One of Britain’s leading professional institutions today honoured the historic Leeds and Liverpool Canal with the presentation of a Special Award for Civil Engineering Heritage. The award certificate was presented to representatives of the Canal & River Trust at Wigan Pier, which marks the start of the famous Wigan Flight of 21 locks, one of the canal’s most important features.
The Institution of Civil Engineers selected the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to be the third recipient of a North West Civil Engineering Heritage Award to help mark the 200th anniversary of the 127-mile canal which was completed in 1816. The Canal & River Trust, the charity which cares for 2,000 miles of canals in England and Wales and which has an office in Wigan, received the award as the custodian of the canal, which is England’s longest single man-made waterway.
Darrell Matthews, North West Regional Director of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said “Our canals played a vital role in making Britain a major industrial power, with the world’s first industrial revolution starting right here in Lancashire.
“The canal as a whole is a fantastic feat of civil engineering, and it was a hugely important infrastructure development which helped shape the future of Wigan and of Northern England – just as the recently-announced HS2, stopping at Wigan, will help regenerate Wigan and connect up the Northern Powerhouse.”
Chantelle Seaborn, North West Waterway Manager with the Canal & River Trust, said: “The Wigan Flight itself is a remarkable feat of waterway engineering, raising water where it has no natural right to go. Today the flight is enjoyed by walkers, cyclists, runners and anglers, as well as by leisure boaters – a great legacy of the industrial revolution which continues to serve us well in the 21st century.”