On Saturday 4 July, visitors will be able to visit the working blacksmiths forge and wood work shop next to Dobson Lock in Apperley Bridge on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Canal & River Trust staff and volunteers will be demonstrating their carpentry and blacksmithing skills by making items such as box paddles for lock gates.
The team will also be demonstrating the techniques of using lime mortar, a traditional material used for building and repairing lock walls, and talking about the history of the canal at Apperley Bridge
The Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society will also have their historic barge ‘Kennet' moored up for visitors to get on board. The ‘Kennet' houses the Floating Interactive Museum - travelling the length of the canal, the ‘Kennet' is taking the history of the canal to local communities in the same way as cargoes in the industrial revolution enabled industry to develop these communities. Visitors will be able to see inside the cabin as well as learn from the interactive exhibition on board.
The warehouses at Apperley Bridge date from the early 1800s when they held merchandise that was transported along the 127 miles of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. Lock gates and swing bridges were also made in the warehouses, with an onsite blacksmith to make all metal work required. Lock gates for the 2,000 miles the charity cares for are now made at two workshops in Wakefield and Wolverhampton.
Bill Froggatt, heritage adviser at the Canal & River Trust, says: “The Canal & River Trust cares for a remarkable network of historic waterways which are still working just as they were designed to 200 years ago. Repairing and maintaining these waterways is a painstaking task which requires traditional materials and methods to be used to preserve this vital part of our industrial heritage. The open day on Saturday is a great opportunity to come along to see skilled blacksmiths work the forge, step aboard an old barge and watch modern tradesmen use traditional skills to make items that the canal still needs today.”
The open day will be held at Dobson Lock, Apperley Lane, Apperley Bridge, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD10 0PY between 10am and 4pm on Saturday 4th July. There is a small amount of parking on Apperley Lane.
Visitors should wear sturdy footwear.