Visit the Slea
The Early Years
The Company Years
- Anglo Saxon - Cyme Ee
- Old English - ‘sleow’
- 1346 Gilbert de Umfraville petitions Edward III for permission to mark out the channel of the Kyme Eau with posts and to scour out the channel. In return he asks to be granted the right to be able to collect tolls on those vessels using the navigation.
- A full survey to make the Old Slea navigable is made by the engineer James Creassy. This comes to nothing due to local landowners who think that the proposals might affect the drainage of their land.
- October 1791 A public meeting is called, chaired by Sir Jenison William Gordon and attended by Sir Joseph Banks and Benjamin Handley, the outcome of the meeting is to appoint the eminent canal engineer William Jessop and John Hudson as assistant to prepare a plan and estimate for the works to construct a navigation.
- November 1791 William Jessop and his assistant John Hudson publish a second plan to make the New Slea navigable. He proposes to put in a series of locks at each of the watermills to enable boats to pass them.
- June 1792 The Act enabling the construction of the navigation is passed, the Proprietors meet and Sleaford celebrates.
- May 1794 The Navigation is opened.
- October 1848 The railway opens into Boston.
- 1839 The Navigation is financially successful and Navigation House is built in Sleaford as the Company Offices.
- June 1857 The Railway arrives in Sleaford and company profits dwindle.
- June 1878 The Act of Abandonment is passed through Parliament.
- The Navigation Company is formally wound up but the right to navigate remains.
- 1977 Sleaford Navigation Society is formed and begins to campaign to restore Navigation House and open the navigation through Kyme Bottom Lock.
- 1987 Bottom Lock is reopened connecting a further 8 miles of navigable waterway to the national waterways network.
- 1988 The footbridge and electricity cable in South Kyme are raised.
- 1990 A feasibility study is commissioned from ADAS for restoration of the Anwick Pound from Cobblers Lock, Anwick to Haverholme Lock.
- 1990 Restoration of Cobblers Lock begins.
- 1991 Farm access bailey bridge is raised to increase navigable height.
- 1991 The Sleaford Navigation is identified by Inland Waterways Association as one of ten restoration schemes worthy of higher level of support which results in a series of nationally organised work camps on Cobblers Lock.
- 1992/93/94 Underwater obstructions in and around bridges are removed and work continues to improve navigation depth generally.
- 1992 Clearance work on Cogglesford Lock in Sleaford begins.
- 1993 A joint working group with North Kesteven District Council (NKDC) Tourism and Leisure Committee is formed to promote The Sleaford Navigation and to help obtain funding for continued restoration.
- 1994 Celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the opening of The Sleaford Navigation take place involving a range of Sleaford and district communities, e.g. The Church, RAF, Sleaford Chamber of Commerce, and local businesses.
- 1994 An engineering feasibility study on full restoration of The Sleaford Navigation into Sleaford is carried out by the engineering consultants Binnie.
- 1994 Cobblers lock restoration is completed.
- 1995 Sleaford Navigation Society is invited to join ‘Sleaford Pride’ SRB as one of the partners.
- 1997 Sleaford Navigation Society is disbanded and reformed as Sleaford Navigation Trust.
- As part of ‘Sleaford Pride’, an investigation into water supply by engineering consultants Halcrow is undertaken.
- 1998 The Trust campaigns, successfully, to save Navigation Warehouse from demolition.
- 2000 A summer WRG Camp starts on the clearance of vegetation from the bywash at Haverholme Lock in preparation for restoration.
- 2001-2002 A variety of SNT work parties a WRG Camp and a weekend BITM work camp commence the restoration of the bywash.
- 2002 WRG builds a new bridge over the bywash and SNT work parties continue.
- 2004 Restoration of Navigation House by NKDC commences.
- The Trust purchases the bed and banks of the river between The Hub and Sleaford bypass from the Bristol Estates.
- 2005 A refurbished and restored Navigation House opens as a visitor centre.
- 2005 WRG and SNT volunteers construct a new footpath below Cogglesford Lock funded by Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership.
- 2008 Bottom Lock is refurbished, with the help of a grant from Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership. New bottom gates, lock ladders and landing stages above and below the lock are installed.
- 2010 A new head of navigation is opened in Sleaford with the building of a slipway and a lift bridge. Funding is provided by Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership, WREN and the Inland Waterways Association.