Express & Star

Canal experts complete £50k gate work at wharf once used by Cadbury's to transport chocolate

A charity has replaced a safety gate on a stretch of canal which has a special place in the region's - and nation's - history.


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Between 1911 and 1961, Cadbury’s used the wharf and associated buildings at Knighton, in Staffordshire, to process local milk into ‘chocolate crumb’, which was then transported by boat to Cadbury’s in Bournville along the canal.

The safety gate at the site north of Newport on the Shropshire Union Canal plays a vital role in protecting the canal and neighbours in the event of emergencies.

At around 35 years old, the gate was showing signs of deterioration, and the Canal & River Trust replaced the gate to ensure the safety of the area.

The works cost around £50,000 and took place between June 17 and 21. The canal remained open throughout the works.

Picture: Canal and River Trust

Adam Bannister, construction manager at Canal & River Trust, said: “Knighton Wharf has a fascinating history and shows how the canals played a role in the success of some of our most iconic companies.

"And we’re still using traditional techniques to safeguard this important heritage: we’ve handcrafted the replacement gate out of green oak in our specialist workshop.

“At the Canal & River Trust, we’re committed to keeping these canals safe and available for boaters, visitors, and neighbouring communities.

"Our canals are in constant use, open to the elements day in, day out, and time is taking its toll, compounded by the increase in extreme weather caused by climate change. We are doing all we can to meet this challenge, but we need help.

"We are calling on people to support the Canal & River Trust and help keep canals alive for today’s boaters, the local communities they run through, and for future generations.”