Time for a facelift: Salford council receives £5.5million to renovate historic Bridgewater Canal

By Tim Hyde

After more than 250 years Britain’s first ever commercial canal is set for a facelift with more than £5.5million of major surgery in the pipeline.

The historic Bridgewater Canal is set for another revolution after Salford City Council was awarded £3.6million of funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Salford Council has also received funding from private and public sources which will help restore the canal to its former glory.

Deputy City Mayor David Lancaster said:  “This is wonderful news. We’re looking forward to revealing the historic Barton Aqueduct and people exploring the renovated Worsley Delph.

“There will be new paths, events and even a new playground in Dukes Drive Country Park for children to enjoy.

“We’ll also build on the fantastic work done by our volunteers who have spent over 2,300 hours planting trees, clearing pathways and building new benches.”

The grant, confirmed today, will help regenerate nearly five miles of canal between Boothstown and Barton.

The physical work is expected to start next year and is scheduled to be completed in 2016.

More than 270,000 visitors enjoy the 65km of canal each year and the sight is recognised by UNESCO as an area of historical importance.

The planned regeneration is expected to add an extra £2million to the city’s economy each year.  

After the work has been completed sightseers will be able to view Barton Aqueduct in all its glory and the structure will be lit for the first time.

Part of the funding will also finance work to transform the Worsley Delph, where coal barges emerged from the Duke of Bridgewater’s mines.

After opening in 1761 the canal became the strategic link between the north and south canal network stretching from Runcorn to Leigh.

Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund North West, Sara Hilton, said: “The Bridgewater Canal is of immense local and international importance due to its pivotal role at the start of the industrial revolution.

“Today’s HLF grant will fund extensive restoration plans, including conserving and revealing the canals heritage features, including Worsley Delph and Barton Aqueduct, and vastly improve the surrounding paths and walking routes for better public access.

“We’re particularly delighted that the local community, who have been a key part of the project so far, will be heavily involved through an exciting range of volunteering and learning activities.”

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