New Book Launch – A Pictorial Journey down the Wisbech Canal


A new local history book containing over 33,000 words and approximately 230 illustrations, entitled “A Pictorial Journey down the Wisbech Canal”, will be published in September this year.

For further information please us our contact page.

The book launch is planned for SATURDAY 20 SEPTEMBER 2014 at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum between 11.00 AM and 3.00 PM.

The Wisbech Canal existed from 1797 to 1970.

Its story begins in the late 12th / early 13th century with the demise of the Well Stream that once flowed from Littleport to the port of Wisbech. The Well Stream was the principal river of Wisbech before the Nene. It carried the waters of many rivers from Littleport through Welney, Tips End, Christchurch, Three Holes, Upwell, Outwell, Emneth and Elm before discharging into the sea at Wisbech.

Constant inundations at Littleport caused the Well Stream water to be diverted to King’s Lynn due to the build-up of silt at the Wisbech outfall. The lack of water at Wisbech Port had a detrimental effect on trade but the alteration to the water flow elevated the importance of King’s Lynn.

Contained in the book are many maps and illustrations displaying the history of Fenland water courses.

The digging of the Wisbech Canal in the late 18th century was a futile attempt to improve trade at the Wisbech Port. There remains a remnant of the “sluice valve” adjacent to Freedom Bridge marking the location of the canal outfall which is where this pictorial story begins.

The book contains photographs of the old canal through the town of Wisbech, including working canal boats at the sluice. There are, together with interesting historical information, pictures of the old canal at Elm and Emneth and through to the intersection with the old Nene at Outwell. The canal remedial works show the story of the canal being filled. There are many illustrations of the canal and surrounding areas on the way back to Wisbech. The story ends where it began, at the old outfall.

Some pictures will be included in a slide show at the Wisbech Institute on FRIDAY 5 SEPTEMBER 2014. Doors will open at 7.00 PM for 7.30 PM. This is a two-part picture show, with nibbles and tea served at half time.

ADMISSION £5.00, with all proceeds going to the Institute.

Another great chance to see some rare pictures of Wisbech and the surrounding area.

Tickets available from Etcetera 01945 463440 or William (Bill) Smith 01945 772712.

Strange But True

A historical snippet you might like to ponder.

King Canute (Canut) sailed up the river that passes through Upwell and Outwell in the 11th century.  The River, at that time was called the Well Stream.

The Well Stream was the principal river of Wisbech in Medieval times.  King John slept in Wisbech castle while his men were trying to cross the Well Stream estuary on their way to Boston from Kings Lynn.  They are supposed to have lost the Crown Jewels in the Well Stream circa 1215.  King John died in 1216.

Buffalo Bill (William Fredrick Cody) toured Britain and Europe with his Wild West show in the late 19th century.  He entertained Queen Victoria in London during her Golden Jubilee in 1887.  The circus came to Wisbech and pitched up on a field at Queens Road.  During his time in Wisbech he rode to Outwell to visit an aunt.

Discovering Upwell – Book Launch Event

I am pleased to announce the forthcoming release of Discovering Upwell on 24 November 2012.

First edition sales and signing will be held at the British Legion Hall between 11am to 4 pm.

The Discovering Upwell Slideshow will be held during the evening between 7pm to 9:30 pm at Upwell Village hall, £3.00 per person with doors opening at 6:30pm and a donation will be made to the Well Creek Trust charity.

Please click here for further details of the events.