Horse-drawn canal boat arrives in Liverpool

Horse-drawn canal boat arrives in Liverpool

Liverpool will be taken back in time, with the arrival of the first ever horse-drawn canal boat at the city's canal link. The special visit, organised by the Horseboating Society, marks the completion of a 128-mile journey which began on Leeds canal in April, to mark the year of the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee.

The history-making horse is Bilbo Baggins, a 15.1hh cob type stallion. He will be drawing the 150-year-old, 60-foot Yorkshire narrowboat Elland onto the Pier Head on Tuesday 14th August at approximately 2.00 pm.

The arrival of the horse, pulling the brightly adorned, wrought iron hull, will give people a rare glimpse into yesteryear, when working horses were a part of everyday life at Liverpool's docks. On-board will be volunteers from The Horseboating Society and Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society, as well as local community groups. They will be joined by the city's World Heritage Officer, John Hinchliffe; and Sue Day, who is Chairperson of The Horseboating Society and owner and trainer of Bilbo Baggins.

The £22 million Liverpool canal link, connecting the Leeds and Liverpool canal opened in 2009. Although there is no towpath at the site, Bilbo will use his five years' boating experience to complete a horse pull of the boat to the canal link. He will then go on to meet the Carters' Horse statue, erected at the Pier Head in 2010 in honour of the horses which worked to and from Liverpool's docks.

World Heritage Officer John Hinchliffe said: "This will be a fantastic occasion for Liverpool, and the arrival of a horse-drawn canal boat at the Pier Head will be a sight to behold. Horses were a common sight on our waterfront from the 18th century, right through to the 1960s. They maintained the vital link between the docks and the rest of the city and were instrumental in placing Liverpool as one of the world's most prominent and prosperous ports.