The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) History

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Macclesfield 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.

The Macclesfield Canal Society was founded in 1984.

See also the Cheshire Ring.

Dearne & Dove Canal

In 1949 IWA raised the question of what had happened to the Dearne & Dove Canal? George Westall's standard work INLAND CRUISING remarks: "The scenery of the Dearne valley is gloriously beautiful, and the Canal provides a short cross-route between the two fine systems which it connects (the River Dun and the Barnsley Canal). INLAND CRUISING also described the Dearne & Dove as a very important "commercial navigation," In 1949 it seemed totally impossible for this important and beautiful waterway to be entered by either trading craft or pleasure boat; though it had certainly not been abandoned but it neither seemed usable. Was this legal? IWA thought that the Dearne & Dove could be readily restored. The dense population of the South Yorkshire coalfield, the steelworkers of Sheffield, could all have used a beautiful waterway, even if there was no demand to trade on it (which, closely linked as the waterway was with the busy main line of the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation was hard to believe).

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.

Nottingham Canal

In 1950 the Nottingham Corporation produced plans to drain the canal and turn it into a green walk. Their plan included the piping of the drainage flow with cascades at the locks and the retention of pools. IWA proposed that this and the adjoining Cromford should be retained as pleasure 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.

Pocklington 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.

Gardham Lock No 2 - June 1998In 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 1959 a proposal to fill the Pocklington Canal with sludge triggered a campaign to restore the canal to full use and the proposal was excluded from the current British Transport Commission Bill.

The Pocklington Canal Amenity Society was founded in 1969.

Ripon 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.

The restored Ripon basin photographed by Jim Shead in 1997In 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 final length of the Ripon Canal was reopened to Ripon Basin in 1996.

Montgomery 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.

The Shropshire Union Canal Society was founded in 1964 to promote all parts of the Shropshire Union system and particulaly the Montgomery Canal.

In 1973 support for the Montgomery Canal restoration came from the Prince of Wales Committee.

The much delayed restoration of the Montgomery Canal was started in 1978.

In 1979 restoration work continued on the Montgomery Canal.

The Montgomery Waterway Trust was formed in 1980 and and was visited by the Prince of Wales, whose Committee was to play a major part in the restoration of the Montgomery Canal.

The Top Lock at Frankton, on the Montgomery Canal, was restored and the top gate ceremonially hung by John Biffen, Secertary of State for Trade.

In September 1987 the first boat passed through the restored Frankton Locks on the Montgomery Canal, see photograph by Waterway Images.

IWA lauched an appeal in 1993 for the Ashton Nature Reserve on the Montgomery Canal which had to be built before the Ashton Locks could be reopened.

In 1995 another mile and a half of the Montgomery Canal was reopened below Frankton Locks.

The National Trailboat Festival was held near Welshpool in 1996 and another stretch of the canal was opened to the Queens Head.

Edinburgh & Glasgow Union Canal

In 1949 IWA Bulletin 18 reported:-

"The Union Canal runs without locks and, in the main, through attractive country from Edinburgh to Falkirk; where formerly it was connected with the Forth & Clyde Canal by a series of locks. It was designed primarily to bring coal from the coalfields around Glasgow to the industries and households of Edinburgh. There seems no good reason why it should not still be fulfilling this function, as well as providing pleasant pleasure boating for the citizens of the capital, of the large industrial town of Falkirk, and of the rest of the country. There is, however, a bad reason: the locks at Falkirk have been filled in. The Union Canal has become an isolated stretch of water, naturally quite unused. Naturally also, the filling in was done by a railway company, the Canal having been the property at the time of the former London & North Eastern Railway, with whose principal Scottish main line it was in direct competition.

"Our Member Mr.Doug1as G.Russell of Treetops, Dirleton Avenue, North Berwick, East Lothian, Assistant Secretary to The Scottish Tourist Board, has kindly undertaken on our behalf some research into this destructive episode. Mr.Russell writes: 'I have heard from the Town Clerk of Falklrk. He has consulted his records and finds that the work of filling in the locks connecting the Union Canal with the Forth & Clyde Canal was begun in 1933 and that Parliamentary sanction for the work was granted in accordance with Section 26 of the London & North Eastern Railway Confirmation Act 1930. I have not ascertained when the work was finished but local opinion gives approximately 2 years as having been occupied by it.'

"It is an astonishing story. Having regard to the magnitude alike of the destruction and of the expenditure in time and money required to encompass it, we consider it unequalled even in the odious annals of British canal history.

"But more is to come. Mr.Russell continues: 'I am given to understand that the 'need' for filling in the locks was actually pressed by the local authority. The Town Clerk now adds that the Union Canal has not been used at least at its Falkirk end for very many years and that it is now little more than an open ditch or sewer. His opinion is that the Canal ought to be filled in completely from end to end'. (Mr.Russell remarks that the Town Clerk is wrong even in stating that the Canal even in its hopelessly amputated condition has not been used at the Falkirk end for many years: one of the Town Clerk's own ratepayers is using it now, being the owner of a boat hiring station upon it.) Persons In whom all aesthetic capacity is not dead, might we1l take the view that the Union Canal is by far the most notable, almost the only, object of man-made beauty in the Burgh of Falkirk. The Canal runs along a high contour to the south of the town, has even now a charming and peaceful atmosphere, and offers entrancing views over the Firth of Forth."

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 Linlithgow Union Canal Society was founded in 1975 to promote and encourage the restoration and use of the Union Canal, particularly in the vicinity of Linlithgow.

The Queen at the opening of the Falkirk Wheel 21st May 2002.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.

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

Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal

In March 1955 the Board of Survey reported and recommended the disposal of 771 miles of waterway these were called "Group 3" waterways. "Group 2" was 994 miles of waterways that were to be retained but if traffic did not increase they were to be downgraded to Group 3. Even within this group it was recommended that either the Staffordshire & Worcestershire or the Worcester & Birmingham Canal should be abandoned as two routes between the Severn and the Midlands were not required.

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.

Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal Society was founded in 1959.

Left habitable in 1959 - right roof missing and derelict in 1960 In 1960 the neglect of Lock Cottages was raised in IWA Bulletin 61 (a subject that was raised many times before and continues to the present day) as an illustration of the problem photos showing Falling Sands Lock Cottage on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal in the years 1959 and 1960 were included.

In 1992 concerns were raised by the Litchfield & Hatherton Canals Trust over the Birmingham Relief Road which threatened to block the restoration of the Hatherton Branch of the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal.

Erewash 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.

On the Erewash Canal the restored Great Northern Basin at Langley Mill was opened in May 1973.

The following article was written by John Baylis and appeared in Waterways number 205 - August 2004. It is reproduced here by kind permission of the author. Photographs by Waterway Images

Padmore Moorings at Sandiacre

THE EREWASH Canal runs for nearly 12 miles between the River Trent near Long Eaton and Langley Mill and for the most part it follows the River Erewash, which forms the boundary between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The canal finally crosses the river as it moves into Nottinghamshire at the three-arched Shipley Aqueduct which, apart from locks, is the only major structure on the canal. This wide canal with 14 locks was surveyed by John Smith and designed by John Varley, received Parliamentary approval in 1777 and by 1779 it had been constructed at cost of £21,000; £2,000 under budget and ahead of time as well. Stanton Ironworks, still in full production on 11 May 1969

The canal was built largely to bring coal out of the Erewash Valley pits and down to the River Trent for onward trade to Nottingham and Leicester; it was profitable with £100 shares selling at £1300 and a maximum dividend of 78%. It initially served the many "bell" pits between Ilkeston and Langley Mill, with horse tramways bringing coal to waterside wharves at several points which are now rural areas. From Ilkeston downwards there were major iron works at Cotmanhay, Stanton and Trent Lock. Smelting continued at Stanton until the 1970s but iron pipes are still made and token loads were carried by narrow boat for the Devizes back-pumping scheme in 1995.
Erewash campaign cruising 11 May 1969. Robert Shopland, then IWA General Secretary, clears weed while John Liley tries to get the top gate open at Hallam Field Lock.
Erewash campaign cruising 11 May 1969. Resorting to bow hauling to get this shallow draught boat over the coal slurry filling the top pound.

Coal owners were the original proprietors of the canal and Robert Barber and Thomas Walker who later formed the Barber Walker Colliery Company were "commissionaires" of the canal sorting out problems and arguments with the various boat owners. They were also proprietors of the Cromford and Nottingham Canals, which joined the top end of the Erewash Canal in 1794. Others were Benjamin Outram and William Jessop who formed the Butterley Company and had extensive iron and coal interests further up the valley.

The Erewash, unlike the Cromford and Nottingham canals, was never taken over by the railways and remained profitable and independent until absorbed into the Grand Union in the 1930s. Coal mining subsidence, which closed the Cromford and Nottingham Canals, did not affect the Erewash Canal so badly. Some lock walls were raised and the surviving original brick arch bridges on lock tails make passage difficult for boats over 1Oft wide.

Swansong then future hopes Langley Bridge Lock (Lock 14 of the Cromford Canal) Mick Golds leads an ECP&DA work party fitting paddle gear 28 October 1972

The canal saw its swansong during the Second World War when iron and munitions were loaded from Stanton Ironworks and coal was still carried by boat from Shipley and Langley Mill; the latter continuing for a few years after the war. During the war running of the canal was taken over by the National Transport Committee and subsequently it was nation alised in 1947, unlike its neighbour the Derby Canal which joined at Sandiacre and ran to Swarkestone. Following the British Waterways Act of 1962 the canals were now on their own and had to justify their existence. One of the first things the BW Board did was to examine its assets and decide which was the least expensive way to deal with a run down and under used canal system.

In December 1965 their proposals were published as The Facts about the Waterways, in which it said that waterways with a profitable future were mainly river navigations; with a few canals having a future as water feeders. For many more the future looked bleak. The Erewash Canal was lucky in that water from Langley Mill was used to feed the iron furnaces at Stanton Ironworks but the locks were likely to be weired to save money.
Langley Bridge Lock (Lock 14 of the Cromford Canal) and the Nottingham Canalís Great Northern Basin. Excavation starts on 28 November 1971
Demonstrating its full potential dur ing the AWCC rally in May 2000.

It was at about this time that Russ Godwin, John Page (who died in January) and Tom Henshaw made trips about twice a year up to Langley Mill from Trent Lock. These three were members of the old IWA Midlands Branch and were members of Swarkestone Boat Club on the Trent & Mersey Canal. They had tried to keep the Derby Canal open but the owners wanted to sell it to Derby City Council who wanted to fill it in. A very short time after the sale this is exactly what happened, except for a short section which Russ Godwin actually bought.

This trio - along with Royston Torrington, the local IWA Council member - did not want the same thing to happen to the Erewash Canal when BW made proposals to reduce the canal to a water channel down to Tamworth Road, Long Eaton. This gave Derbyshire County Council the idea in 1967 that parts of the canal could be culverted for road improvements. At this point Jim Stevenson (an angler) and other Long Eaton locals joined with the IWA Midlands Branch and held a public meeting in Long Eaton where it was decided that they form the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association (ECP&DA). It has been suggested that the "& Development" bit came from Bessie Bunker of the Inland Waterways Protection Society. The combined effect of public opinion, keen volunteers and support from local authori ties was to change the County Councilís mind about the new road and the canal was saved at least for the time being.

Legislation gives respite Sandiacre Lock and the cottages, bought and restored by ECP&DA as its headquarters.

Then in 1968 Barbara Castleís Transport Act gave some possible respite to the Erewash in that the section to Tamworth Road was retained as Cruiseway and from there to Langley Mill as a Remainder waterway - to be dealt with "in the cheapest way consistent with safety". In November 1968 the Inland Waterways Amenity Advisory Council visited the canal and reported, "that the Erewash Canal cruising waterway be extended from Tamworth Road Bridge, Long Eaton to Langley Mill and that a secure mooring site be established near the Langley Mill terminal." This became part of the Lord Chancellorís Guarantee which also ensured the keeping of much of the Remainder section of Birmingham Canal Navigations.
Gallows Inn Lock, Ilkeston, in May 1979, when the bicentenary of the canal was celebrated here. The canalside pub now has the less menacing name of the Lock, Stock & Barrel.
The elegant mill build ings in Long Eaton, seen in June 1979, recall the skills of the canalís industrial past.

Sir Frank Price, the then Chairman of BW, visited the canal in 1968 and was impressed by its potential as an amenity waterway and organized a meeting with local authorities to discuss additional funding. Restoration of the whole length of the canal was estimated to be about £45,000 and from 1969 Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire County Councils agreed a subsidy of £5,000 a year for nine years: effectively this replaced all the sub-standard lock gates on the canal and covered some dredging work.

At about this time BW wanted to demolish the Sandiacre Lock cottages and toll house and the ECP&DA approached them with a view to leasing the cottages as its headquarters to save what were the last remaining lock cottages on the canal, BW local management were totally opposed to the suggestion until the personal intervention of Sir Frank changed their minds. But problems were not over and difficulties with demolition orders and planning consents bit into the original 12-month lease; how ever the details were eventually sorted out.
The Steamboat Inn and the Lock House tea rooms, which with the Navigation Inn opposite, makes Trent Lock such a popular visitor venue.
The Steamboat Inn and the Lock House tea rooms, which with the Navigation Inn opposite, makes Trent Lock such a popular visitor venue.
Anti-vandal locks are a precaution on some paddle gear

From 1968 members of IWA and the newly formed ECP&DA held work parties on the canal to clear rubbish from pounds and locks. Mick and Carole Golds offered to help at one of these and Mick became the Working Party Organiser, a post he still holds. In order to get more boats on to the canal, cruises were organized up to Langley Mill and an annual boat rally was held at initially at Gallows Inn, then Ilkeston, followed by Cotmanhay and other locations. Surviving the threat of the take-over of BW waterways by the new Regional Water Authorities in 1974 - the of subject a successful IWA national campaign - the Erewash Canal finally became relatively safe under the British Waterways Act 1983 when it was transferred from Remainder to Cruiseway status.

Revival at Langley Mill

The ECP&DA took IWAACís suggestion seriously and in 1971 made plans for a terminus at Langley Mill. The old Erewash Basins below Derby Road bridge had been filled in 1963 by BW and the Erewash Canal feed piped under what became Vic Hallamís car park. However, the Derby Road Bridge was still intact and beyond it lay the derelict Lock 14 of the Cromford Canal and the Great Northern Basin of the Nottingham Canal. Plans were made to dig out the Great Northern Basin which was full to coping level with silt and weed, re-activate the seized up swing bridge and restore Langley Bridge Lock. Mick Golds was a bricklayer by trade, organising the work and getting donations of plant, transport and materials; the total cost coming to about £1500.

The old bottom gates were found in the lock and re-planked, with the top gates being acquired from Lock 17 on the derelict Wollaton flight of the Nottingham Canal; one gate having been partly burnt by vandals was re-built. BW

allowed the lock to be used provided the ECP&DA lodged £700 in a bond to repair the gates should they collapse. The Basin was opened on Spring Bank Holiday weekend 1973 and since then nearly all major rallies have been held at Langley Mill.

The ECP&DA were in an unusual position in that they leased Langley Bridge Lock and the Basin from British Waterways - as it was part of an abandoned Cromford Canal - but the ECP&DA were responsible for all the maintenance; which was carried out by volunteers under Mickís leadership. The top gates required further repair in 1983 as the 1973 repair used sub-standard timber, these gates are still in use and probably the oldest gates on the BW system. Following a serious leak on one of the tail gates in 1984, new gates were built and fitted with money from a Shell Award in 1986.

Previously in 1985 a Shell Award contributed £1000 to rebuilding the swing bridge across what was the stop lock on to the Nottingham Canal. In 1990 local children were sitting on a top gate balance beam bouncing it when the beam broke at the quoin post, as a piece of timber to replace it would have been very expensive and difficult to work the volunteers built a hollow steel beam to match the one on the other side; BW then used this beam as the prototype for the current model hollow steel balance beams.

Visitors to Langley Mill come up the Erewash Canal with plenty of water flowing over the gates but are told to conserve water at Langley Bridge Lock. This is because the Cromford Canal is filled in above Langley Mill and this section depends on the Nottingham Canal feeder reservoir overflow at Moorgreen. It has meant that considerable dredging has had to be done to keep the feeder channel clear and in 1995 a pump was installed in the old sewage pump house to back-pump water from the Erewash Canal round Langley Bridge Lock. This splendid little Victorian building was going to be demolished by Severn Trent Water and the ECP&DA now have it on a 99 year lease and have cleaned and re-painted the interior. Sandiacre Lock Cottage has also been extensively restored and in 1980-1 it was completely re-roofed and the interior re-lined with plaster board. Work continues here, with maintenance often needed to repair vandalism damage.

On up the Cromford

The ECP&DA has always looked on the Cromford Canal north of Langley Mill as a logi cal extension of the Erewash Canal. Following the opening in 1973 BW would not allow any further restoration unless a commercial rent was paid. Some of the volunteers, wearing a different hat, therefore formed the Langley Mill Boat Co Ltd, excavated more of the filled-in canal, built a dry dock and provided moorings. Since then the company has made two further extensions. At present the ECP&DA is building a new concrete wall on the next section as part of an opencast coal development to restore the next 250 yards of canal.

In 1975 the ECP&DA fought, along with IWA, to keep Ironville Locks on the Cromford Canal - some 3 miles north - intact; when BW wanted to use them as the emergency weir stream for Codnor Park Reservoir. Although the canal through Ironville was greatly improved BW, Severn Trent Water and Derbyshire County Council found many reasons for not restoring it to navigation and BW went ahead with the overflow scheme in 1982. In 1996 the Groundwork Trust and IWA organized an engi neering study by Binnie & Partners who revealed that restoration was still possible to Ironville with less obstacles than in 1976; how ever, the restoration funding package fell through. Then in 2002 the ECP&DA, IWA and local enthusiasts formed the Friends of the Cromford Canal who are looking towards restoring the whole canal so one day there will be even more to see.

But the Erewash Canal is well worth a visit in its own right. It is no longer so industrial, there

is usually plenty of water and the weed of 30 years ago is now never seen. So donít be put off by scare stories. Nearly every boater who reaches Langley Mill expresses surprise how interesting the canal is and the ECP&DA have plaques for sale to commemorate your visit and support its work.

There is always a welcome at Langley Mill, the safe moorings requested by IWAAC are well used by visitors, and boaters come to use the dry dock and other facilities. The Erewash Canal and Great Northern Basin is a tribute to the foresight of the founders of the ECP&DA 35 years ago and the continuing efforts of their successors in keeping their vision alive Rural beauty at Shipley Lock


Oxford 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. 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 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.

Also in 1955 the Midlands Branch organised a Rally at Banbury.

In 1982 British Waterways undertook several major engineering projects including work on Boddington Reservior (see photograph) on the Oxford Canal.

The 1984 IWA National Rally at Hawkesbury on the junction of the Oxford and Coventry canals had a record entry of 720 boats of which 661 actually attended.

After 3 years the 1987 IWA National Rally returned to Hawkesbury on the junction of the Oxford and Coventry canals. It attracted around 50,000 people and 530 boats.

A National Heritage Lottery Grant of £2.2 million was awarded in 1998 towards the cost of a waterways museum at Banbury which was to incorporate Tooley's Boatyard. Exceptionally heavy rain at Easter caused floods on the southern part of the canal.

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