Branches Melksham Calne & Chippenham News
Local Children Explore Canals at Chippenham Museum
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 08:01


IMG 3613Children from Chippenham and the surrounding area, and even some from as far away as Swindon and Weston-super-Mare, recently experienced a tremendously successful series of canal based activities in Chippenham Museum & Heritage Centre.

The Half Term activities were organised by the museum and the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, and were funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund Sharing Heritage grant.

Activities such as making model narrow boats, tying knotted key rings, painting canalware and taking part in a mini archaeological dig, were all planned to help children have fun, while learning more about their local heritage, especially the role of Wilts & Berks Canal in Chippenham.

IMG 3648On Thursday, ‘Alice Ashe’, a resident of Chippenham, visited the museum and enthralled children with her opinions on the canal people – she was not very complimentary about their behaviour, and had even had to move away from the Market Place because of the unsavoury nature of the canal wharf!

The three days proved incredibly popular, with over 120 children and 75 adults attending the event, organised to commemorate 100 years since the abandonment of the canal.

Melissa Barnett is the curator of Chippenham Museum & Heritage Centre.

She said: “This is such a wonderful project which is introducing children to an important but largely forgotten part of their heritage. There are so many exciting stories that can be told about life on the canal and traditional skills that can be passed on. I was so pleased to see the museum buzzing with happy children proudly showing off their crafts and look forward to the family events in June where there will be even more activities.”

Val Melville is a volunteer with the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust.

Chippenham workshopShe said: “We were delighted with the tremendous response to the Activity Days! The children were so excited by the activities and really enjoyed finding out more about the canal; everyone went away very enthusiastic about what they had made and learnt.  It was a pleasure to work with the museum for this event, and it was brilliant to be able to use their excellent education facilities to host the workshops.  We are now looking forward to our Heritage Open Days on 20th & 21st of June, when local schools and the community are invited to visit Pewsham Locks to experience storytellers in period costumes, traditional music, craft demonstrations and workshops.”

Nerys Watts, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South West said: “Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust and Chippenham Museum can embark on a real journey of discovery.  Heritage means such different things to different people and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what’s important to them in their local area.”  Click Gazette & Herald (right) to read the article

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