Thanks to funding secured from the European regional development fund for Rural Development, Europe investing in rural areas, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund we've been able undergo this extensive work on the wharf.
For the last 18 months, the derelict stone buildings at Finsley Gate Wharf, on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, have undergone a miraculous transformation into a new community heritage and learning hub, café bar, restaurant, function room, guest house and garden.
The complex also includes a working forge which will be firing up for regular demonstrations, thanks to two local blacksmiths. Residents and visitors alike will be able to enjoy a wide variety of activities from yoga, paddleboarding and canoeing sessions to craft classes, school visits, heritage tours, light refreshments and fine dining.
History of Finsley Gate
Opened in 1801, Finsley Gate was an important regional boating centre in the 19th century, fuelling the Industrial Revolution. Known locally as Mile Wharf, it is located on a sharp bend next to Burnley's famous one-mile-long embankment across the Calder Valley, one of Britain's Seven Wonders of the Waterways.
Funded by grants from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the European Regional Development Fund, and supported by Burnley Borough Council and the new site management company Finsley Gate Wharf Ltd, the restored complex is set to bring major economic and cultural benefits to the town, just as the arrival of the canal did over 200 years ago.
In the 1880s, Burnley was the largest cotton-producing town in the world and by the turn of the century it boasted more than 100,000 looms, with 90% of the town's population employed in the industry. This thriving economy was supported by the canal which brought cotton from America, coal from the nearby pits, water to power the steam engines and a route to world trade.
By the mid-20th Century, the majority of the cotton mills had closed and commercial traffic on the canal had declined. The Finsley Gate site continued to be used as an operational office and yard for the canal, but was closed in 1995 and has remained empty ever since.