Club History

Moorings in the early years

Moorings in the early years

The Lichfield Cruising Club can trace its roots back to 1959, when members of the Coventry Canal Society (Northern Branch) who had moorings at Fradley at the time, organised a rally at Huddlesford in September of that year. Having formed friendships with the local British Transport Waterways lengthsman who lived in one of the cottages overlooking the junction, some of these boaters moved their moorings to the start of the Wyrley & Essington canal, where he could keep an eye on them. At this time, the arm was severely silted up, and choked with weed.

In 1964 the Club became part of the then newly formed Tamworth Cruising Club, with its headquarters and main moorings at Kettlebrook in Tamworth. This arrangement continued up until 1978, when the TCC split into two separate organisations, so that each could better serve their members at the two mooring locations. At this time, a lease on the ex-lengthsman's cottage was secured, and this was renovated by members to become the clubhouse for the newly formed Lichfield Cruising Club. Subsequently, the lease was extended to include the other cottage, which enabled the present clubhouse facilities to be created.

Over the years, the arm was gradually cleared by the Club members, and the number of moorings increased, up to the point when the club had some 3000 feet of well maintained moorings. In 1975, a winding hole was constructed to allow boats of up to 50 ft to be turned just short of the end of the arm, and a slipway was later built at the end of the arm adjacent to Cappers Lane, to allow members to undertake maintenance tasks on their boats.

In 2006 the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust (LHCRT) built a new overbridge with ERDF funding at Cappers Lane to replace the one demolished in the 1950s. This was adjacent to the slipway and provided a new entrance into that end of the club site with a new tarmac surfaced car parking area. At about the same time the Club purchased the field adjoining the arm in two separate tranches to provide room for the creation of replacement moorings and boat maintenance facilities when the LHCRT restoration eventually would lead to the loss of mooring space on the arm.

At the end of 2010, the government published their revised preferred route for the HS2 rail line which was shown passing over the new Cappers Lane bridge location. Following several further changes to the alignment of the rail line and associated road diversions, and over 10 years of negotiations, including petitions by the Club to Parliament, HS2 agreed to provide a new mooring basin on the land previously purchased by the Club to replace the moorings and boat maintenance facilities lost, on an equivalent re-instatement basis. Construction of the new basin commenced in late 2021 and was completed in August 2022. As HS2 were also compulsorily purchasing some of the land purchased by the club, thus reducing the space available for future replacement moorings, the slipway was replaced with a dry dock which was more space-efficient. The Club elected to pay for some enhancements from their own funds, including a more substantial covering for the dry dock.

A more detailed account of the early years up until 1979 is given in "Under the Flag", by Alan Perry.