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Closure of the Forth & Clyde

From the Archives: NarrowBoat, Spring 2021

Jospeh Boughey examines records showing the decision to close this Scottish waterway in the early 1960s

While the final traffics over the Forth & Clyde Canal in the 1950s remain unclear, a file at the Canal & River Trust Waterways Archive, entitled ‘Main Line, Redevelopment’ (CRT/BW/95/416) sheds some light on its closure.No freight By 8th September 1961, there was no freight traffic, bar pleasure-boats and fishing vessels, except that “confined to the terminals of the canal”. A handwritten list confirmed that in 1960, 145 fishing vessels, 103 yachts, six naval craft, 21 commercial vessels for repair, and 139 ‘other craft’ had passed along the waterway. In that year, the deficit was £49,335. The Northern Waterways Association (a breakaway from the Inland Waterways Association) wrote to the chair of the British Transport Waterways, Sir Reginald Kerr, on 12th September following rumours that it might be closed. It transpired that the Bill to do so had already been drafted, with the precise powers of local authorities being under consider…

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