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About SCRS

Society History


The idea of forming a Canal Society for the Sankey was to widen the earlier aims of Halton and Warrington Councils so that the country’s first modern canal would be fully restored. 

There is only one 'First Canal of the Industrial Revolution' - the Sankey Canal, which had been allowed to fall into a severely neglected state by the 1970’s.  The Society intends to ensure that the canal’s primacy is fully acknowledged, and that funds are found to return it to full navigation.

The Sankey Canal Restoration Society (SCRS) was formed in 1985, with the help and encouragement of the St Helens Groundwork Trust.  The principal aim of the Society is to achieve full restoration of the canal.  To this end, the Society actively publicises and promotes the cause of the canal, particularly in the three boroughs through which it runs – Halton (Widnes), Warrington, and St Helens.

Since SCRS was formed, St Helens Metropolitan Borough Council has been moved to gain extensive funds for work on the canal within its boundaries.  The most spectacular work involved the restoration of the New Double Locks.  Being connected to the network of restoration societies paid off here, in that the Callis Mill works of the Rochdale Canal Society supplied the gates at a fraction of the quoted commercial price.  If we hadn’t been able to tell the local Council about Callis Mill, the Locks would probably have been restored with solid barriers rather than gates.

The Society supplements and supports the work the three boroughs carry out themselves, particularly through their respective leisure services, covering the canal's length.  In turn, the boroughs have positive policies towards the canal and its restoration.

The Society produced its own 'Statement of Intent' in the form of a booklet entitled 'Sailing the Sankey' (now sold out) - in which the obstructions to navigation were listed.  A feasibility study was completed in the mid-1990's and various studies into linking the canal to other waterway systems have been undertaken.

We continue to protect and restore, where possible, the waterway’s remaining infrastructure.

Work parties are regularly arranged at locations along the canal throughout the year, approximately every fortnight.  Please contact us or see our Facebook page for details.

SCRS supported the Linking the Locks  project between Spike Island Marina and Fiddler’s Ferry Marina.  Hopefully further improvements can be pursued in the future.


Sankey Milestones.  This journal is published every four months and sent free to Members.  Regular features include: details of forthcoming Society activities, contacts for the various work-parties and volunteering in general, venues for the meetings, articles on a wide variety of waterway topics.  The Editor is Jamie Highton.


Last Edited: 19 Mar 2024

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