Crafts And Carols To Raise Cash For Foxton Inclined Plane Boat Lift

By David Prudames | 10 November 2003
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Shows a black and white photograph of the Inclined Plane Boat Lift showing the two water-filled tanks moving up and down the steep slope.

Photo: Foxton Inclined Plane Boat Lift on July 10, 1900, the day it opened. Courtesy of Foxton Canal Museum.

Staff at Foxton Canal Museum in Leicestershire are hoping a bit of seasonal cheer will help raise cash to improve visitor facilities and help restore the Foxton Inclined Plane Boat Lift.

A magnificent but uneconomic feat of Victorian engineering, the lift was opened in 1900 to offer a quick way up a 75-foot hill on the Grand Union Canal, previously only navigable via a flight of ten locks.

The Foxton Inclined Plane Trust will be holding a Winter Crafts Fayre on Saturday November 29, while on November 30 there’s a chance to pick a Christmas present with a difference at the museum to an accompaniment of Carols by the Canal.

Profits from the events will go towards raising £20,000 in support of an application for a £2 million lottery grant to fund improved visitor facilities, interpretation and maintenance.

"It is really important that we help raise the match-funding for the lottery bid," explained Trust Chairman David Stevenson.

Shows a photograph of the exterior of the Foxton Canal Museum.

Photo: opened in 1989, Foxton Canal Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the lift and canals it served. Courtesy of Foxton Canal Museum.

"Public support has been very generous in the past and we hope that we can rely upon visitors to these events to support the project and get an unusual Christmas present at the same time!"

A world famous waterway site, the lock flight at Foxton was opened in 1814 and has been in constant use ever since - unlike the Inclined Plane. In 1900, in a bid to fight off competition from the emerging railways, the Inclined Plane Boat lift was built.

Carrying two narrow boats or a barge in each of its two water-filled tanks, the lift cut journey times up the hill from 45 minutes to just 12, but it was closed down in 1911 to save money and never reopened.

It is hoped that with a £2 million grant, the Trust can improve access and visitor facilities, clear trees from the site and make the upper canal arm of the lift water tight in order to fill it again.

"Foxton is a great place to visit at any time," said Museum Keeper, Mike Beech. "With the added attraction on the Sunday of carol singers and hand bell ringers we are hoping lots of people will come and visit."

For full details of the fund-raising events click through to the Foxton Canal Museum page via the link below.

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