The History of ...
An eBook and website by Cyril J Wood
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Lymm Cruising Club's Club House
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The History of Lymm Cruising Club
Historically speaking, leisure craft were not allowed on the Bridgewater Canal except for a few notable exceptions. In 1951 the rules banning leisure craft were scrapped. This lead to an upsurge in pleasure boat ownership which in turn produced a need for boat moorings and boat clubs along the Bridgewater Canal. The first of the clubs established on the Bridgewater Canal in 1951 was the Bridgewater Motor Boat Club (or BMBC for short) located at Runcorn.
A 1950's boat rally at an unidentified location (probably Dunham Massey) on the Bridgewater Canal
A couple of years later a man called Fred Swaithes was out in his car looking for a country cottage for his wife and himself. After a fruitless search he stopped at the Old Number Three public house adjacent to the Bridgewater Canal near Bollington for some liquid refreshment. Whilst relaxing with his drink Fred spotted a canal boat called "Thora" moored on the canal bank adjacent to the pub. He made enquiries about it to the landlord of the pub who told him that it had been there for some time. Fred immediately fell in love with the boat and made further enquiries about the owner. The enquiries were fruitful and within the hour he had bought it.
Fred and Elsie Swaithes' boat "Thora"
Apparently, the boat was in need of some remedial work before it could be moved so Fred and his wife Elsie set to work over the next few weekends renovating and repairing it. On one of these weekends that they met a man by the name of Eric Hurd who was passing in his boat "Kittiwake" who stopped for a chat. The two men struck up a friendship which was to last for many years to come. As there were no boat clubs nearby they identified the need for a club to serve boaters in the Manchester area and the Old Number Three's landlord gave them permission to post a notice and list on the pub's letter board inviting interested parties to put their names and addresses on the list. Eventually, seventeen people put their names on the list and they were contacted to inform them of a meeting in October 1955 that was to be the inaugural meeting of Lymm Cruising Club (referred to hereafter as Lymm CC).
Eric Hurd and Fred Swaithes... Lymm CC's founder members at the Old Number Three
At this meeting, Fred Swaithes was elected as Chairman and the Club was soon a going concern. Meetings were initially held at The Old Number Three with the permission of the landlord at 8.00 pm on the first Tuesday of the month... a time and date that, even to this day, is when the Club holds its monthly meetings. The annual membership subscription was One Guinea (£1.05p). The following year (1956) the Club held its first Opening Cruise when twenty six boats cruised from Timperley to Worsley.
An old newspaper photograph of the 1956 Opening Cruise at Timperley Bridge
Miss E M Fitton... the Mayor of Altrincham was a guest at the 1956 Opening Cruise to Worsley
A Mayoral presence on another of Lymm CC's cruises
Lymm CC's first Annual Laying Up Dinner Dance - 19th October 1956
In 1957 the Club obtained a lease on Agden Quay... a wharf on the off-side of the canal with two thousand feet of canal frontage, two miles outside Lymm, which was no longer used by commercial craft. The Club intended to use the quay for moorings on a stretch of canal bank from Agden Bridge, adjacent to the Boathouse Cottages as far as the old Salt Wharf which is now Hesford’s Boatyard.
Lymm CC's Agden Moorings in 1957
The moorings soon filled-up with boats, many of which were converted barges, narrowboats and lifeboats. One boat in particular was the “Oder”. This boat was the last wooden barge owned by the Manchester Ship Canal Company who presented it to the club with the intention of it being converted into a floating club house. In later years, part of the moorings were sold to Ladyline and later Lymm Marina who now sell new and used craft as well as fitting out their own boats under the brand name of Cheshire Narrowboats.
Former coal barge "Oder" being towed by the Manchester Ship Canal Company's "Bantam" tug at Dunham Massey in 1958
The view from the boat following "Oder" at Bollington
"Oder" on the far left moored at Agden in 1958
Fred Swaithes addressing Lymm CC members from the gunwales of "Oder"
Lymm CC's Burgee designed by Syd Donnelly
Also in 1957, the Club's Vice President... Syd Donnelly designed the Club's burgee which is still used by the Club to this day. Security became a problem at Agden with passers-by being able to walk up to the moored craft. Several acts of vandalism (nothing new there then!) created the need for a security fence to be erected in order to protect moorers’ boats. Some of the residents of the Boathouse Cottages, adjacent to the moorings objected to the appearance of the fence and trees that were eventually planted to hide the moorings from the road.
Three photographs of the 1958 Whitsun Cruise to Winsford
A cruise to Winsford on the beautiful River Weaver was arranged for the Whitsun Bank Holiday in 1958. Many boats turned out for this cruise which lasted for most of the summer. Later on in the year Lymm Cruising Club (Properties) Limited was formed to look after the property interests of the Club and was incorporated on the 29th September 1958.
NB "Bergen" leads boats from Lymm CC at Dunham Massey during the 1958 Summer Cruise
Another Mayoral presence on the 1958 cruise to Worsley
The entrance to Lymm CC from The Square in 1959...
... and the same location in 2011
Additional moorings were needed and in June of 1959 the club was offered the old National Coal Board yard and wharf in Lymm Village. After negotiations over the price followed by fund raising efforts, the yard was purchased for £500. The “Oder” was moved to the new location and remained as a floating club house until the club built its first land-based headquarters on the site of the present day premises. Eric Hurd and other Club members dug out the old loading arm which contained a sunken barge with a hydraulic excavator.
The Arm off the canal at Lymm in 1959 prior to clearing and dredging...
...and seen from the opposite direction
The sunken boat can be seen clearly in the Arm as can "Oder" on the top left
Clearance work in the Arm commences with a hydraulic excavator being used
The hydraulic excavator rips apart the sunken boat
The Arm clearance nearing completion with the slipway entrance boarded-off
The Arm when clearance was completed...
...and how it looks in 2011
The arm of canal extended a couple of hundred meters from the main line of the canal into the coal yard on the other side of what is now the Club's boundary wall. It entered the coal yard through a small tunnel with a loading bay situated behind it. Even though it has long-since been in-filled, the line of the coal yard arm can still be traced and the entrance portal (now bricked-up after a metre or so) can be seen as part of the boundary wall. It is fondly referred to by Club members as “Lymm Tunnel”.
The Arm and Slipway from the other direction with the entrance to Lymm Tunnel on the left
In this early 20th Century photograph of the canal drained after a breach what appears to be Lymm Tunnel can be seen on the far right
The remains of the in-filled "Lymm Tunnel"
The next task was to construct a slipway off the Arm. This was undertaken by Phil Bracegirdle and featured two mechanical winches (one of which is now located at the base of the Clubhouse steps) to haul boats out of the water on a trolley. This was also installed by Phil Bracegirdle who was also responsible for the construction of the trolley and for concreting of most of the yard.
The newly completed slipway prior to filling in 1959
The completed slipway as seen from the opposite side of the canal...
(Note the now demolished warehouse far right)
...from the other direction with boats out of the water for the winter...
(Note the absence of the Clubhouse and residential housing in the background)
...and the slipway in 2011 with the current Clubhouse and housing in the background
Once the Slipway was completed a trolley was constructed to bring boats out of the water on...
...as boat sizes increased so did the size and strength of the trolley
The first Clubhouse located close to where the Commodore's mooring is today
It was discovered that “Oder” possessed some rotten timbers and was deemed of no further use. It was consequently towed to Runcorn where it was sunk. The only structure on the site at this time was a gents' toilet. Female members had to walk into the Village to use the public conveniences there until the Clubhouse was constructed.
Preparations for the first barbeque at Lymm in 1959...
...and the barbeque in full swing
(Note the person bottom left who appears to be standing in the canal)
A later addition was the crane erected at the entrance to the Arm
The Club soon outgrew the timber Clubhouse and it was replaced by a more permanent building that was designed and built by Lymm CC members. It was the first section of the current structure to be built and was opened in 1962, enlarged in 1971 and again in 2007.
Construction work commenced on the new Clubhouse in 1961
The Clubhouse's undercroft, foundation brickwork and entrance steps taking shape
Lymm CC's new clubhouse was completed in 1962 and is the basis for today's building
Two photographs of the opening ceremony 28th June 1962
The slipway was refurbished to allow for a larger trolley fabricated by Leo Pollard to accommodate the longer and heavier boats of today. Over the years various workshops and storage facilities have been provided for the use of members. There is a woodwork shop adjacent to where the Dovecot was located (now removed) and an engineering workshop on the yard’s rear boundary wall adjacent to the entrance gate. There is also limited storage space beneath the clubhouse. As well as mains electricity outlets there are several water supply points, sanitary disposal and pump-out facilities for members.
Lymm moorings prior to bank protection work commencing...
(Note the gasometer where a short arm off the canal was located and today's jetty moorings are situated)
...with bank protection under-way...
...back-filling the piling...
...and ready for paving
The new Lymm moorings extended from the yard towards the winding hole near Oughtrington Wood and for various reasons the extent of the moorings was curtailed to the Lymm side of the winding hole. Angled jetty moorings were constructed by the entrance to the old gas works arm where the canal widened out. In more recent years they have been renovated and re-aligned.
Bank side moorings prior to construction of the jetty moorings
The 1971 Dunham Massey breach on the Bridgewater Canal
In 1971 there was a serious breach on the canal at Dunham Massey where the Bridgewater Canal crosses the River Bollin valley on an embankment and aqueduct. This serious breach separated the canal into two sections and effectively closed the Cheshire Ring of waterways to through traffic. To focus attention on the breach the Inland Waterways Association proposed to hold their 1972 Rally at Lymm. Naturally, members of Lymm CC were heavily involved in the organisation of the rally. The banks of the canal from the end of the Club moorings, past the winding hole to Oughtrington Woods were commandeered as temporary moorings and used for visiting boats. The rally drew media attention to the plight of the Bridgewater Canal and was successful in motivating the Canal's owners into reconstructing the embankment and aqueduct. In doing so, they were ensuring the canal's future and the through route of the Cheshire Ring cruising route.
Lymm CC's Committee (including Bob Ingham, Nell and Bernard Hesford)
discussing plans for the 1972 IWA Rally to be held at Lymm
Lymm CC members being interviewed for a local TV news slot
(Note one of the slipway winches in the foreground)
The Arm drained in 1977 for maintenance work
Pointing in progress in the drained Arm
(Note the Clubhouse extension)
Whilst it was drained the Arm was also dredged
The Commodore's Mooring adjacent to the Clubhouse
Lymm CC's Oughtrington moorings
New Moorings were secured at Oughtrington in 1981. The land is leased from the adjacent farm and extended from near to Lloyd (formally Oughtrington) Bridge as far as Oughtrington Wood. Permission was granted for two car parks down the bridle path that runs behind the moorings.
The renovation work that has been undertaken at the Lymm moorings in 2006
In 2006 the Lymm moorings were the subject of a renovation programme which included installation of electricity and uniform mooring posts allowing moorers to walk along the moorings without having to dodge mooring posts and ropes across the footpath. This was especially beneficial when walking down in the dark. The electrical systems on all moorings were overhauled and replaced in 2018.
The Jetty moorings on the site of the junction with the Lymm Gas Works Arm
The Mooring Fees Protest Rally at Lymm on 8th November 2006
When Peel Holdings, The Bridgewater Canal's owners announced the schedule for mooring charges for 2007, the proposed increase of nearly 200% incensed boat owners. On Wednesday 8th November 2006, a protest rally against the rise took place at Lymm. Fifty boats attended and the rally was covered by local newspapers and radio as well as the north-west television news programmes broadcast by both the BBC and ITV. Keith Moore... the Chairman of the Federation of Bridgewater Cruising Clubs and past Chairman of Lymm CC was interviewed as was Mike Webb from the Bridgewater Canal Department of Peel Holdings. The canal was also blockaded at Sale adjacent to the King's Ransom pub and at Worsley.
In 2007, the BBC presented their "Northwest Tonight" programme from Lymm. They also transmitted the weather forecast live from "Don Ross" cruising down the canal in front of the Lymm moorings with John Moult at the tiller.
The "Northwest Tonight" crew preparing for the programme
The BBC "on air"
During the course of the programme Lymm CC members were interviewed. In addition to speaking with Brian Gornell ("Forty Winks") the Commodore at the time they wanted a "gobby" man and women to interview. Brent Hindley ("Harry's Lad") and Angela Wood ("Total Eclipse") were nominated (I can't think why!) but Brent and Angela were introduced as a couple from Wigan... something that they both have their leg pulled about today!
Brian Gornell (hidden behind the bald sound man on the left), Angela Wood and Brent Hindley being interviewed by the BBC
In 2001 the Club received a legacy of £15000 from one of its founder members... Bob Ingham and it was decided to spend this legacy on the club house extension. Discussions took place, plans were drawn up and various presentations given to the members to discover what they wanted and as to how the proposed extension would look and operate. The members eventually took a vote as to how the plans were to proceed. It was not until the following year that work finally commenced on the extension and the work was eventually completed in August 2006. The extension was officially opened by the club's President... Nell Hesford in November 2006. In 2008 the kitchen was extended and refitted by Club members. This was completed in June 2008 and a plaque dedicated to the memory of Bob Ingham is displayed on the club house wall adjacent to the kitchen entrance. Also on display in the club house is a stained glass window worth £300 which was donated by Fred Swaithes. New tables and seating were purchased early in 2010 completing the refurbishment project.
Lymm CC's Clubhouse prior to re-cladding...
...and in 2014 with new cladding...
Even though the project is completed, it wasn’t the full extension planned. For economic reasons the extension work had been split into two phases. The first phase has concentrated on the kitchen, toilets, Elsan point and includes a wheelchair ramp for disabled access. The second phase will concentrate on extending the function area, stage and the artists' dressing room towards the boundary wall at the rear of the club house and so increasing the building’s width. This work may be accomplished in the future when funds allow.
Lymm CC's New Clubhouse Extension in 2007...
...and in 2014 with the extension re-clad...
...and also in 2014 from the other direction
The Fred Swaithes stained glass window
New interior seating was purchased in 2011. Around the same time the roof received attention and new guttering fitted, the eaves adjacent to the bar area were replaced and a new ceiling installed complete with modern concealed lighting. When these projects were completed the clubhouse was redecorated in 2012 and the bar was replaced in January 2013 to be named "The Merlin's Bar" in memory of past Commodore, Chairman, President and life-long member Bernard Hesford who had recently passed away.
Lymm CC's Clubhouse interior looking towards the stage
Lymm CC's Clubhouse interior looking towards the bar
Lymm CC's Clubhouse interior adjacent to the bar looking towards the kitchen
The new Merlin's Bar fitted in January 2013
The re-varnished dance floor on the 1st March 2014
Members old and new at the 50th Anniversary Celebrations in 2005
The 50th Anniversary Celebrations in full swing
In 2005 Lymm CC celebrated its Fiftieth Anniversary. The Club celebrated this auspicious occasion in true Lymm style with a party. Members old, new, past and present mingled together in the wonderful summer sunshine that the Commodore had ordered especially for the occasion. Past members were treated to a cruise along the canal as far as Agden.
Clearance work being undertaken at Oughtrington's car park
The car parks at Oughtrington fell into disuse during the 1990’s. A concerted effort by club members saw the reinstatement of one of the car parks in 2005. The second car park was located at the other end of the moorings is now fallow and the entrance gate can still be seen down the bridle path. As well as extending the car park a work bench was installed and barbeque area created. During late 2007 and early 2008 further improvement work was undertaken including reinforcing the banking separating the footpath from the the moorings in a similar manner to that undertaken at the Lymm moorings.
Bank-side improvements at Oughtrington completed in 2008
In recent years the Club has entered a float in the Lymm Village May Queen Carnival. In 2009 the Club's entry featuring a "Pirates of the Caribbean" theme won first prize. Lymm Village also holds an annual Scarecrow Competition and Lymm CC regularly enters a nautically themed scarecrow. In 2010 the Lymm May Queen Carnival success was duplicated with a float replicating a working narrowboat commemorating the Club's 55th birthday.
Lymm CC's 2009 entry for the Lymm Village May Queen Festival
The "Pirates" jubilant in their success at winning the competition
Lymm CC's entry into the 2009 Lymm Village Scarecrow Competition
In 2010 the Lymm May Queen Carnival success was duplicated with a float replicating a working narrowboat commemorating the Club's 55th birthday
In lateJanuary 2013 the Government announced the route for Phase Two of the proposed HS2 high-speed railway line from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds. Whilst inspecting the maps of the Northern Section's Proposed Route it was discovered that it crossed the Bridgewater Canal at Agden... exactly on Lymm CC's moorings. Not only does the railway line cross the Bridgewater Canal here but there is a junction at this location as well. Even though it will be many years before the construction work is due to commence it will be interesting to see how the situation develops. I know that at least one Lymm CC member has applied to the Mooring Officer for a mooring beneath the railway viaduct when it is built!
A 2007 photograph of Lymm CC's Agden Moorings
In 2018, in line with the terms and conditions of the Club's insurance company, it was necessary to renew the mains hook-up circuit at the Agden moorings. At a work party, a trench was dug the complete length of the moorings, new armoured cables laid and buried. When this was completed new hook-up sockets and individual circuit breakers attached to the previously installed wooden posts and connected up When this was completed the exercise was repeated at the Lymm moorings.
Trench digging in preparation for laying new electricity cables at Agden in 2018
The completed trench with cables laid ready for back-filling
Eric Livesey was a long-standing employee of the Bridgewater Canal Company who sadly passed away in 2015. Eric was a friend of LCC and did many favours for the Club. Alan Savage made a new bench to replace the vandalised one opposite the water point at Agden dedicated to his memory. Alan and his son Phil constructed the beautiful steel bench which was put in place by Bridgewater Canal Company's contractors supervised by Eric's son (also called Eric) on the 21st January 2019. Below are a few photographs taken by Lin Savage of the bench under construction and being installed.
Eric's bench under construction...
...unloading the bench from the van...
...digging the foundations...
...putting the bench in place...
...the bench concreted in place...
...and the completed installation
(All photographs - Lin Savage)
Dedication plaque on the bench at Agden
Lymm CC has had a website since the early 2000's and today it covers all aspects of the Club including how to join, as well as canal related news and views and a useful web links feature. The website can be found at https://lymm-cc.co.uk.
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Principal Officers and Commodores
|W E Brown||1978||R F Ingham||1981|
|W A Swaithes||1984||R M Williams||1987|
|B Hesford||1990||J White||1993|
|D S Swindell (Mrs)||1996||J E Hughes||1999|
|R Nicholl||2002||R B Munslow||2005|
|N Hesford (Mrs)||2008||K G Moore||2010|
|J Moult||2013||L Stone (Mrs)||2016|
|E Williams (Mrs)||2019||TBC||2022|
|W A Swaithes||1955-58||W E Brown||1959-61|
|P Bracegirdle||1962-63||H Jeffries||1964-66|
|R G Monk||1967||T H Tetlow||1968-70|
|R F Ingham||1971-73||W G Dick||1974-76|
|R F Ingham||1977||R W Buck||1978-80|
|R M Williams||1981-83||R B Munslow||1984-86|
|B Hesford||1986-89||R Nicholl||1990-92|
|J Carroll||1993-95||K C Moore||1996-98|
|L Pollard||1999-01||K C Moore||2002-05|
|R Mellors||2006-06||R W McCulloch||2007-10|
|J Melling||2010-14||J Kershaw||2014-16|
|M Gilbody (Mrs)||2016-19||K C Moore||2019 - Present Day|
W E Brown
|S H Donnelly||1959||A Holland||1960|
|H Fildes||1960||P Bracegirdle||1961|
|A S Dick||1962||H Jeffries||1963|
|G W Moody||1964||R G Monk||1965|
|H P Dyson||1966||T H Tetlow||1967|
|M G Goodman||1968||B J Royle||1969|
|N Jones||1970||J T Dean||1971|
|W G Dick||1972||T S Ellis||1973|
|H Marsh||1974||S Hartley||1975|
|F Ingham||1976||W Buck||1977|
|B Hesford||1978||R M Williams||1979|
|G A Worrall||1980||A Smith||1981|
|P V Cole||1982||A Waite||1983|
|D Swindells (Mrs)||1984||E Mellor Snr||1985|
|J Waite||1986||R Cocken||1987|
|G A V Hefford||1988||R Nicholl||1989|
|J Moult||1990||N Hesford (Mrs)||1991|
|K G Moore||1992||D Uttley||1993|
|G Morton||1994||C Moynihan (Mrs)||1995|
|N Probin (Mrs)||1996||J Kershaw||1997|
|L Pollard||1998||S H Williams||1999|
|P L Stone (Mrs)||2000||R Mellors||2001|
|A Malcolm||2002||W R Edisbury||2003|
|B Greenough||2004||A W J Whalley||2005|
|W Avery||2006||B Gornell||2007|
|D Ross||2008||L Williams (Mrs)||2009|
|N Foster||2010||P Greenough (Mrs)||2011|
|G Burden||2012||A Dutton||2013|
|P Durbridge||2014||A Layng||2015|
|T Durbridge (Mrs)||2016||Eleanor Muirhead (Mrs)||2017|
|Jon Jackson||2018||John Powell||2019|
|Brian Burns (TBC)||2020||Dave Burke (TBC)||2021|
The Committee of Lymm CC, with the exception of the Chairperson, is elected annually by members at the Annual General Meeting held on the first Tuesday in February every year. The Committee posts are as follows... Chairperson, Commodore, Vice-Commodore, Rear Commodore, Secretary, Treasurer, Magazine/Website Editor, Social Secretary, Wine Sub-Committee Chairperson, Clubhouse Officer, Engineering Officer, Harbourmaster, Membership Officer, Mooring Officer, Quartermaster, Security Officer and Development Officer. The posts are nominally for one year with the exception of the Chairperson, President and Vice-Presidents positions which are usually for three years.
In addition to the Committee and Principal Officers listed above there are many unsung heroes... far too many to be listed here, that have contributed to the Club and its facilities to make it what it is today. In February 2019 there were 189 members, 68 boats plus a waiting list for moorings. The Club is going from strength to strength as new members join and bring an added diversity of qualities, skills and knowledge to the Club.
Every year the club awards thirteen trophies to members for various activities which are presented by the Chairman at the Annual Laying Up Dinner Dance in November. They are as follows...
Navigation Cup -Awarded to the winner of the Navigation Trials - steel boats
Tobias Rose Bowl -Awarded to the winner of the Navigation Trials - GRP Boats
Jaybee Cup -Awarded for the best boat's log
Eric Hurd Rose Bowl -Awarded by the Commodore to the member making the most meritous cruise during the year
Holland Trophy -Awarded to the member who has contributed most to the life of the club in their year of office
Marcus Goodman Shield -Awarded to the member attending the most sailing events during the year
Elsie Swaithes Shield -Awarded to the Youth Member who has contributed most the the life of the Club during the year
Twenty One Trophy -Awarded to the new member giving the most support to the Club events during their first year
Junior Log Award -Awarded to the best log submitted by a Cadet or Youth Member
Roy Cocken Shield -Awarded to the best turned-out boat on the Opening Cruise
Denby Uttley Shield -Awarded for the best illuminated boat on the Illuminated Boat Cruise
Windlass Trophy -awarded to the boat negotiating the greatest number of locks in a year
There is also a Photographic Competition with prizes awarded for the best photographs taken throughout the year
The categories for the Photographic Competition are... Best Canal Photograph, Best Humorous Photograph and Best General Photograph judged by the Club's Chairperson.
Canalscape Trophy -awarded for the best photograph from the above categories and is judged by Cyril J Wood.
2010 - 2014 Chairman John Melling judging entries for the Photographic Competition assisted by 2011 Commodore Phyllis Greenough
In addition to the above there also the following...
Three Hundred Mile Plaque -awarded to members who have cruised over three Hundred miles off the Bridgewater Canal in a season
Mermaid Awards -awarded to members falling in the canal and witnessed by Committee Members
Brass Monkey Cruise Plaques -for boats taking part in the Brass Monkey Cruise usually held on Boxing Day
These awards are presented to the qualifying and deserving recipients at the Annual General Meeting in February.
A "rescued" bridge plaque attached to the outside wall of the Clubhouse
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A Snapshot of a Year With Lymm CC
Lymm CC enjoys a busy cruising schedule that encompasses cruises to the extremities of the Bridgewater Canal as well venturing onto the neighbouring Trent and Mersey and Leeds and Liverpool Canals as well as the River Irwell, Manchester Docks, Salford Quays and the Upper Reaches of the Manchester Ship Canal. We sometimes visit other cruising clubs in the North West such asStrawberry Island Boat Club in Doncaster, Windermere Sailing Club and Stafford Boat Club to name but a few.. usually by coach, but these visits do not generate cruising points or go towards the Three Hundred Mile Plaque!
The Club's year commences in February with the Annual General Meeting when various aspects of the running of the Club are discussed plus the election of Principal Officers and the Committee takes place. Following the AGM the Treasurer is present at the Clubhouse for three Sundays between midday and two in the afternoon to collect subscriptions and mooring fees from members who wish to pay in person. Social events early in the year include a Valentine's Night Party usually with a novelty theme, a St Patrick's Night social and the Clubhouse has even been converted into the "Lymm Odeon" cinema (complete with usherettes and kissing seats) for "Saturday Night at the Movies". At Easter the cruising season starts with the "Shake-Down" cruise. We usually cruise to either Wigan, Middlewich or Boothstown/Castlefield. 2008's Easter Cruise saw weather ranging from brilliant sunshine to snow, wind, hail stones and rain all with a period of a couple of days... fair weather sailors we are not! The Opening Cruise Dance has been themed as a 1940's night on occasion and is followed by the Opening Cruise. This can be to Grappenhall, Walton, Dunham Massey or Stockton Heath although it has been to Preston Brook and Worsley in years gone by. The rest of the year is punctuated by cruises to Castlefield in Manchester, Salford Quays on the Manchester Ship Canal, a cruise down the Manchester Ship Canal on board the Mersey Ferries, the Mark Addy in Manchester on the River Irwell, Saltersford Wide (between the tunnels) on the Trent and Mersey Canal, George Gleave's Bridge near Daresbury, Spike Bridge (between Walton and Moore), Walton Park at Sale, Oughtrington, the Annual FBCC Rally (at which Lymm CC regularly wins the trophy for the most boats attending from an individual club), as well as to many other locations along the length of the canal plus the Navigation Trials which are usually held outside the Clubhouse. The trials involve manoeuvring boats forwards and backwards and into the arm against the clock. The Playing Fields behind Oughtrington Parish Hall are the location of the Boaters' Summer Games when adults and children alike compete in various games for prizes. The highlight of the summer is the Commodore's Summer Cruise (see later).Near the end of 2009's summer an unusual excursion was White Water Rafting near Lake Bala in North Wales. A couple of weeks later members of Lymm CC were the first boaters to use the moorings and access point for the Trafford Centre. The season ends with a Closing Cruise dance followed the next day by the Closing Cruise itself. This can be to Grappenhall, The Old Number Three, Dunham Massey and other various locations, usually not too far from Lymm. On the weekend nearest to the 5th November there is a bonfire and barbeque at Agden moorings followed shortly afterwards by the Halloween Social. The Annual Laying Up Dinner Dance takes place in November at venues that are able to accommodate such a discerning clientele. Christmas is celebrated by two Christmas Parties... one for the children and one for the adults. On Boxing Day there is the "Brass Monkey Cruise" to The Old Number Three at Bollington. This has traditionally been on Boxing Day but occasionally takes place on New Year's Day. The year comes to a close with a New Year's Party. Members let in the New Year with dancing, food, fun and games in the time honoured fashion.
The Annual General Meeting in progress... this was the 2010 AGM
Members paying their subscriptions and mooring fees to the Treasurer
Tarts and Vicars at the 2010 Valentine's Night social event
"Lymm Odeon"... the Clubhouse laid out for "Saturday Night at the Movies"
(Note the "Kissing Seats" on the back row)
An Easter Bonnet Parade is a feature of the Easter "Shake-Down" Cruise
Unfurling the Lymm CC flag at the Opening Cruise
Boats from Lymm CC moored on the 1969 Opening Cruise cruise to Preston Brook...
...and boats waiting to leave the Lymm Moorings on the 2007 season's Opening Cruise
Boats from Lymm CC regularly take over the moorings at Castlefield, Manchester
Lymm CC members on a walk around the historical features of Castlefield, Manchester in 2011
(Photograph - Angela Wood)
Lymm CC filling Saltersford Wide (Between Barnton and Saltersford Tunnels)
Phyllis Greenough (with past and future Commodores) being presented with her "poking stick" at the season's first bonfire
Wellies and Onsies around the bonfire between the tunnels
A musical interlude aboard "Flossie" between the tunnels in May 2002
(Photograph - Arthur Malcolm)
Lymm CC regularly visits the Moorings at Boothstown as here in 2004
Lymm CC visit to Stafford Boat Club in May 2013
Lymm CC members past and present plus visitors to the Invitation Cruise May 2014
Lymm CC members on a walk around Worsley's canal history features in 2009
(Photograph - Angela Wood)
At the 2014 Navigation Trials members were given the opportunity to drive "Doug the Tug" at Hesford Marine
The Navigation Trials are a popular Summer activity (provided you don't mind getting wet)
Lymm CC's entry in the 2010 Lymm May Queen Festival procession
Boater's Summer Games at Oughtrington
A summer barbeque at "Spike Bridge" between Walton and Moore
A summer cruise to Moore
An unusual excursion in August 2009 was White Water Rafting near to Lake Bala in North Wales
(Photograph - National White Water Centre)
Salford Quays on the Manchester Ship Canal is a favourite destination...
... as is the Mark Addy on the River Irwell in Manchester
In 2011 the visit to Salford Quays included a cruise down the Manchester Ship Canal
A first-time visit to the Trafford Centre in 2009 celebrated the opening of moorings and boaters' access...
...as was the visit to "Cloud 23" cocktail bar a third of the way up the Beetham Tower (Hilton Hotel) in Manchester
The view of Castle Quay - Castlefield Basin from the 23rd floor of Beetham Tower
In 2019 we invited members from Mersey Motor Boat Club as guests for our Invitation Cruise
George Gleave's Bridge near Daresbury is a regular cruise destination
Members attending the 2019 Illuminated Cruise...
...and boats taking part in the 2019 Illuminated Cruise
The 2008 Closing Cruise was to Statham outside Lymm
Bonfire and Barbeque at Agden - November 2007
Bonfire and barbeque at Agden
2009 Halloween Social Fancy Dress Prize Winners... Nigel Foster, Emily Anderton and Angela Wood
The Guest of Honour, Commodore and her Husband with the Chairman's Wife and the Chairman at Lymm CC's 2009 Annual Dinner Dance
(Left to right: Mrs Kathryn Buckley - President Lymm Lions, Lily Williams - LCC Commodore, Stuart Williams, Pauline McCulloch, Bob McCulloch - LCC Chairman)
Lymm CC members making their way to the Dining Hall at the 2009 Annual Dinner Dance
Time for food at the Annual Children's Christmas Party
Santa arriving at Lymm CC by narrowboat
Once inside the Clubhouse Santa, the Naughty Snowman and his Helpers have a captive audience
(Photograph - Angela Wood)
Brass Monkey Cruise stalwarts at the Old Number Three
Fun and games at the New Year's Party
On the Commodore's Summer Cruises we go further afield...
Boats from Lymm CC on the 2005 Summer Cruise to Llangollen at the Queen's Head on the Montgomery Canal
(Photograph featured in the March 2009 edition of "Waterways World")
Lymm CC members at the Eldonian Village on the Summer Cruise to Liverpool in 2007
(Photograph - David Malcolm)
During the summer, the Commodore's Summer Cruise is a popular way to visit locations on the canals a little further afield in the company of fellow Club members. Usually for around two weeks, past destinations have included the Four Counties Ring (with an excursion to Stourport), the Chester Ring (including the Manchester Ship Canal and Shropshire Union Canal), The Llangollen and Montgomery Canals, The Leeds and Liverpool Canal to Liverpool (including an excursion into the River Mersey), and 2008's Summer Cruise was along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in the opposite direction to Skipton. In 2009 we cruised along the Rivers Douglas and Ribble to visit the Preston River Festival in Preston Dock. Afterwards we retraced our steps down the River Ribble to the Savick Brook, the Ribble Millennium Link and the Lancaster Canal.
A visit to Bizzie Lizzie's Fish and Chip Restaurant was one of the successes of the 2008 Summer Cruise to Skipton
The Summer Cruise 2009 was to Preston Dock Festival, the Ribble Link and the Lancaster Canal
(Photograph - Mark Greenough)
Llangollen Marina in 2010 - most of the boats belong to Lymm CC members
Waiting to enter the Manchester Ship Canal before heading along it to Frodsham and up the River Weaver in 2011
(Photograph - Jim Wood)
In 2014 we returned to the Llangollen Canal
And sometimes we go even further afield
The "International" (nice toilets) at Rüdesheim, Germany was visited on our trip up the River Rhine in 2006
Many of us went to Paris in 2007 to sample French cuisine and visit many places of interest
On the 2007 Scottish trip we went to the Edinburgh Tattoo, the Falkirk Wheel and Loch Lomond
In 2008 we ventured to Lake Garda in Italy and one of the locations visited was Venice...
...and the Dolomite Mountains was another
In St Moritz, Switzerland on the 2010 visit to Lake Como...
...and on a Lake Como ferry also in 2010
Male Lymm CC members on the 2011 Nile Cruise...
(Photograph - Bonnie Goldberg)
...the Lady members were not to be outdone
(Photograph - Mike Goldberg)
Beryl Moult has arranged many short breaks and trips for Club members to foreign parts including cruises on the Rivers Danube (2002) and Rhine (2003 and 2006), a trip to Scotland to visit the Edinburgh Tattoo, Falkirk Wheel and Loch Lomond (2007), a trip to Paris (2007) and in 2008 we went to Italy where we visited Lake Garda, the Dolomite Mountains, Verona and Venice. In 2010 there was a trip to Lake Como with an excursion to St Moritz and other highlights of the area and more recently in 2011 there was a cruise along the River Nile (no points for this cruise I'm afraid).
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Other Bridgewater Canal Boat Clubs...
Bridgewater Motor Boat Club (BMBC) - Runcorn
A surprisingly rural atmosphere at BMBC's moorings in Runcorn
BMBC was the first boat club to be formed on the Bridgewater Canal at Runcorn in 1951. The club was formed after the Bridgewater Canal Company relaxed their rules preventing pleasure craft on the canal. Initially, the club had moorings around the old Sprinch’s Boat Yard, adjacent to the “Big Pool” in Runcorn. Here is located the dry dock and slip way operated by club members and open to all canal users for a reasonable fee.
BMBC's Walton moorings
The "Top Locks" moorings adjacent to Waterloo Bridge
The club went on to obtain additional moorings at Walton by the A56 "Toast Rack" bridge and at “Top Locks” close to Waterloo Bridge in Runcorn (the present terminus of the canal). The clubhouse adjacent to the dry dock and slipway has recently been rebuilt and extended by members. The club has a full cruising programme and promotes good relations with other cruising clubs. Their website can be visited at... www.freewebs.com/bridgewatermbc
Worsley Cruising Club
Worsley Cruising Club's headquarters and moorings at Patricroft
Worsley Cruising Club was founded on the 1st December 1958 by twenty five people attending an inaugural meeting at the Bridgewater Hotel in Worsley. The first moorings were in Patricroft and were later extended from Patricroft Bridge almost as far as Barton Lane Aqueduct on the approach to Barton Swing Aqueduct. Additional moorings were later obtained at Butt's Basin in Leigh.
Worsley Cruising Club's moorings at Butt's Basin in Leigh
The Club became a Limited Company in 1972 for administration purposes. Since that date the Club has expanded and built an enlarged clubhouse adjacent to the small arm off the Bridgewater Canal at Patricroft. The arm off the main line of the canal is spanned by a footbridge allowing access to members' boats moored along the side of the canal. The Clubhouse is also in the process of being expanded, doubling its size as well as providing disabled toilets and improving access. The club has currently 186 members of all ages and was one of the founder members of the Federation of Bridgewater Cruising Clubs. Worsley CC does not have its own website but contact details can be found at http://www.manchesterdirectory.co.uk/info/26791
Sale Cruising Club
Sale Cruising Club's moorings, headquarters and slipway at Sale
The inaugural meeting of Sale Cruising Club was on the 20th August 1959, starting with nine boats, by the founder members Jim Brewer, Fred Rowson and Jim Cox. The club quickly grew in membership, which the moorings between Sale and Marsland Road bridges could accommodate, until with the advent of steel hulls, and more members. In 1971 the slipway was constructed and electricity made available with further moorings obtained in 1976 at the former location of Key Line Cruisers at Timperley. Unfortunately the slipway became unsafe and was removed during 2008.
Sale Cruising Club's Timperley moorings
In 1975 the club became a Limited Company that was reformed in 1994 to take advantage of changes in law which allowed the licensing of a clubhouse. Prior to this date club meetings were held at the Bull's Head, the Leigh Arms and Sale Rugby Club.In August 1994 the clubhouse was constructed and during recent years additional toilets and sanitary disposal facilities have been provided plus improvements to the electricity supply have been made. Their website can be visited at Sale Cruising Club Web Site.
Watch House Cruising Club (Stretford)
Watch House Cruising Club's Headquarters adjacent to Hawthorn Lane Aqueduct
This club was founded on 22nd March 1964. Although based at the Watch House in Stretford the Club did not officially take over responsibility of the old "Watch House" buildings until about September 1964. Prior to being taken over by Watchouse CC the buildings, which are the oldest in Stretford have been... a farmhouse, the home of the Watchkeeper who kept an eye on the nearby River Mersey's flood water levels, dwelling houses, a coffin store, saddle manufacturers, canal horse stables and a hire boat base. The Watchouse is adjacent to Hawthorn Lane Aqueduct which is similar in design and construction to Brindley's original Barton Aqueduct over the River Irwell only on a smaller scale. The Club was invited to join the Federation of Bridgewater Cruising Clubs in 1967 and hosted the Federation Rally that year. The Club expanded their premises in 1978 when they took over the building previously used by Salford Sea Cadets. The Club also became a Limited Company at this time.
Watchouse Cruising Club's moorings
Over the years Watch House Cruising Club has grown in size and at present it has 29 full members with boats and 6 associate members. The club house and bar are open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings as well as Sunday afternoons when not cruising. The moorings are situated on the off-side of the canal and stretch from the River Mersey Aqueduct to just past the club house. Their website can be visited at www.whccstretford.com
Federation of Bridgewater Cruising Clubs (FBCC)
In March 1960 the B.M.B.C., Lymm Cruising Club, Sale Cruising Club and Worsley Cruising Club joined together to form the Federation of Bridgewater Cruising Clubs. Later additions were Watch House Cruising Club and Preston Brook Boat Owners Association (now disbanded) who joined the Federation not long after they were formed. The Federation's primary function is provide a united front representing all the Bridgewater Canal's cruising clubs to the Canal's owners (Bridgewater Canal Company - part of Peel Holdings) and the Bridgewater Trust on issues concerning boating on the Canal. The Federation also holds an annual rally of boats hosted by member clubs on a rota basis. The rally promotes boating on the Bridgewater Canal and bring together similarly minded people at least once a year (see Anatomy of a Rally below).
Boats moored at the Annual FBCC Boat Rally at Astley...
...and again but this time at Lymm...
To commemorate the 250th anniversary of the opening of the Bridgewater Canal the Federation had a stand at the 2011 Liverpool Boat Show (later known as Spring on the Waterfront, Liverpool) displaying old and recent photographs of the canal.
Historic narrowboats in Salthouse Dock during the 2011 Liverpool Boat Show
The Federation is also involved in Canalwatch... a scheme that looks after security and policing along the Bridgewater Canal, the Inland Waterways Association and the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs and is the only boating organisation which holds direct consultations with the Bridgewater Canal Company Limited. Meetings take place bi-monthly at Lymm CC's headquarters in Lymm. The FBCC does not have its own website but details may be found at the Association of Waterways Cruising Club's website which can be viewed at http://awcc.org.uk
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Anatomy of an FBCC Annual Boat Rally
Every year the Federation of Bridgewater Cruising Clubs holds a boat rally. The member societies take it in turn to host the Rally at various locations along the Bridgewater Canal. In 2009 it was the turn of Lymm CC to host the forty sixth FBCC Annual Rally. The organisation and planning of the Rally commenced nearly two years earlier when a Rally Committee within Lymm CC was formed, chaired by Keith Moore who was also Chairman of the FBCC and a past Chairman and Commodore of Lymm CC. The Committee's first task was to delegate responsibility for various aspects of the Rally to various people who had expertise in the various areas such as Moorings, Marquee Management, Bar Management, Entertainment, Catering, etc. As the Rally neared and for the last twelve months preparations have been in earnest with the frequency of the meetings increased to every month to ensure that all aspects of the Rally were in hand.
The Bridgewater Canal work boat that was to be the floating bridge at the 2009 FBCC Annual Rally at Lymm
The first physical evidence that the Rally was nearing was the arrival in April at Lymm CC of "WB No 6"... one of the Bridgewater Canal Company's work boats. "WB No 6" was to be used as a floating footbridge allowing boaters access to the rally site from the towpath. Lymm CC's Clubhouse, which was the rally location, is located on the off-side of the canal and the floating bridge would allow access from the towpath and could be easily moved up the "Arm" off the canal in front of Lymm CC's Clubhouse to allow uninterrupted passage of boats along the canal. The weekend before the Spring Bank Holiday was spent preparing as well as a general tidying up of the club's yard (not that it was untidy in the first place), repainting was undertaken and other work such as covering part of the canal arm in front of the Clubhouse in preparation for the marquee arriving and being erected. Lymm CC's yard for the annual FBCC Rally. The place was a hive of activity with members drafted in from all as far away as Longbeach, California. Below is a selection of photographs illustrating the work in progress by a few of Lymm CC's members involved in the Rally preparations.
Paul Savage and Guy Burden constructing the floating bridge steps
Stephen Fahey preparing signage
The "Grunt and Groan Gang" covering the Arm for the erection of the marquee
John Moult cutting flooring for the marquee on a circular saw
Paul Bidston freshening-up the sign writing on the workshop
Mike Goldberg (American journeyman) smoothing the floating bridge's handrails
Phil Savage welding new handrail supports for the end of the Arm
On the Friday before the Bank Holiday Weekend there was a last Rally Committee Meeting to ensure that all the last minute tasks had been completed. All the Chairman's boxes were ticked and we looked forward to a successful and enjoyable rally. The only variable which was outside our control was the weather but it seemed that Keith Moore had that in hand as well!
The Main Marquee beneath a threatening sky
The Bridgewater Canal at Lymm viewed from the Floating Bridge
A couple of days before the rally was to take place there was a major problem with the bar and drinks supplier. Their "take it or leave it" attitude lost them the contract to supply the drinks and alcohol at the rally and an alternative supplier had to be found. Needless to say, one of Lymm CC's members came up trumps and within a matter of hours beer/lager pumps were being installed and the drinks were being delivered.
Part of the Main Marquee straddling the Arm off the Bridgewater Canal seen being boarded out earlier
Looking down the furnished Main Marquee with the stage on the left
The "posh" end of the Marquee... the Conservatory
The first visitors started to arrive on the Friday and they brought with them overcast weather and occasional showers. However they were greeted with a smile and asked if they would like tea and cake which was being served in the clubhouse. That evening there was a hot pot supper served in the marquee with entertainment provided by Corbett and Gray.
The Main Marquee during the Hot Pot Supper on Friday evening
The Saturday morning dawned bright, sunny and warm. After breakfast was served in the Conservatory there were stalls in the Marquee and a model boat display courtesy of Runcorn and District Model Scale Boats. Members of this group brought models ranging from basic radio controlled cabin cruisers to a perfectly detailed scale model on a Royal Navy aircraft carrier complete with hovering helicopters, Sea Harriers on the deck and rotating radar scanners.
Some of the stalls located in the Main Marquee
A scale model of a Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier
A model narrow boat complete with interior fittings and crew
A remote controlled scale model of a Mersey tug assisting with the floating bridge...
...and later on with a plastic bag around the propeller so its not just full-sized boaters that suffer from this problem
Dave Ross on bridge duty
There was also a model narrowboat with a perfectly detailed interior and steam launches which featured operating steam engines (lots of brass and copper) with remote controlled steering and forwards, reverse and speed. A perfect remote controlled scale model of a River Mersey Tug even tried to move the floating bridge. This model featured a "Kort Nozzle"... a circular rudder surrounding the propeller. It was humorous to discover that this model suffered one of the same problems that full-sized boats have in that a plastic bag wrapped itself around the propeller. The numerous stalls were open for business selling books, bric-a-brac, toys, boat requirements, canalia, tiller pins and lace plates. There was a Dog Competition, Lymm Samba Band gave a performance followed by Chadderton Brass Band and the Commodore's Games (basically an excuse to get wet).
The Dog Competition
The Chadderton Brass Band Recital
The Commodores' Games in full flow... even the dog on the left was laughing!
Time for a catch-up and a pint
Some of the friendly bar staff ready to quench thirsts
Two photographs of the Illuminated Boats Parade
The evening continued with entertainment in the Large Marquee in the shape of a band called "The Armadillos" followed by Jed Stone... a comedian. After "The Armadillos" had been on for their second set there was a parade of illuminated boats. On Sunday the weather was even better than the previous day. The stalls were relocated to outside to accommodate the non-denominational church service, the children's fancy dress competition, the presentation of prizes, speeches, etc, the hand bell ringing demonstration by the Brierton Handbell Ringers and busking for charity.
One of the numerous stalls adjacent to the Slipway
The Children's Fancy Dress Competition
The Brierton Handbell Ringers
The Dignitaries aboard NB "Stork" during the official "Sail Past"...
...and later in the Marquee for the Speeches and Award Ceremony
Many dignitaries from the Bridgewater Canal community, including FBCC officials, Mr and Mrs Mike Webb from the Bridgewater Canal Company Limited and Warrington's Mayor and Mayoress were invited to attend. After a reception the dignitaries boarded NB "Stork" and the local charity boat "Wizard" for the official sail past to inspect the boats attending the Rally. On their return they had a meal before giving speeches, presenting trophies and awards in the Big Marquee. The evening brought yet more entertainment in the Big Marquee with local group "The Classics" followed by "Maxine"... a saxophonist. When "The Classics" had been on for a second set the entertainment was concluded the last full day of the Rally was brought to a close.
The Auction under way
The next morning was warm, dry and bright and after breakfast was the Auction with Bob McCulloch as Auctioneer. The items on offer ranged from teddy bears and stuffed animals used to decorate the Marquees to a portable satellite television system. When the Auction was completed it was time to say farewell to our guests and wish them a save journey home. The Rally was deemed a great success and many visitors commented that it was the best FBCC Rally they had been to for many years... if not the best they had ever been to. Praise indeed for the many people that worked selflessly giving their time, expertise, materials and equipment to ensure the success of the Rally.
The rally plaque struck for the 2009 FBCC Rally
The plaque specially struck to commemorate the Rally was based on a "Manchester Halfpenny". This was a token used in the eighteenth century as an alternative to officially minted coins of small denominations. They were issued by manufacturers and trades people and redeemed by shopkeepers and trades people, sometimes in towns other than that where they were issued. The design of the plaque is based on the reverse side of the token and has the words "Success to Navigation" and the Egerton Family (of Bridgewater Canal fame) Coat of Arms inscribed on it. With the popularity of leisure boating the motto is equally applicable today.
The view from the Bridge at Sunset
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First of all I would like to thank the late Richard Munslow who "sewed the seed" by suggesting that I write the history of Lymm CC and who diligently looked after the Club's archives for many years, Keith Moore and the late John Moult for checking the text for accuracy. I would also like to thank my fellow Lymm CC members (both past and present) who have left a legacy of photographs in the archive, members who have lent photographs and documents for scanning and for supplying me with stories and anecdotes for inclusion in this eBook, and lastly but by no means least... my wife Ange, for her encouragement, putting up with me whilst working on yet another project and her help in making the manuscript “readable”. I’ll apologize beforehand for the quality of some of the photographs... many of which have started to fade and generally showing their age (and not fixable with "Photoshop"), for anything significant that I may have omitted, for any inaccuracies that may have crept into the text or any embarrassment caused by relating any of the stories or incidents or if the reader disagrees with any of the opinions expressed by either myself or related by others. This e-Book and website was written in HTML format using Microsoft "Expression Web".
Cyril J Wood
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|So You Want To Go Canal Cruising?|
|Book 8 - 2012|
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|Book 11 - 2015|
|Book 12 - 2016|
|Book 13 - 2017|
|Book 14 - 2018|
|Book 15 - 2019|
|Book 16 - 2020|
|Canals on Screen|
|Photography in One|
|The Manchester and Salford Junction Canal|
|Wonders of the Waterways|
|nb Total Eclipse|
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