Works to safeguard one of the oldest canalside cottages on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal are set to get underway ahead of a potential major restoration project.
The Canal & River Trust, the charity that cares for 2,000 miles of historic waterways in England & Wales, is carrying out emergency repairs to the historic cottage at Finsley Gate Wharf in Burnley to protect its basic structure before major works can take place.
The repairs will involve removing the current slate roof, with a temporary roof being installed to allow the cottage to dry out. A permanent roof will be fitted as part of the long term restoration plans.
Finsley Gate Wharf, known locally as Mile Wharf, is one of the oldest wharves on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and includes three listed warehouses, a listed canal cottage, outbuilding, former blacksmith forge and boat slipway, dating from between 1700 and 1830. The disused canal wharf in Burnley’s Weavers Triangle conservation area is to be rescued and restored by the Canal & River Trust, thanks to £2 million of earmarked funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
The Canal & River Trust was awarded a development funding grant of £262,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund supplemented by £26,800 from the Trust, to enable emergency repair work to be carried out to stabilise the buildings from further deterioration. The repairs will be carried out by the Trust’s contractors Vinci and will be completed by Christmas.
The grant will also allow the Trust to commission a building restoration schedule, business plan and an activity plan to develop educational and volunteering opportunities at the site. This information will be submitted to HLF for assessment to secure the full grant of £2 million.
Part of the Weavers Triangle conservation area, this funding aims to revitalise Mile Wharf through the creation of new local enterprises including a boat repair yard, restaurant, rental cottage and visitor moorings.
Canal & River Trust development surveyor Ian Sprott said: “The emergency work we’re carrying out to the cottage is vital to ensure the building doesn’t fall into further disrepair. These historic canal buildings have been vacant for the last fifteen years and both the Trust and the HLF are very keen to see them preserved and brought back into use again. These buildings have such a great story to tell and we want to ensure that future generations can enjoy and learn from them.”