Old photos of Canal sought for new visitor centre

Grand Western Canal

Posted on: 12 July 2012

An appeal has been issued for old photos of the Grand Western Canal to feature in displays at the new visitor centre when it opens later this Summer.

While the centre is still being developed at the Canal Basin in Tiverton, Canal Rangers are working with specialists to create a range of displays about the Canal’s rich history and wildlife.
The visitor centre is due to open in August and will feature a touch-screen system as well as hands-on activities and attractive wall-based displays, charting the history of the Canal.
However, in some instances there seems to be little photographic evidence of the canal’s history; such as the campaign to save the Canal in the 1960s, including the march from Lowdwells to Tiverton.

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Community, said:

“The canal’s history is fascinating, but in some cases we really need the right photos to illustrate them and bring it to life – which is where we need the help of the local community. Any good quality old photo of any topic at the Grand western Canal is of interest, including maintenance work. These photos will provide a much greater sense of connection for visitors and local people when they are looking at the panels in the new centre.”

Councillor Des Hannon, Devon County Council Member for Tiverton East, said:

“Our canal is approaching a very big birthday indeed. 200 years is a long time and lots of history has passed under those beautiful bridges. There must be masses of canal pictures squirrelled away in attics and albums. Now’s the perfect time to fish them out and share them. I’m particularly keen to see images of the 1960s campaigners who saved the canal from destruction. It’s down to their public spirit that we still have such a treasure to celebrate.”

Councillor Kevin Wilson, Chairman of the Canal’s Joint Advisory Committee and Mid Devon District Councillor for Cranmore, said:

“The canal is and always has been a magnet for photographers both old, young and very young. Everyone sees things differently and from different perspectives. By using not just visitor donations but local photographic contributions as well, we hope to satisfy all our visitors’ requirements and give that all important local connection which is so vital in this type of undertaking.”

Councillor Ray Radford, Devon County Councillor for Willand and Uffculme and Mid Devon District Councillor for Halberton, said:

“What a wonderful idea, it will be great to look at old and new photos of the canal of actions and events over the years. I can remember one year when the river was very low, when the Tiverton Round Table ran the very successful raft race, we held it on the canal. I never took any photos, but maybe somebody did; if so, we would like to see them. Please search around for anything to show the history of our wonderful canal.”

While it will not be possible to use all of the photos provided by the public, many of those which are not used in the displays will still be made accessible to visitors within an photo archive on the visitor centre’s touch-screen system.

If anyone is willing to lend any interesting photographs featuring the Canal from the 1970s or earlier, please contact the Canal Rangers on 01884 254072. Alternatively they can be posted to Grand Western Canal, The Moorings, Canal Hill, Tiverton EX16 4HX or email gwcanal@devon.gov.uk

If posting or emailing, please include your name, phone number and address and any details you have about when and where the photo was taken and who or what the photo features. The Canal Rangers will then scan the photo and return it. 

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Posted in: Environment