Northampton’s riverside heritage was celebrated at the Northampton Festival of Water over the Bank Holiday weekend and was opened by keen boaters and celebrated acting couple Timothy West and Prunella Scales.
The free festival. on the waterfront at Becket’s Park on the River Nene, was organised by the Inland Waterways Association supported by Northampton Borough Council, the Environment Agency and the Canal & River Trust.
A spokesman for the organisers said: “Showers on Sunday and rain Monday slowed things down somewhat but couldn’t dampen the party atmosphere.
“Highlights of the weekend included youngsters trying their skills at bricklaying and digger driving, demonstrations of boat handling skills in a huge variety of craft on the water by the Northampton Sea Cadets, a series of excellent and informative talks from a number of renowned waterway personalities and a marvellous programme of entertainment which saw the big marquee in the park packed to the seams all weekend.”
It was held in Northampton to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the opening in 1815 of the Northampton Arm, which connected the Grand Union Canal (or Grand Junction as it was then known) to the Nene in Northampton, creating a route to the East Anglian waterways and the Wash by water. The Arm enabled ironstone and limestone to be carried to local blast furnaces, grain and flour to and from mills along the Nene, coal from North Warwickshire and timber from London’s Surrey Docks to Northampton.
Next year the festival will be held in Walsall and the Mayor of Northampton, Councillor Penny Flavell handed over a ceremonial “tiller pin” to the Mayor of Walsall.