The Melksham, Calne and Chippenham Branch
of the
 Wilts & Berks Canal Trust


Press Releases  Back
February 2014


The Wilts & Berks Canal Trust is one of the first groups in the UK to receive a Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Heritage grant.

Sharing Heritage is a new funding programme to help people across the UK explore, conserve and share all aspects of the history and character of their local area.

Delivered in partnership with Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre, Pewsham Locks: A Centenary Commemoration project will receive £7,900 to mark one hundred years since the abandonment of the canal in 1914.

The Trust also hopes it will encourage interest in the ongoing restoration campaign.

Events will include a series of fun activities in the museum during the February half-term, culminating in Open Days at the locks themselves on Friday and Saturday June 20-21.

Kath Hatton (pictured) is the Trust’s fundraising director and a member of the Melksham, Chippenham & Calne branch.

She said: “We are delighted by the generous support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and look forward to encouraging interest in this hidden gem.

“Many people are aware of the existence of the canal but few know about the history of the locks, which once lifted narrowboats almost 29 feet on their journey between Melksham and Chippenham.

“There was a boat-building and repair business, saw-pit, carpenter’s workshop, lime kiln, dry-dock and a lock-keeper’s cottage, the remains of which can still be seen today.

“We hope the Open Days will include storytellers in period costumes, traditional music, craft demonstrations and workshops.

“Local primary and secondary schools will also be invited to get involved in role-play activities and challenges.
“The aim is to encourage people to learn more about their heritage and understand the significance of the site, and perhaps inspire them to join the ongoing restoration campaign.”

Melissa Barnett, curator of Chippenham Museum and Heritage Centre, said: “This is a fantastic community-led project that will introduce more people to a largely unsung and unexplored part of our local heritage with an exciting range of activities and events.

“Chippenham Museum is delighted to be supporting the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust with this project and with its long-term plans to protect, conserve and improve this part of the canal system.”

Nerys Watts, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West said: “Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust and Chippenham Museum can embark on a real journey of discovery.

“Heritage means such different things to different people and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their local area.”

For more information about the local Branch of the Trust you can visit their Web site

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