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Burslem Branch Canal

Vision: The canal will be restored and re-join the national navigable network, providing a safe haven for boats with access to Burslem town centre and Middleport Pottery.

The Burslem Port Trust's mission is to reopen the Burslem Branch Canal, creating new waterside facilities to deliver sustainable leisure and tourism and thus employment. This will make a major difference to the quality of life in Burslem and Middleport through a major regeneration project that will extend from Etruria Valley and the Trent and Mersey Canal to Furlong Mills in lower Burslem. The original 3/8 mile long Burslem Branch Canal was opened in 1805, as a branch of the Trent and Mersey main line canal, and was fundamental to the massive growth of the ceramic industry in the northern part of Stoke-on-Trent.  It became derelict in 1961, following a major breach and was infilled; the line of the canal has not been developed and can still be clearly seen.  An extant wharf and warehouse dating from the second half of the 19th century are ready for restoration as is an original footbridge.

The projected outcomes of regeneration of the canal line, its infrastructure and surrounding open land are numerous. Re-opening the old canal will restore it to the historic heart of the Middleport community.  It will provide new facilities in the City for passing boaters, allowing the area to benefit from the tourism pound. It will also provide new and extended recreational and sporting facilities for the local community and create new employment opportunities in the visitor and light-engineering industries. In addition, it will stimulate the building of better quality, higher value replacement housing alongside the branch line, as well as encouraging additional third party investment in new facilities on the Trent & Mersey Canal.

Line clearance at former Canal Company warehouse
Line clearance using employment trainees at former Canal Company warehouse. Photo courtesy Burslem Port Trust