From a Thirteen O Clock tea cosy to a Brindley bobble hat – there aren’t many canals which have inspired a knitting book.

But this week sees the launch of Make Your Marks – a collection of contemporary knitting patterns inspired by shapes and features found all along the Bridgewater Canal, Salford.

It’s all part of plans to inspire another generation of canal enthusiasts and celebrate the heritage of the 250 year old canal.

Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said: “I think stone masons who worked on the Bridgewater Canal over 250 years ago would be delighted to see their marks inspiring modern day knitters and to know people today still marvel at their work.

“The Bridgewater Canal was a catalyst for the Industrial Revolution. No-one had ever built a canal from scratch before and James Brindley, the architect, had incredible challenges to overcome, not least taking the canal over the River Irwell.

“It’s a tribute to his genius and to the work of all who made it that the canal is still in use today and much loved by boaters, walkers, photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and artists. I hope this book adds another unique chapter to the rich history of Britain’s first canal.”

The Salford section of the Bridgewater Canal is currently undergoing a £5.5 million transformation with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Salford City Council. Alongside physical improvements such as upgraded towpaths and new information hubs there is a programme of activities to inspire and engage local communities with the story of the canal.

The book was created by artist and expert knitter Rachael Elwell and ‘road tested’ by  groups of local knitters. Make your Marks can be downloaded free from or borrowed from any Salford library.



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