Thirty new heritage mileposts have been re-cast in iron to mark the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Bicentenary - part of our EveryMileCounts project.
We're marking the 200th anniversary with a major fundraising appeal to restore or replace missing mileposts along the waterway’s 127 mile route.
We hope the appeal will encourage dozens of groups and individuals to adopt their local stretch of canal and its mile marker. We're looking for sponsors to donate up to £200 to restore each mile marker and volunteer work parties to help repair damaged or corroded mile posts.
After a comprehensive survey of the entire length, it was identified that 30 posts needed replacing with brand new posts. Merseyside Castings in Knowsley, Liverpool, has been awarded the contract to create the new mileposts and also 109 missing individual mileage plates.
The family firm, run by George Harris and his two sons Paul and David, is the only foundry in Merseyside still producing cast iron products. They have made new moulds for the mileposts and mileage plates using original Leeds & Liverpool Canal patterns.
The project is backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, whose grant of £36,600 has supported the appointment of a project officer, the fabrication of new mileposts and a programme of activities, heritage events and art workshops for local residents.
Alice Kay, project officer with the Canal & River Trust, said: “It’s wonderful to see the new mileposts being recreated using the same manufacturing processes that would have been employed 130 years ago. This heritage project will leave a lasting legacy long after the end of the bicentenary celebrations.
“We have had a great response to our appeal on both sides of the Pennines. We are very excited to work with local communities who want to be involved with refurbishing or replacing mile markers, and the half and quarter mile markers which need re-painting. That’s over 500 posts which need restoration.
“This is a massive challenge so we are still very keen to hear from volunteer groups or sponsors who would like to make donations.”
Although the canal is 200 years old, the original cast iron mile markers date back to the 1890s. They were installed as a response to legislation introduced to regulate canal freight tolls - the Railway and Canal Rates, Tolls and Charges Order of 1893. This prompted the whole of the canal to be re-surveyed and new mileposts, along with half and quarter mileposts, installed along the towpaths.
If you're interested in getting involved in the bicentenary EveryMileCounts project, please contact our project officer Alice Kay at firstname.lastname@example.org.