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News article created on 9 September 2016

Trust CEO digs deep for Leeds & Liverpool Canal bicentenary milepost project

Trust chief executive Richard Parry rolled up his sleeves and helped to install a new milepost on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal near Rishton this month to mark the half way point of both the canal and the bicentenary mile marker project.

Installing milepost at Rishton

2016 marks the 200 anniversary of the completion of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and we are marking the occasion with a major fundraising appeal to restore or replace missing mileposts along the waterway’s 127 mile route.

We are hoping the EveryMileCounts appeal will encourage dozens of local groups and individuals to adopt their local stretch of canal and its mile marker. We are looking for sponsors to donate up to £200 to restore each milepost and volunteer work parties to help restore damaged or corroded mile posts. 

The project is backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund, whose grant of £36,600 has supported the fabrication of 32 new mile posts and a programme of activities, heritage events and art workshops for local residents.

The missing mileposts were cast at a Liverpool foundry this summer and are now in the process of being installed. Richard took a few hours out of his busy schedule to travel to East Lancashire to help local staff Alice Kay, Emma Fielding, Sarah Knight and volunteer Sharon Demaline dig a deep hole to install a new milepost in Rishton, bearing new distance plates: “Liverpool 60 miles” and “Leeds 67 ¼ miles”.

He said: "Our local staff and volunteers are doing a tremendous job to restore missing mileposts along the route of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. We are very grateful to everyone who has contributed time or money to the project which will leave a lasting legacy long after the bicentenary year celebrations."

Brilliant public response

Alice Kay, project officer, added: "We have now installed half of the new mileposts, with about 16 posts still waiting to be placed in position. The response from the public and local groups has been brilliant. Volunteers have completed much of the necessary painting work and the project is on target to be completed before the end of the canal’s bicentenary year.”

A recent survey of the trans-pennine canal revealed that about a third of the original 127 mile posts are missing or severely damaged, 89 need re-painting and around 75 need new number plates fixing to them. 

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.

Any organisation or volunteer interested in getting involved in the bicentenary EveryMileCounts project, should contact Trust project officer Alice Kay, email: alice.kay@canalrivertrust.org.uk

More information about bicentenary events can be found at Leeds & Liverpool Canal Bicentenary