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First Canal Boat into the new Basin

January 20th 2012

This is the moment for which we have all been waiting. The John Varley is the first canal boat to cruise into the new Staveley Town Basin; indeed it is the first canal boat on this stretch for over 50 years.
The following photographs tell the story of a truly wonderful occasion.

The JV arrived at Mill Green .....

..... to find a crowd already waiting.

Cllr Allsop then made a short speech thanking all those who had been involved.

Then it was time for official photos for the Press. First, everyone .....

..... then the Partnership, Trust and Derbyshire County Council .....

..... then the engineers .....

..... and last, but not least, some of our Work Party.

They set off on the Mill Green Link .....

..... saying Hello to the contractors who were still putting in the towpath.

There was a fantastic turnout to witness this historic sight.

Here's a shot with Staveley Library, Hall and Church on the horizon .....

..... and one with Staveley Chemical Works as a backdrop.

After two or three circuits of the basin, they returned under Hall Lane Bridge .....

..... and through Constitution Hill narrows .....

.....  to Mill Green.

Later, at Hollingwood Hub, the directors of Killingley's, the contractors, made a short speech saying how pleased they were to have been able to undertake the project.

What better way to finish than a © John Lower special of a very busy basin.

To see the full story of the works, click here.

To see the Derbyshire County Council Press Release, click here.

Our own Press Release is below.

First narrowboat on new canal basin

Dozens of delighted spectators welcomed the John Varley onto Staveley Town Basin on Friday. It was the first canal boat onto the new basin. In fact it was the first canal boat on this stretch for over fifty years.

The canal had been derelict for years and then open cast mining had taken place on the site. It was partly recovered when the new Staveley Relief Road was completed two years ago. Over the last eleven months, contractors have been building the basin itself. For many years, the Chesterfield Canal Trust’s volunteer Work Party have given up their free time to build a washwall nearly 600 metres long to link the basin to Mill Green.

The contractors, Killingley’s, did the final excavations just before Christmas and it took nearly three weeks to fill with water.

Derbyshire County Councillor John Allsop, the cabinet member for Recycling and Technology, made a short speech thanking all those who had been involved. He went on to say "This will make it a more attractive location for boats and fulfil our aim of improving the area for visitors, which is part of our wider commitment to boosting tourism."

Most of the money came through a grant from the East Midlands Development Agency, with some from Derbyshire County Council. The Council’s engineers directed the project.

The basin has already proved to be a massive attraction for walkers, cyclists and those who just stand and stare in amazement. Over the next two months nearly two miles of the towpath all the way back to Bilby Lane will be resurfaced. This will make an already hugely popular walk even more pleasant.

There is still much to be done on the basin site. The volunteers will be building the new lock all summer. The lock is needed to lower the level of the canal to get under the railway line on the other side of Eckington Road.

There are plans for buildings on the site; firstly a bunkhouse and training centre. This will house volunteers who come to do further work as the canal is restored towards Renishaw and Killamarsh. It will also be used by Guides and Scouts. Later, several cottages will be built. Some will be for rent as houses, others as small business units. It is hoped to do all this work in partnership with Chesterfield College so that their apprentices can get experience of a real project.

On 30th June and 1st July, the Chesterfield Canal Trust will hold a Festival on the basin site as part of Staveley Feast. This promises to be a wonderful event including three tripboats. At the same time, Barrow Hill Roundhouse will be having Family Days with steam train rides.

To get more information about the Chesterfield Canal Trust or the Festival, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or ring 01246 477569.