Opened in 1801 Finsley Gate quickly became the home of the main maintenance yard along the canal and a vital hub of industry and employment.
The wharf was a hive of activity with lots of small stone-built houses nearby and cotton and corn mills, foundries and forges, a timber yard, warehouses, inns, stables, and workshops.
This busy part of Burnley was once called ‘Turn Bridge’. Can you think why? The bridge you can see today connecting Finsley wharf to the other side of the towpath replaced a swing bridge in 1885, one of only two in Burnley. The swing bridge had a wooden deck and hand-rails and it pivoted on a turn-table set on one bank of the canal. Hence the name ‘Turn Bridge’. The bridge allowed easy access from Finsley Gate to Parliament Street and easier transportation of goods too big for the canal barges to handle.
An array of wildflowers grows along the towpath and encourages birds and insects to the area. You may smell meadowsweet on your travels, which smells like antiseptic when rubbed between fingers or self heal, a medicinal wildflower with stunning purple blossom.
Last date edited: 21 July 2015