Matthew Clark is now continuing the work carried out by Harry Taylor on providing Press Releases and these will be published on this page in order to bring browsers up to date with what is happening.
End of the Year
So, the end of the year is upon us and we have just completed the last work party of the year, which involved removing a large number of trees that were obscuring the canal from view along the footpath at Nob End. This, however, has not been the only work that has been done on the site. The long awaited ‘Big Dig’ has been completed and the site is now unrecognizable.
Since the last press release we have not only, fully excavated Nob End Bridge, removed the infill on top and around the bullnose and excavated some of the top 3 locks and middle pound but we have also removed all the infill that was put in the remains of the workshop to protect the floor, put a new cabin on site to give us a place to sit as well as toilet facilities. We have also removed a large number of trees that now means there is a clear view of Prestolee aqueduct and the bottom pound of the canal.
The amount of work put in by volunteers is staggering and has meant that the site around Nob End is now completely unrecognisable and much improved to what it was last year. Now that we have completed our last work party of the year it’s time for everyone to take a rest until next year, where there will be many more work parties planned and plenty of work left to do.
If you’re interested in coming to help the society, check out the work parties page for information about the work parties we do as well as the dates of the next work parties.
The Big Dig
Months of planning are finally upon us and, soon, one of the single largest projects on the canal for several years is about to begin. The Big Dig is here and over the next two work parties, volunteers are going to be working tirelessly on the area centring around Nob End locks.
Over the next few weekends, if all goes to plan, the infill under the Bolton arm bridge shall be removed, allowing walkers to once again follow the towpath correctly for the first time in decades. Next shall be the Bullnose, where all three arms of the canal meet, which shall be excavated to show the structure to allow for future reconstruction.
Part 3 of The Big Dig is the beautiful lock flight themselves. This fantastic piece of engineering shall get the attention it so rightly deserves and work shall begin. Although not all the infill shall be removed, we will be taking out a good amount of it in order to show the shape of the locks and pound inbetween and allow the structure to take back some of its lost beauty that was taken away all those years ago.
With many volunteers itching to get to work, and the whole site readied up for the work, The Big Dig shall make a huge difference to the area and to the canal itself.
If you are interested in getting involved with volunteering and wish to help out with the canal, simply visit the Work Parties page which holds more information on how you can get involved with the society and the canal, and it gives the dates of the next work parties.
Things are happening! – Press release
Well, It's been a busy few months down at the canal. Large sections have been cleared, fencing has been put up and a lovely new viewing platform has been created to give a view of the centre piece of the canal, The Nob End locks. We have also built a brand new Meccano bench in memory of John Lynn and Philip Wakerely which has a beautiful view over the locks and the countryside beyond.
The volunteers have also been keeping busy. Several of them have been trained on dump trucks and diggers and are all prepared for the Big Dig later in the year. Preparations have been made and things are going to start happening soon.
There has also been a lot of work for Bury in Bloom and the canal on Water Street has been cleaned up with the help of volunteers and The Little Britain Anglers, who fish up and down the canal, have even organised the first fishing contest on the canal for over 30 years.
But don’t just take my word for it, as videos following the progress have been going up on YouTube for each of the work parties since February and you can view them on the Gallery page.
With all the work done, and the work yet to come, 2015 is a busy year for the canal. If you are interested in helping volunteer, visit the volunteer page which holds all the information you would need.
Canal Society Cleans Up – with a little help from their friends!
[Press Release 1 October, 2014]
The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society held a working party last weekend when they tackled the overgrown towpath along the canal at Ringley, near Bolton. They were assisted over the two days by nearly a hundred teenagers from the National Citizens Service – an organisation that brings together young people from different backgrounds and helps them develop greater confidence, self-awareness and responsibility. It encourages personal and social development by working on skills like leadership, teamwork and communication.
This was the second weekend in which the NCS group had worked to clear back the overgrown vegetation blocking the towpath, uncovered the coping stones to identify the edge of the canal, removed trees at the edge of and branches hanging over the towpath. Over the two weekends a distance of nearly one kilometre was cleared – a superb effort by the youngsters.
The next working party will be held on the weekend of 18/19 th October and will be at Nob End locks, Little Lever, Bolton.
For more information please contact the Working Party Officer:
Contact Steve Dent
Phone 07802 973228
Above right: Some of the NCS (National Citizens Service) members working on the towpath
Below left: A section of the canal towpath at Ringley before the clean up
Below right: A section of the canal towpath after the working party
Meccano Bridge gains another Award
[Press Release 30 September, 2014]
The Meccano bridge, built over the Nob End locks at Little Lever, Bolton by the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society, featured again in a national awards ceremony.
The ‘Living Waterways’ awards are presented by the Canal and River Trust, the national body that administers most of the waterways in Britain, to seek the most inspiring and exciting waterway-based improvement projects across the UK and to recognise exceptional projects that are helping to care for our canals and rivers.
The assessment panel noted: “ The bridge is a striking and colourful addition to the location. The construction of a full-size footbridge in giant Meccano is a witty concept which brings a smile to the lips of visitors. The success of the design also suggests that there is potential for fresh bold approaches and that restoration of lost structures need not always simply slavishly replicate heritage forms.”
The awards ceremony was held at the Royal Armouries in Leeds last week and the MBBCS was runner up in the ‘Art and Interpretation’ section. The award was accepted by Liam Curtin, the designer of the bridge and Dr Paul Hindle, the Chairman of the Society.
Above: Liam Curtin and Dr Paul Hindle receive the award – note the scaled-up Meccano nut that Dr Hindle is holding.
Left: The Meccano bridge over the Nob End Locks, Little Lever, Bolton.
October Open Meeting
The Annual General and October open meeting will be held on Tuesday, 7th October, 2014 at the Garrick Theatre, Bank Street, Whitefield, Manchester, M45 7JF. Following the AGM there will be a talk on '200 years of boat building' by Geoff Taylor, whose family own Taylor's boatyard in Chester. This will be followed by an update on current society activities. See 'Open Meetings' page for directions and further details of open meetings.
Canal Society Going Steadily Downhill!
[Press Release 15th September, 2014]
Good progress was made last weekend by the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society when its monthly working party took place at the Nob End Locks, Little Lever, Bolton.
The object was to continue to uncover the lower half of the flight of six locks and the group of 16 volunteers worked over two days to reach the bottom of the locks, where they start the climb from the Salford to Prestolee section, up to the Bolton and Bury sections. The locks raise the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal by a height of 20 metres in just 200 metres.
This major exercise involved clearing extensive growth of vegetation from the locks area and its sides, as part of the Society’s Phase 2 restoration plan, where the locks will be partially excavated and the locksides landscaped to give an improved view of the area and prepare for future restoration.
Working Party Officer, Stuart Hammond, commented “This has been another successful weekend, where our group of volunteers have worked hard to uncover a part of the canal that has not been seen for many years.”
PHOTOS: Top right: Looking downhill from the middle pound after vegetation has been cleared. Above left: The volunteers tackle the lower locks. Above right: Some of the Saturday team at the top of Lock 2.
Canal Society has a Revealing Weekend
[Press Release 19th August, 2014]
The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society held its monthly working party last weekend at the Nob End Locks, Little Lever, Bolton.
Sixteen volunteers busied themselves in showery and blustery conditions over two days.
Jobs completed included clearing the towpath and path around the breached area of canal, which had become overgrown during the summer making it difficult for walkers and cyclists to pass along. The Meccano Bridge picnic area and gardens were also given a clean up.
The major exercise was to clear serious growth of vegetation from the locksides, as part of the Society’s Phase 2 restoration plan, following the construction of the Meccano Bridge as Phase 1. This plan involves the locks being uncovered, partially excavated and the lock sides landscaped to give an improved view of the area. This is in preparation for future restoration.
By the end of the weekend a great deal of vegetation had been removed by the volunteers as they worked down the area, revealing a whole new view of this significant locks construction, which is a major feature on the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal.
Above: Left - side of Lock 4 before clearing; Right - side of Lock 4 after clearing.
The next working party will be on the weekend of the 13th / 14th September.
Contact: Stuart Hammond - Working Party Officer
phone: 07734 099 075
Canal Society strips off at Nickerhole Bridge
[Press Release 29th July, 2014]
Hot weather didn’t deter 20 local volunteers from clearing up over 100 metres of towpath and the bridge over the canal at Cams Lane, Radcliffe over the weekend.
The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society held its monthly working party around the strangely named bridge and it didn’t stop there, with the volunteers also making way for wildlife on the canal by removing over 40 barrow loads of choking weeds from the water - as well moving a family of frogs to safety!
At one stage a member of the team paddled a kayak to recover cans, bottles, plastic bags and sunken logs from the canal.
“We made a huge difference, and it was great fun”, said first time volunteer Gordon Holland. “When you look at what we achieved, you just think, wow, it’s amazing what teamwork washed down with regular tea and biscuits can do!!
The volunteers were joined by Scouts from Bury, who were working towards their community service badges.
“Everyone wants to know where the name ‘Nickerhole’ comes from”, said Harry Taylor, the canal society’s publicity officer “and in truth we’re not sure! Nicker is an old local term for a demon or monster, so maybe there’s an old legend about monsters on the canal! These days it’s 100’s of walkers, cyclists, runners and families enjoying the peace, history and wildlife of the area.”
Working Party Officer, Stuart Hammond commented, “This has been another successful working party and I must give a huge thank you to all our volunteers over the weekend, particularly the ‘first-timers’.
Our aim is to protect the canal features and improve access to the canal, so that people can appreciate and enjoy all that the area has to offer.
The main working parties are held over a weekend each month. The next working party is on the weekend 16 / 17 August and will be at the Nob End Locks area of the canal at Little Lever, from 10am to 4pm each day. Anyone who has an interest in the canal or would like to help us will be very welcome."
Photos: Top – Nickerhole Bridge path before the clean up. Bottom – Towpath and water channel after the clean up.
Meccano Bridge goes for hat trick
[Press Release 23rd July, 2014]
The Bridge, sponsored by Bolton Council, designed by Liam Curtin and built by the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society over the canal at Nob End, Little Lever, Bolton has been nominated for a third award by the Canal and Rivers Trust in its ‘Living Waterways Awards 2014’.
An inspection by the judging panel took place in June and the bridge has now been shortlisted in the ‘Arts and Interpretation’ category, for the finals which will take place at the Castle armouries in Leeds on the 24th September.
The Canal and Rivers Trust, who administer most of the canals in the UK, present the Living Waterways Awards “to shine a spotlight on the most engaging, innovative and inspirational projects, to recognise the amazing work being done across the country, to celebrate success and say thank you to our volunteers.
The Awards are presented to projects that have done the most to make a difference to the nation’s historic canals and rivers, making them exciting places to live, learn and spend time.”
This bridge has previously won two awards. The ‘Best Practice Award 2013’ from the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation North Western Branch and in July this year the ‘Duplex Award’ by the Galvanisers Association.
Above photo: The Meccano Bridge over the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal at Nob End, Little Lever, Bolton – please click on photo for larger version.
Hidden Waterways: Britain's lost canals
[Broadcast: 11th July, 2014]
On Friday, 11th July, 2014 BBC Breakfast featured an item about restoring canals. Part of the interview was with our own Paul Hindle, Chairman, and was taken in front of the Meccano Bridge as well as showing some images of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal. Please click here to see the feature.
Canal Society goes the extra mile(stone)!
[Press Release Date: 4th July, 2014]
A canal milestone, that went missing in the 1960’s, has been recovered by members of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal Society. The milestone had originally been found and kept in a garage in Bolton by a canal enthusiast.
The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal company installed quarter-milestones soon after it was opened in the 1790s. The milestones have the letter M followed by the distance in miles from the start of the canal at the River Irwell in Salford. There were originally over 60 of them, and today 30 are still in place along the canal towpath.
When the Salford arm was filled in during the 1960s, several were removed and the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal Society have now recovered two of them. Last year we moved one from a garden in Bolton and this week we moved another from Bolton, both came from near the start of the canal in Salford. M½ was formerly behind the Crescent in Salford, and M1 was opposite what is now the north end of Salford Crescent station; in both places the canal has almost totally disappeared.
The Society is really interested in finding out the whereabouts of the other missing milestones; 10 of which were in Salford, 10 in Bolton and 8 in Bury. Some are no doubt buried and others could be in the canal bed (we know at least two are) but others may have been removed; as we have seen two ended up in Bolton. They are large pieces of sandstone and when out of the ground the larger ones measure 20 inches (50cm) wide, 10 inches (20cm) deep and 44 inches (1.1m) tall. They weigh about 660 lbs (300 kgs) so are not easy to move!
If anyone can tell us about any other milestones, please contact our Chairman, Dr Paul Hindle, on 0161 723 1433.
Above: MBBCS Chairman, Dr Paul Hindle with the two recovered milestones. [Please click on photo for larger version]
Meccano Bridge wins another award
[Press Release Date: 1st July, 2014]
The Galvanisers Association chose the Meccano Bridge, built by the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal Society, as winner of their 2014 Duplex Award.
The awards were mainly for architectural projects but the Duplex Award is for a galvanised product used together with materials in other finishes. The Meccano bridge used 720 super sized bolts, each weighing 1.25 kg (more than a bag of sugar) together with the scaled up steel plates, galvanised then spray painted in Meccano colours.
See www.galvanizing.org.uk for more details.
Liam Curtin, the designer of the bridge, went down to London to accept the award at the ceremony, which was held at the prestigious Regency premises of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Hamilton Place overlooking Hyde Park in London.
Liam said "It was an interesting experience, I went with my partner
Bernadette and as we climbed the ornate staircase we were met with the hubbub of many men in suits, all from the world of architecture and engineering.
After the award ceremony everyone seemed to want to talk to us. The award itself is a galvanised watering can, which I then had to carry all around London for the remainder of the day!”
This is the second award for the Meccano bridge ( it won Best Practice Award 2013 from the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation North Western Branch ) and has also been short-listed for a third award.
Ladyshore Bridge gets short back and sides!
[Press Release Date: 23 June, 2014]
Volunteer members of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal Society held their monthly working party at the Ladyshore Bridge over the canal at the Little Lever / Radcliffe border during the last weekend.
Their goal was to uncover the bridge and the road leading past the site of Ladyshore Colliery to the old Lever Bank Bleach Works, now an area landscaped by Bolton Council.
The area had become seriously overgrown over the years with brambles, nettles and grass, so much so that the bridge could hardly be seen and the road was reduced to a third of its width.
The team enthusiastically set to the task and slowly uncovered the bridge. By the end of the weekend the whole area was clear, the bridge, with its distinctive blue brick (a feature of the MB&B canal) was back in view, footpaths leading to the area had been widened and stone laid down, repairs done to the stone setts surface and a drainage channel to reduce rainwater flow over the bridge had been installed.
A walker passing over the bridge commented on Sunday afternoon “You’ve done marvellously. It looks a thousand times better!” Worthy praise which was much appreciated.
Working Party Officer, Stuart Hammond commented, “This has been another successful working party and I must give a huge thank you to all our volunteers over the weekend.
Our aim is to protect the canal features and improve access to the canal, so that people can appreciate and enjoy all that the area has to offer.
The main working parties are held over a weekend each month. The next working party is on the weekend 26 / 27 July and will be from 10am to 4pm each day. Anyone who has an interest in the canal or would like to help us will be very welcome.”
Canal Clean Up Continues – with the help of Clare's cakes!
Efforts with the aim of restoring the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal continued this weekend as volunteers from the local canal restoration society held their monthly working party. Their energy levels were boosted by fabulous cup cakes, baked by Clare, sister of Tommy Sorby.
The many walkers and cyclists, who regularly use the canal towpath, were full of praise for the efforts being made and were impressed by the results, particularly the 20 strong group from the Manchester and Salford Ramblers who were passing by.
The Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal Society are concentrating on the area around the flight of six locks at Nob End, Little Lever, Bolton. Our volunteers, as well as maintaining the Meccano Gardens, cleared the overgrown edges of Nob Bridge, leading down to Prestolee Road and then started to tackle the infilled and overgrown locks themselves.
Working party Officer, Stuart Hammond commented “The area has been mostly neglected for several years and after our construction of the Meccano Bridge last year, enabling walkers and cyclists to once more cross over the canal by its original route, we are now concentrating on improving the locks area. This Phase 2 plan is a first step to reinstate the locks and we intend to excavate the whole flight to a depth of one metre, so that people can once more see the extent of the locks. We will uncover and landscape the lock side areas, which could eventually become a picnic area along with the nearby Meccano picnic area.
A huge thanks to all our volunteers over the weekend, including the WRG members who joined us. They’ve made a fantastic start to this Phase 2 project.”
The main working parties are held over a weekend each month. The next working party is on the weekend 21 / 22 June and will be from 10am to 4pm each day. Anyone who has an interest in the canal or would like to help us will be very welcome.