The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) History

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In July British Waterways supported the plan for a Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway.

The photograph by Waterway Images shows the new basin at Over on the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal which was opened in September by Prunella Scales and Timothy West. Much of the work was done by the IWA Waterway Recovery Group (WRG).

Two Inland Waterways Association National Trailboat Festivals were held; one at Monmouth on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and the other at Moria on the Ashby Canal. IWA National Festival was held at Waltham Abbey on the River Lee. IWA membership was 16,739.


The Litchfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust launched an appeal for 200,000 towards the cost of building navigable culverts in the new Birmingham Relief Road (M6 Toll). Work was progressing on the 700m restored section of the Ashby Canal at Moria.

The use of towpaths was severely restricted from 28 February due to Foot & Mouth disease spreading across the country. Nearly all the restrictions were lifted by the end of May.

Two major canal restorations were completed when the Huddersfield Narrow Canal reopened on 1 May (see photograph of boats leaving Standendge Tunnel) and the Forth & Clyde Canal on the 26 May.

IWA National Waterways Festival was held at Milton Keynes on the Grand Union Main Line and attracted 25,000 visitors, 347 boats and 320 caravans.


The photograph shows the Anderton Boat Lift which was reopened on 26 March restoring the direct link between the River Weaver and the Trent & Mersey Canal. On 21 May the Queen opened the Falkirk Wheel linking the Forth & Clyde Canal to the Edinburgh & Glasgow Union Canal.

The whole of the Rochdale Canal was reopened on 1 July and on the 11 July the Ribble Link was opened giving the Lancaster Canal a connection by water to the rest of the system for the first time.

In November the post of IWA Chairman passed from Richard Drake to John Fletcher.

The Inland Waterways Association National Festival was held at Huddersfield on the Broad Canal. A lower than usual attendance of boats (191) reflected the size restrictions of the canal. The National Trailboat Festival was held at Tapton Lock on the Chesterfield Canal. IWA membership was 17,544.


In February the first meeting of the St. Helens Canal Steering Group took place to pursue the restoration of the St. Helens Canal (Sankey Brook Navigation) and to build a new link from it to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

A Bid was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant towards the first phase of restoration of the Cotswold Canals.

The National Trailboat Festival was held at Sunbury on the River Stour. The Inland Waterways Association National Festival (shown in the photograph) was held on the River Thames at Beale Park, near Pangbourne. It was visited by 32,000 people, 567 boats and 497 caravans and camping units.


The Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust launched a ten-year fundraising and development strategy for the Derby Canal with support from local and national organisations.

IWA supported the Waterways Trust Campaign for government funding of the three Waterways Museums.

The National Trailboat Rally was held at Newport on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal. The Inland Waterways Association National Festival was held at Burton on Trent on the Trent & Mersey Canal and even with some wet days attracted 24,000 visitors.


Bugsworth Basin on the Peak Forest Canal was reopened at Easter after many years of problems with water leakage.

The IWA National Trailboat Rally was held on the Chesterfield Canal and the National Festival at Preson Brook on the Bridgewater Canal where the restored Shroppie Fly boat Saturn was one of the hundreds of boats attending.

Copyright The Inland Waterways Association 2004 Notices
The Inland Waterways Association Reg. Office: 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Road, Rickmansworth, WD3 1LT 
A non-profit distributing company limited by guarantee. Registered in England no 612245. Registered as a charity No 212342