From the Burnley Express Archive: Were you there when TV personality came to town?

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal, in Burnley, means the Friends of the Weaver’s Triangle.
The Straight Mile on the Leeds and Liverpool canal, one of the Seven Wonders of the WaterwaysThe Straight Mile on the Leeds and Liverpool canal, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways
The Straight Mile on the Leeds and Liverpool canal, one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways

That organisation has done as much as any to publicise what can be seen on the banks of the canal, not only in the Weavers’ Triangle, but throughout the town.

After a period of coronavirus enforced closure, the Trust’s Visitor Centre is to re-open on Saturday, August 1st. This will be shortly after the 40th anniversary of its official opening by the well-known broadcaster, the late Brian Redhead.

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Mr Redhead did much to help the Trust, in its formative years, and he came to Burnley, on a memorable day on July 26th, 1980, to open the Manchester Road premises.

As you will know, coronavirus put paid to plans to open in April, but, from August 1st, a new exhibition has been installed at the Visitor Centre which covers the story of the Trust and the canal in Burnley over its first 40 years. There are also displays on the history of Burnley’s cotton industry, its workers and the story of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Opening times will be limited to 2 to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. There may be restrictions on numbers, if they are necessary, and there will be other covid-related measures in place, such as hand sanitising, social distancing and the temporary closure of the shop and the café.

Mr Brian Hall MB., chairman of the Weavers’ Triangle Trust, which runs the Visitor Centre, said: “We are proud to have promoted Burnley’s heritage for over 40 years and we hope that we have many local visitors keen to renew their acquaintance with the Centre, as well as others who are new to Burnley”.”

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The photograph is taken from an image of the Straight Mile of the canal, which is also known as the Burnley Embankment. The feature is also one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways.

The mill, to the left, is Rishton Mill which, as you can see, is distinctive because it had a large house in front of it. These buildings, together with a large chimney, and a return of the mill, which took a section of the canal bank into its area, were on Gunsmith Lane rather than Yorkshire Street. After they were pulled down, according to Jack Nadin, in his “Burnley Cotton Mills”, in 1934, the site was redeveloped as the Odeon cinema.

On the right of the image, several broad canal barges have been tied up. This was standard practice, in the early years of the 20th Century. There was an access, from close to the Culvert, on Yorkshire Street, which led to the canal bank. Barges could be loaded and unloaded at this point and this is what appears to be happening here.

Unfortunately, there appears to be little or no activity taking place, but it seems that quite a lot of equipment is located in what looks like a small canal yard. It is known that some of the industrial premises on Plumbe Street – they included cotton mills, livery stables, a wood yard, a tannery, a boiler works and a heald and reed works – used the canal for deliveries etc.

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