Mark’s History: Sunken coal barges and the Leeds Liverpool Canal ‘motorway’

31 March 2019

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Imagine taking a walk alongside a motorway – probably not the most pleasant of things to do! writes Mark Stevenson.

But that is what it would have been like taking a walk along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal back in the day.

leeds liverpool canal 2

Photo: Mark Stevenson

leeds liverpool canal 3

Photo: Mark Stevenson

Built to carry goods from the mills of Leeds it was also used to carry coal to the power station at Kirkstall. Much of the power station has gone but a few clues remain to what once was.

Aire Valley Marina, on Redcote Lane, was once the wharf used to unload coal for the power station.

Fishing in the canal in the 1970s. Photo: Eric Miles

When the power station closed in the mid-70s it became a playground of sorts for the local children.

Two sunken coal barges were an ideal spot to catch fish and frogs as time went on, and the old Basin was bought and turned into the marina it is today.

Canal fishing

Canal Fishing by Eric Miles

The barges are still there under the water, with the odd bit still above the surface.

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