ECP&DA - How it started

Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association (ECP&DA)
These pages tell the history of the Erewash Canal with regard to work documented and carried out by the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association (ECP&DA) volunteers going back to the 1960s.

Friday 22 September 1967 - the following article was published in the Long Eaton Advertiser:
The proposal made in a Government White Paper not to include most of the length of the Erewash canal in the list of waterways to be kept open has provoked strong comment from one Long Eaton canal user. Mr. D. J. Aisop. of 2. Sandown-road. Toton who is owner of the pleasure cruiser "Erewash Princess" which makes trips between Sandiacre and Long Eaton along the canal says that this will result in the formation of a "stagnant pool of water which inside a year will fill with rubbish, and weeds. "It will be no worse than a town tip".

Mr Alsop uses the canal every week and be said that even now it gets full of old bicycles and scrap. Mr. Alsop said that in the stretch of canal between Dockholme dock and Long Eaton, especially behind the houses along Bennett Street, the results of this would be particularly bad and unhealthy for inhabitants. If approved. he adds, the closure will probably come into operation during the spring or early summer of next year. "We must act now to get anything done" said Mr. Alsop.

Filled In
The canal has been used many years for boats travelling as far as Ilkeston, and although the stretch between Ilkeston and Langley Mill is officially unnavigable, smaller craft have been using it. If the canal is closed, it will be completely filled in at Tamworth-road, and other parts will be blocked by removing lock gates and replacing them with wooden planks, also reducing the water level.

Erewash Canal Action Committee
18 January 1968 - the first meeting of the Erewash Canal Action Committee took place
In response to the Transport Minister's White Paper entitled British Waterways: Recreation and Amenity, published in September 1967 which defined the use of waterways, a meeting was called by Royston Torrington, supported by the local Inland Waterways Association (IWA), to take place in the Methodist Church Hall, College Street, Long Eaton on the 18 January 1968. The purpose of the meeting was to form an Action Committee to support and co-ordinate the activities of various bodies and individuals who were opposed to the then Transport Minister, Barbara Castle's proposed White Paper that defined the Erewash Canal as a remainder canal. 

The Transport Act (1968) made changes to the use of facilities controlled by the state-owned British Waterways. Reflecting the decline in the use of canals and rivers for freight distribution, waterways were divided into three categories:

  1. Commercial waterways would be principally available for commercial use and the carriage of freight.
  2. Cruising waterways, would be available for leisure cruising, fishing and other recreational purposes.
  3. Remainder waterways, would be maintained to the minimum levels possible, consistent with requirements for public health, and the retention of amenity and safety.

An important provision for remainder waterways allowed them to be transferred to or maintained by local authorities.
The meeting was well supported and a full hall elected the following officers; Chairman - Royston Torrington, Secretary - Russell Godwin, and Treasurer - Jim Stevenson. The main aim of the newly formed Erewash Canal Action Committee was to have the Erewash Canal elevated to Cruiseway status

15 February 1968 - the second meeting of the Erewash Canal Action Committee took place 
The Erewash Canal Action Committee met on 15 February 1968 at the Long Eaton Sea Scouts Centre and resolved to form the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association. The elected committee were; Chairman - R.V.F.Torrington Esq, Secretary - R.J Godwin Esq, and Treasurer - J. Stevenson Esq.

Their stated aims were to contest the proposed closure of the Erewash Canal above Tamworth Road bridge, press for re-opening of the length from Gallows Hill to Langley Mill, and to encourage its use by trade and pleasure craft, anglers, and for general amenity purposes. The meeting was closed.

Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association (ECP&DA)
15 February 1968 - the first meeting of the ECP&DA took place
The elected committee were; Chairman - R.V.F.Torrington Esq, Secretary - R.J Godwin Esq, and Treasurer - J. Stevenson Esq. Other committee members were representatives from; Local Authorities that the canal passed through, anglers, boat clubs, householders, commercial interests, Sea Scouts, Inland Waterways Association, and Sports and Youth Councils.

The Treasurer arranged a meeting for 24 February with Mr Trevor Parks MP, to whom he handed over a petition with 1700 signatures of local people objecting to the proposed closure.

Other items discussed included a survey of the canal, the erection of a board at Trent Lock outlining the facilities available on the canal. Cruises and rallies were discussed and it was agreed that they should be held in the closed season between 15 March and 16 June to avoid clashing with fishing matches.

It was agreed that sub-committees should be set-up to deal with the following; Rallies, Publicity and Angling.

The date of the next meeting was set for 7:30pm 14 March 1968.