Britain’s oldest boat lift has received a £574,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant towards essential repairs. This grant will be used to repair the hydraulics and computer system of the Anderton Boat Lift in Northwich, Cheshire, by the Canal and River Trust (CRT).
The lift on the Trent and Mersey Canal was built by Edwin Clarke in 1875 to allow boats carrying salt and coal to move easily between the canal and the Weaver Navigation 15m (50ft) below.
The lift, which is known as “Cathedral of the Canals” and also as one of the “Seven Wonders of the Waterways”, was in operation for more than 100 years until 1983 when it closed due to corrosion. The lift reopened to the public in 2002 after a multi-million pound restoration but has been out of action since August 2022 due to the failure of a safety mechanism.
Andrew Davison, inspector of Ancient Monuments at Historic England, which supported the Canal & River Trust’s application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said the boat was an “extraordinary feat of engineering, an outstanding product of Victorian technical ability and ingenuity…There is no substitute for seeing it in operation or experiencing sitting on a boat which is being lifted or lowered between the canal and the river.”
Rebecca Mason, enterprise manager at the Canal & River Trust, said they were “thrilled” to be awarded this development phase grant. She said the trust would work closely with partners and stakeholders including Historic England over the next 18 months “to ensure we can submit a really robust second-round application to the lottery in 2024”. Further details here: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit/anderton-boat-lift-visitor-centre