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News article created on 9 July 2015

Burnley students create plaques showing their canal's history

We've been working with students from the University Technical College (UTC) Lancashire in Burnley to create six interpretive cast iron plaques recalling the history of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the textile industry in the town.

The UTC Lancashire is based in Victoria Mill, a former spinning mill at the centre of the Weavers’ Triangle, the modern name for an area astride the Leeds & Liverpool Canal that was once at the heart of Burnley’s textile industry.

The UTC Lancashire opened in 2013 and provides high quality technical education for 14 – 19 year old specialising in Engineering and Construction. The plaques have been installed on Trafalgar Road, Burnley alongside the college and will act as a permanent reminder to students and visitors of the history of the area.

All-round education

The project was part of the College’s enrichment activities, so that students experience a wide range of activities on top of their academic and technical projects to ensure they enjoy a good all round education.

Eliza Botham from the Canal & River Trust led a series of workshops with the students who also visited the Weavers’ Triangle Visitor Centre to help them come up with their themes which cover ‘Coal and the Canal’, ‘Steam Power’ and ‘Spinning Mills’.

Eliza said: “The plaques echo our beliefs that by finding out about the people that lived and worked in the area, we can give local people and visitors an experience that they can relate to and better understand.”

Craig Vickers, Team Leader – Learning Services at UTC Lancashire, said: “It’s been fantastic working with the Canal & River Trust. The heritage project has enabled the first ever year group which has attended the UTC Lancashire, to gain an understanding of the fascinating history of the building they now work in.

“As an engineering and construction college, it was a great project to engage the learners, who were able to apply their design and creative skills to produce these unique plaques.”

Callum Crossdale, a Year 11 student studying engineering who took part in the project, said: “It has been really good to be able to contribute something to the Weavers’ Triangle Development. I’m hoping to be a CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinist, which is all about precise computer designs and manufacture, so it was interesting to learn more about traditional techniques for casting iron and then see our designs be actually produced and displayed. People will be able to see our plaques, displayed on the railings, as they walk past the college.”