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Museum plan to mark Union Canal’s rowing links

Olympic star Katherine Grainger is at home at St Andrew Boat Club. Picture: Jane Barlow

Olympic star Katherine Grainger is at home at St Andrew Boat Club. Picture: Jane Barlow

AN archive to celebrate the Union Canal’s role as the heart of Scottish rowing could be housed within a new museum at St Andrew Boat Club.

Edinburgh University students are to collate information about St Andrew – Scotland’s oldest rowing institution – and other boathouses along the canal.

The finished results may take the form of a new museum based at the clubhouse, or an online digital resource.

The club was founded at Atholl Crescent in 1846 and is now the home to Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger.

The move is part of a heritage strategy launched by Scottish Canals yesterday in efforts to safeguard Scotland’s waterways for the next 25 years.

Senior heritage adviser Sabina Strachan said: “The Union Canal is set apart because of this rich rowing history and heritage for the whole of Scotland, not just for Edinburgh.”

The Union Canal stretches 31 miles from the Port Hopetoun basin in Edinburgh to the junction at Falkirk.

Scottish Canals last month announced plans to create a “canal beer” as part of efforts to accelerate the development of Scotland’s canals.

Holiday cottages and hydro-electric schemes are also in the pipeline.

Five waterways, including the Union Canal, where transferred to Scottish control last year.

Early plans for the canal at Fountainbridge will also be included in the collection.

A “canal college” is also being launched for disadvantaged 16-25 year olds in Edinburgh in which participants will complete practical tasks designed to conserve the
waterway’s heritage.

Ms Strachan said: “One of the heritage ties that we didn’t know very much about was our artefacts.

“These can be things like tools and old documents, redundant machinery that’s alongside the canal.”

Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart Green Party Councillor Gavin Corbett, who cycles along the canal towpath daily, said: “The Union Canal is steeped in a rich history that we are only beginning to 
uncover.

It is vital that we create a vibrant new canalside development, which brings out all that earlier decades have to tell us, in a way that works just as well in the 21st century.”

 

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