Background to the Society



The Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society was formed in 1997.  The Society grew out of a meeting that took place on Wednesday 9 April at The Coaching Inn, Warrington Road, Wigan, organised by Rev David Long and Mike Clarke.

A subsequent meeting at Shipley, held aboard Water Prince (then being run by David Lowe of Apollo Cruisers) elected a Society Committee, with the first ‘official’ meeting of the Society held at Blackburn on 15 November.  A number of its members were to prove to be long-standing ‘stalwarts’ of the Society – David and Isabel Shuttleworth; Liz and John Stott; Alan Holden; and Margaret and Ken Hammond. Marilyn Freear and Marilyn Sumner were also enthusiastic early committee members. David Shuttleworth was Chair of the Society for some ten years and Margaret Hammond was secretary until April 2021.  Mike Clarke, upon whose initiative the Society was formed, also remains President of the Society.

Prior to the formation of the Society there was a small fellowship of ex-boatmen dedicated to keeping the memory of commercial boating alive and preserving Leeds & Liverpool wide beam boats.  Their newsletter, edited by Alan Holden, was called Clogs & Gansey.  The Society decided to retain this title for its own newsletter.  Clogs & Gansey continues to this day as a three-times-a-year publication to inform members of heritage and contemporary issues associated with the Canal.

Early activities of the Society included continuing the Heritage Boat meetings set up by Alan Holden, the reinstatement of rollers on Canal bridges, the creation of a meadow at Bank Newton, and organising walks along and around the canal towpath. The Society also received its first Award in 2009, the Waterways Renaissance Award for Education and Learning, working with Galloways, the Lancashire charity for the blind and partially-sighted.

Since the transfer of ownership of Kennet to the Society in 2011, and its subsequent refurbishment under the Heritage Lottery Fund grant, much of the Society’s activity has focused on the use of Kennet at canal festivals, open days and for school visits. Read more...