A COMMEMORATIVE event will mark the 100th anniversary of the closure of Bradford Canal.

On July 15, 2022, it will be exactly 100 years since the last commercial boat descended the Bradford Canal to Shipley.

To commemorate the canal's closure, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society will open their heritage boat Kennet to the public next weekend at Gallows Bridge, Shipley.

A spokesperson for the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society said: "The canal had a chequered early history, from being central to the development of the town in the late 18th century, to being blamed for a cholera epidemic in the 1850s. This resulted in canal’s first closure in 1866."

However, the canal re-opened on April 16, 1873, and continued to provide transport facilities for the town until 1922.

The spokesperson said: "This unusual history should not blind us to the very real importance of the Bradford Canal."

Originally proposed by Bradford merchants as an integral part of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, it was actually built by a separate company, though the two canals had a joint office on Moor Row until around 1850.

The canal was to prove even more important than those merchants could have wished in supporting the development of Bradford.

During the next century and a half, the woollen and worsted industries came to rely upon raw materials delivered by boat from Liverpool and Hull.

The canal also carried limestone from Craven for purifying the products of the iron works at Bowling and Low Moor, as well as building stone.

The last boat to make its way down the canal in July 1922 was the steamer Beta, recently purchased by Benjamin C Walls after he set up his carrying company in 1921.

Despite the closure, the Walls family continued to be involved with canal carrying until canals were nationalised in 1948.

To commemorate the canal closure, the heritage boat Kennet will open at Gallows Bridge, Shipley, close to the old junction with the Bradford Canal, on Saturday, July 16, and Sunday, July 17, from 11am to 4pm.

The Lord Mayor of Bradford, members of the Walls family and representatives of Bradford Council and the Canal and River Trust will be present at 10am on the 16th for a short trip on the Kennet.

Afterwards, at 11.15am, a society member will lead a public walk along the remains of the Bradford Canal.

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