Borough canal lands special birthday prize

Philip Isgar, Manchester Chair of the Institution Of Civil Engineers and Waterway Manager Chantelle Seaborn

Philip Isgar, Manchester Chair of the Institution Of Civil Engineers and Waterway Manager Chantelle Seaborn

The waterway that has been part of Wigan’s lifeblood for generations has been given a 200th anniversary honour.

The historic Leeds Liverpool Canal has landed a special award for civil engineering heritage which was presented to representatives of the Canal and River Trust at Wigan Pier by The Institution of Civil Engineers.

View of the canal

View of the canal

The pier was chosen as it marks the start of the famous Wigan Flight of 21 locks, one of the canal’s most important features.

The institution, which represents almost 90,000 civil engineers in the UK and worldwide, selected the canal to receive a North West Civil Engineering Heritage Award to help mark the bi-centenary of the 127-mile canal which was completed in 1816.

The institution’s regional director Darrell Matthews said: “Our canals played a vital role in making Britain a major industrial power, with the world’s first industrial revolution starting right here in Lancashire. The canal as a whole is a fantastic feat of civil engineering, and it was a hugely important infrastructure development which helped shape the future of Wigan and of Northern England – just as the recently-announced HS2, stopping at Wigan, will help regenerate Wigan and connect up the Northern Powerhouse.”

The trust, a charity which cares for 2,000 miles of canals in England and Wales and has an office in Wigan, received the award as the custodian of the canal, which is England’s longest single man-made waterway.

Trust waterway manager Chantelle Seaborn said: “The Wigan Flight itself is a remarkable feat of waterway engineering, raising water where it has no natural right to go. Today the flight is enjoyed by walkers, cyclists, runners and anglers, as well as by leisure boaters – a great legacy of the industrial revolution which continues to serve us well in the 21st century.”