News article created on 3 September 2018

Go behind the scenes at historic Finsley Gate Wharf

People are invited to take a closer look at the historic Finsley Gate Wharf site in Burnley to find out how it will be transformed into a community space and visitor attraction.

The Exbury Egg by Stephen Turner at Finsley Gate Wharf, Super Slow Way

The former boatyard will be open on Sunday 9 September as part of the Heritage Open Days programme. Visitors can find out about the site’s history and its future, and take part in a variety of activities hosted in partnership with Burnley-based arts programme Super Slow Way.

Highlights include:

  • ‘The Eggman’ artist Stephen Turner who lived and worked on the site with the Exbury Egg returns to talk to visitors about the site and its heritage
  • A ‘hard hat’ cinema with archive footage of the site’s history
  • Have a go at canoeing and fishing
  • Heritage skills workshops

The open day will run from 11am to 4pm at Finsley Gate Wharf, Burnley BB11 2HA. Refreshments and toilets are available on-site. Visitors should wear stout footwear.

Emma Fielding, north west project officer at Canal & River Trust, said: "Finsley Gate Wharf is an important place in Burnley’s history, and we’re looking forward to helping people uncover the industrial stories of the past. We’re delighted that the site is going to be transformed into a vibrant community and visitor space, helping more people discover why life is better by water."

Opened in 1801, Mile Wharf as it was known locally was an important industrial hub for the north west and one of the oldest wharves on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. The Grade II Listed buildings are set to be transformed into a destination offering boat trips and boat hire, a café and visitor accommodation, as well as a function room and learning area for local community and school groups.

Our vision for the site started to take shape three years ago, with a successful Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant for emergency repair work. Since then, the Trust has secured a further £2.2m from HLF’s Heritage Enterprise Programme, and planning permission was granted earlier this year by Burnley Council. Work is expected to start later this year and should take around 12 months to complete, allowing future tenants Finsley Gate Wharf Ltd to move in and start operating before the end of 2019.