The Anderton Boat Lift – a Victorian engineering masterpiece – impresses at Open Weekend

The Canal & River Trust charity’s Open Weekend at the Anderton Boat Lift, near Northwich, Cheshire attracted over 2000 visitors to a fun-packed family day of free activities on Saturday (8 February). Due to Storm Ciara, the Open Day on Sunday was postponed.

On Saturday, free angling and canoe sessions were available for families as well as the chance for children to try out arts and crafts, including creating a model of the lift in lego. Scheduled repairs to the lift meant that visitors also had a rare opportunity of stepping down into the chamber beneath the lift to see the lift from an entirely different perspective as well as taking a trip up to the top of the spectacular 50ft lift.  Such was the interest of this special Open event, that a crew from BBC North-West Tonight also filmed during the day.

Peter Bishop from Birmingham made a special trip to visit the lift and said: “We’ve got a lot of canals in Birmingham but nothing like this amazing structure. I admire the on-going work of the Canal & River Trust in keeping this Lift in working order.”

Matt Ridge from Northwich, who was there with his daughter, Isla, viewed the dry well beneath the lift and said: “We love the Lift and walking around Marbury Woods nearby. We’ve never seen the lift from down here and it really interesting to hear about how it all works.”

Sam and father, Shane, locals from Anderton came along to try out the free fishing session. Sam said: “It’s nice to have a go at fishing. You need to find the right depth of water so that the float doesn’t go underwater, so it’s not as easy as it looks. But it is fun and I might want to try it another day.”

David Thorne, Canal & River Trust’s Senior Project Manager, responsible for the repairs to the lift, said: “It is a privilege to work on something put together by people with such ingenuity and technical expertise. In the day, the Lift’s Victorian engineers were using cutting-edge technology and their achievement – the world’s first successful boat lift – speaks for itself, even now.”

Graham Wood, Duty Manager, Anderton Boat Lift, said: “We are delighted that the players of People’s Postcode Lottery have made this Open Weekend possible and pleased that so many people were able to make it along to see this engineering marvel. This was also made possible thanks to the hard work of our many dedicated volunteers and staff.”

“It was disappointing that the Open Day on Sunday had to be cancelled due to Storm Ciara but the winds and rain made it untenable. However, we will be hosting lots of other events over the next few months.”

The Anderton Boat Lift re-opens, following the repairs, on March 13.

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