Environment in association with the Mirror

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


The Chesterfield Canal Trust is a charitable company run entirely by volunteers who’s aim is to promote the full restoration and appropriate development of the Chesterfield Canal.

The Last Cuckoo Project is a community history and archaeological project with a focus on the Chesterfield Canal at Bellhouse Lane, Staveley. The canal basin, now a small, insignificant patch of overgrown wasteland was once a thriving industrial complex with wharves, tramways, gas works and a lost, unique Chesterfield Canal narrowboat (cuckoo).
The map record and tales of a buried cuckoo mark Bellhouse Lane basin as an important and interesting place worthy of archaeological investigation in order to document, record and understand fully the function of this once thriving industrial complex.
Spring 2017 The canal trust proposes to undertake a detailed analytical study of the history of the area, with the intention of involving the whole community. Young, old, able bodied, disadvantaged and disability. Collating maps, Chesterfield Canal Company data, historic photographs and collecting and compiling oral histories.
August 2017 (2 weeks) The excavation and recording of the basin area and the locating of the cuckoo would make for an exciting community project. A project that will involve the Chesterfield Canal Trust and will extend invitation to local history groups, schools, scouts, disability groups, canal trust members, waterways organisations and the public in general. Participants would be supervised, educated and trained by a small team of professional archaeologists.

The project would serve a number of project goals:
• To provide an interesting, engaging experience for all members of the local community.
• Provide an educational experience for the community’s young people, by the inclusion of scout groups and school age children.
• Provide training opportunities for all members of the community.
• Provide experience for students of history and archaeology and a very specific opportunity for students of maritime archaeology.
• Provide opportunity for a detailed study of (possibly) the last original Cuckoo, its construction and traces of cargo carried.
• The excavation would be another chapter in the basin’s story and the story of the excavation could be included on future interpretation boards. Publicising the event within local and national media would generate interest and attract new members to the Chesterfield Canal Trust. It would also raise public awareness of the canal and its environs, helping to increase visitor numbers.
• Interesting artefacts would be conserved for display and educational purposes.

Why now? With the trust's rebuilding work at Staveley Town Basin nearing completion and HS2’s pending announcement of its chosen route and intentions not to obstruct the restoration means that the canal trust will have the green light to continue restoration east along the canal. This next phase of restoration will not reinstate the old Bellhouse Lane Basin.
“Marked changes in ground level caused by mining subsidence under the Doe Lea Valley (and recent house building immediately adjacent to the site) preclude effective reuse of the basin site and canal arm as originally configured. The alternative proposed here diverts the canal track slightly north of its original line” Next Navigation West: Restoration of the Chesterfield Canal from Staveley to Killamarsh.
Sadly, the basin will be lost under a car park.

We need £10,000 to fund our project. Our main costs will be:
• The cost of the archaeological lead (a two-week excavation would require approximately 28 days of the archaeologist's time including preparation works, the excavation itself, post-excavation work and report writing).
• Machine digger and driver
• Insurance
• Tools and PPE
• Conservation costs

Please vote for our project and help us secure the funds we need to build an amazing, educational and exciting community event in Staveley!

Project Video

Chesterfield Canal Trust

Moment of Pride

Professional, dedicated and determined we’ve given the Chesterfield Canal back to the community. Where there was dereliction and decay, you’ll find, community, walkers, boaters, cyclists, fishermen, joggers, art, business, employment, wildlife and lots of fish.

Location: Staveley