European Waterways Heritage Project - UK team

Exploring the cultural heritage of the Rochdale and Ashton canals


The European Waterways Heritage (Euwather) project is a joint research project between the University of Brighton and a number of researchers and community partners in the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. This blog is by the UK team. Our research is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and runs from Oct 2015 to August  2017.

The project aims to help realise the potential of inland waterways heritage for sustainable and accessible development and regeneration. To do this we are using the Rochdale and Ashton Canals as a case study. These run from Manchester outwards through the Pennines (or into Manchester, depending on your perspective), and form part of the ‘Pennine Ring’.

We are madly gathering information about the material and cultural heritage of these canals, and uploading it to a giant database of canal heritage, which will be accessible to all in the future, on a creative commons licence. Our colleagues in the Netherlands are also working with mobile apps, which can be used to create heritage trails. We will launch three heritage trails using one of these apps and the materials we create. In future, others will be able to use the materials to create their own heritage trails.

At the same time, we are thinking about the meanings of this heritage, how it draws on existing representations of canals, the industrial and post-industrial North of England and our assumptions about what heritage development is and should be able to achieve.

In the UK, the team working on the project are Prof Neil Ravenscroft, Dr Paul Gilchrist and Abigail Wincott, all based at the University of Brighton. We are working with the Canal and River Trust.

Our international partners are:

  • Francesco Vallerani, Università Cà Foscari, Venice
  • Francesco Visentin, Università Cà Foscari, Venice
  • Kitty Zijlmans, Leiden University
  • Maartje van den Heuvel, Leiden University
  • Laura Bertens, Leiden University
  • David Pavon, Universitat de Girona
  • Dolors Roset, Universitat de Girona
  • Anna Ribas Palom, Universitat de Girona
  • Sandra Ricart Casadevall, Universitat de Girona
  • Mark Opmeers, SPINlab, VU University Amsterdam
  • Eriberto Eulisse, Civilta’ dell’acqua
  • Stephen Higham, Canal and Rivers Trust
  • Lucy Rogers, Canal and Rivers Trust
  • Marleen Maarleveld, Dutch Recreational Waterways Foundation
  • Jaap Brouwer, Dutch Recreational Waterways Foundation

If you love canals, study canals, want to use canal heritage in the future, then we would love to hear from you. Especially if you have any original artefacts or archive materials which we can add to our database! fallingroydbridge14_cc_attrib_noncomm_nomix_andrew_batram