Passion brings new life at canal dock

Canal enthusiasts have brought part of Burnley’s canal heritage back to life.

Semi-retired couples Les and Angela White,and Brian Denison and Jane Garnett, restored ‘Birley’s Dock’ at Bank Hall to create a working dry dock for canal boat painting and repair.

The Kennet is floated in the restored Bank Hall Dry Dock.

The Kennet is floated in the restored Bank Hall Dry Dock.

Months of back-breaking work, and the removal of 60 skips worth of mud, silt and rubbish came to fruition when Burnley’s mayor Coun. Andy Tatchell performed the official opening of ‘Feather & Gaskell’.

The council-owned dock, regarded in the 19th Century as the best dry dock on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal was closed in 1973 and had become a favourite site for fly tippers.

Said Mr White: “The dry dock at Bank Hall had been in a very sad state and had declined into serious disrepair over many years. The dock was actually being used as a dumping ground and was full of rubbish; you wouldn’t really have known it was there.”

Engineers and members of the Canal & River Trust advised the couples on their restoration work and were on hand to celebrate the new company’s launch.

The event had the additional attraction of hosting the Kennet canal museum which is based inside a barge travelling the country’s the canal system. It had been repainted at the new dry dock a few days earlier.

“The restoration has been a real labour of love,” added Mr White. “We’ve all had a passion for canal boats for many years and have our own boats. It was a wonderful sight to fill the dock for the first time and to steer in a barge to repair for the first time.”

Said his partner Brian Denison: “We are really proud of our achievement and feel we have created a legacy for future boat users and for Burnley.”