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Canal Connections

West Yorkshire

Canal Connections explore the opportunities for social regeneration presented through the waterways and their environs by engaging people, families, communities and organisations, while enhancing the built and natural heritage of that environment.

The 17th Century listed Esholt Hall sits within Yorkshire Water’s water treatment works at Esholt, on the canal between Bradford and Leeds and was a training centre, much loved by staff as a special place that provided great food and a sense of corporate belonging. A major regeneration of the building is now underway and Canal Connections are advising on how the hall might become an asset for the well-being of the wider local community.

Our first job was to capture the memories and experience of people who worked in and still live on site, and people who currently work there. Charlotte Carrick and Vivienne Burgess spent two days talking to them to create personal portraits for future exhibition and online use.

Our Director Steve Dearden and James Varney  then spent three days in Leeds with a group from Forging Futures, a Kirkstall Forge scheme offering young people trade and professional apprenticeships, employability skills training and work experience. Some of them will work on site at Esholt so we explored the role of water in all its clean and dirty forms, talked about the role of the canal as an industrial and leisure amenity, and went for a trip on one of Canal Connection’s barges.

This project came about from working with Canal Connections on Ignite Yorkshire.

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