Barge retraces 200-year-old wool journey

Barge retraces 200-year-old wool journey

A barge filled with bales of wool is preparing to retrace a 200-year-old trade route.

Travelling from Liverpool to Saltaire it will re-enact the wool transportation journey, eventually reaching its destination on October 11th, the Yorkshire Evening Post reports.

The trip began back on August 15th in Liverpool when the barge was loaded with wool from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa and will dock in Skipton on October 2nd for the final leg of its journey where it will carry a bale of British wool.

Once the Kennet finally reaches its destination in Saltaire each of the bales will be blended and scoured in Bradford before being made into a wool suit by Guisely-based manufacturers Abraham Moons.

Visitors are expected to mark the much-anticipated arrival by gathering at Saltaire docks, ready to welcome the canal barge.

The whole project has been designed to celebrate the third year of The Prince of Wales' Campaign for Wool, as well as British wool and manufacturing industries.

After opening in 1816 the Leeds-Liverpool canal soon became famous for transporting broad boats across the Pennines, with Saltaire constructed to accommodate the wool trade of the 18th century.

The route become synonymous with the movement of wool until the introduction of manmade fibres saw demand dwindle in the 20th century.

However, the wool industry is currently experiencing an exciting resurgence, with British mill production output increasing by 12 per cent in 2011 from 32 million kg to 40 million kg.

The canal journey is one of many nationwide activities taking place to celebrate the run up to Wool Week 2012, which occurs from October 15th and 21st.

How will you be celebrating British wool? Why not start on a new project to explore its heritage? Or perhaps you could try and prolong this history by passing on your skills to the next generation of knitters?

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