Coal to Wigan

A Broader Outlook: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2009

Ian Moss

Ian Moss photographed one of the last traffics on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal: coal from Crooke to Westwood power station

Westwood power station was in Wigan, at the junction of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal’s main line and its Leigh branch. It first generated electricity in 1951, and all its coal was initially supplied by canal from both the main line and the Leigh branch; the adjacent basin was cut to serve it. The coal was latterly carried on the canal by Hargreaves (Lancashire) Ltd. It came by rail from Gidlow coal washery to be loaded at Crooke, 3 miles west of Wigan. The loading chute also supplied coal for the Athol Street (Liverpool) traffic (which will feature in a future issue of NarrowBoat) though the coal specification was different and care had to be taken to load the boats with the right cargo. Coal was brought from Crooke until early 1964; after that all canal-borne coal came from the Leigh branch. This ended in August 1972. The power station remained in use until the late 1970s and was kept as a standby until the mid 1980s. There are now offices on its site.…

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