... over the next few weeks on a tour of the main locations for my current novel, Whitaker’s Basin. We begin with this remarkable structure:
This is the AndertonBoat Lift (Photo by Raymond Knapman) which was built to take barges between the Weaver Navigation down below and the Trent and Mersey Canal above. It was opened in 1875 and for a century was an important transport link for the water traffic serving Cheshire’s salt and chemical industries. It fell into disrepair but was restored and reopened in 2002 and is now a major visitor attraction and a place of pilgrimage for canal enthusiasts. The only other working boat lift in Britain is the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland.
I imagine my lead character Judith standing above the boat lift - here, probably:
She is trying to visualise what this place looked like before the lift was built and cargoes had to be laboriously transshipped from one waterway to the other. Her great great dot dot dot grandfather Solomon Whitaker was a boatman on the Weaver and fifteen-year-old Judith is trying to put together his story, using a combination of facts, imagination and invention.
But Anderton Basin is not the Whitaker’s Basin of my story. It’s a short distance along the canal from here. We’ll visit it next time.