the navigaion.

IWA National Rally held at Nottingham on the River Trent in 1974 and attracted over 600 boats. Drawing attention to the nearby Grantham Canal restoration was one of its objectives.

The National Trail Boat Festival was held in May 1994 on the Grantham Canal.

Grand Western Canal

In March 1955 the Board of Survey reported and recommended the disposal of 771 miles of waterway including some canals like the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and the Barnsley Canal that had already been abandoned and closed to traffic. These "Group 3" waterways also included the Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Bridgwater and Taunton, Chesterfield, Cromford, Dearne and Dove, Erewash, Forth & Clyde, Grand Western, Grantham, Kennet & Avon, Lancaster, Manchester, Bolton & Bury, Monmouthshire & Brecon, Nottingham, Oxford (southern section), Pocklington, Ripon, Llangollen, Montgomery, Stratford-upon-Avon (southern section), Swansea and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals as well as the River Witham.

In response IWA advocate a National Waterway Conservancy to look after all our waterways and point out that it is cheaper to restore and use waterways than to eliminate them.

This photo of the canal by R J M Sutherland appeared in IWA Buletin number 53 in February 1957.

The Grand Western Canal Preservation Committee was formed in 1966.


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