26 May 2022

The history and architecture of our waterways was the topic of a recent meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Waterways (APPGW). 

Michael Fabricant MP, Chair of the APPGW, welcomed parliamentarians and representatives of waterway organisations to the video meeting.  Presentations from 3 well known speakers from the field of waterways heritage and architecture were followed by a general question and answer session.

Liz McIvor, historian, author and TV presenter, talked about the physical remains of industrial waterways and their role in our future landscapes.  Jo Bell,  poet, author and industrial archaeologist, then presented on the importance of the culture of our canals as well as the built heritage, while Hugh Pearman MBE, architecture critic and author, concluded the presentations by talking about why architects, planners and developers must respond creatively to our waterways heritage. 

The meeting also heard Jo Bell, who is a former Canal Poet Laureate, recite her poem, Springtime at the Boatyard

The question and answer session included questions and discussion with MPs and peers as well as representatives from navigation authorities and waterway organisation. Among the issues discussed were better ways of protecting waterways from inappropriate development, the uniqueness of each individual waterway, Conversation Area status and other designations, and the cultural importance of the horse in the history of the waterways.