Wednesday, 19 October 2016
Two hundred years
The Leeds-Liverpool Canal, which passes through Saltaire, was a decisive factor in Sir Titus Salt's plan to site his huge woollen mill at this spot. Completed in 1816, the canal pre-dates the mill by almost forty years. This year, the bi-centenary of the Canal is being marked by various events, the most significant being the recreation of the first full navigation in 1816, when local people turned out in their thousands to greet the boats, church bells were rung, cannons fired and brass bands played. During October, the restored working barge, Kennet, is making its way along the canal, stopping off at various points for celebrations.
Despite very heavy rain, I went down to the canal in Saltaire to see the Kennet pass through. (The things I do for this blog!) There was a brass band, playing under the bridge for shelter! The church bells rang and a couple of hundred hardy souls, including the Lord Mayor of Bradford and a BBC Yorkshire camera crew were there to witness the event. Tempting to think we were indeed 'recreating' something... except that in 1816 Saltaire didn't exist and the boats would have been making their way through green fields and heading for the Five-Rise Locks at Bingley for whatever razzmatazz the townsfolk there had dreamed up.
Never mind, it makes a good 'old' picture, doesn't it?