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Mileposts

As part of the bicentenary celebrations of the Leeds Liverpool canal, this year the Canal and River Trust have launched the Every Mile Counts project.  The project hopes to encourage local groups and individuals to adopt their local stretch of canal and its milepost leaving a lasting legacy long after the end of the bicentenary celebrations.

 

Melling Parish Council are very excited to be working with the Canal and River Trust on this project by funding the restoration of the milepost on the Melling stretch of the canal, which is located between the swing bridge (Homes bridge) and the stone bridge (Clayton’s bridge).   The restoration of this historic milepost is a mark of appreciation from the community of Melling to all of the men, women and children, who over the past 200 years worked, lived and depended upon the canal for their livelihood, and will hopefully be enjoyed by future generations to come.

Here are some image of the restoration work that is taking place to restore the mileposts back to their former glory.

milestoneposts

As part of Melling’s ongoing Canal Bicentenary celebrations, this autumn we will be planting native bulbs around the restored milepost.

All about the Mileposts

Britain’s canals were the life blood of the industrial revolution and a largely commercial machine. It was necessary for boatmen and canal companies to be able to calculate precisely how far boats had journeyed along the waterways as these distances formed the basis of toll charges.

Although the canal is 200 years old, the original cast iron mileposts date back to the 1890s.  They were installed as a response to legislation introduced to regulate canal freight tolls - the Railway and Canal Rates, Tolls and Charges Order of 1893.  This prompted the whole of the canal to be re-surveyed and new mileposts, along with half and quarter mileposts, installed along the towpaths.

Today we are so used to modern road signs that we assume the mileposts were there to tell boaters how far it was to Leeds or Liverpool, but most canal journeys were much shorter than that. In fact the posts served a very different purpose tolls were charged for each ¼ mile that a cargo was carried. To calculate the length of a journey, the boatman would subtract the distance on the last milepost he passed from that on the first, then add in the number of half and quarter mileposts passed.

It is for this reason that the distance plates are displayed on opposite sides of the post to what you might expect. As the first plate seen displays the distance from your previous location.

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                                                                      Clerk to the Council                                                                                   Melling Parish Council, P O Box 119, LIVERPOOL, L31 5WB.

Email: clerk@mellingparishcouncil.org 

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