Chichester Canal to mark 200th anniversary with celebratory season of events

The Chichester Ship Canal turns 200 years old in April and the milestone will be celebrated with a range of entertaining and cultural events.

The view along Chichester's canal. Picture by Holly Bateson.
The view along Chichester's canal. Picture by Holly Bateson.

The canal was formally opened on April 9, 1822, and has remained an important part of Chichester's history.

To celebrate the anniversary, the Chichester Ship Canal Trust — the volunteer-led, self-funded, charity behind the canal — is planning a season of anniversary events, which will help people discover more about the unique heritage and different ways to explore the canal.

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Events will run through the spring and summer and will feature: a historical talk by local author and historian Alan Green at the West Sussex County Record Office; a year-long curated exhibition at the Chichester District Council Museum ‘The Novium’; hosted boat trips along the canal; a photography competition; a pub quiz; the installation of a new sign to mark the location of the famous view painted by JMW Turner; family-friendly activities through the school holidays; a guided walk with the Friends of the Old Ford to Hunston Canal, and an art partnership with a contemporary art group ARTEL.

Chichester Canal is celebrating its 200th anniversary. Picture by Nicola Holden.

Catherine Cannon, Chichester Canal trustee, said: "Recognising the canal’s position at the heart of the cultural, leisure and heritage sector in Chichester City, the Trust is really pleased to be a host venue for Chichester District Council’s ‘Spark Culture’ opening event, and a partner host for Chichester University and the Fringe performers through the summer".

The Trust will further mark 20 years of formation in September 2022, which coincides with the second formal opening of the canal and Heritage Open Days.

One date not to be missed is the flagship 200th Anniversary Celebration Event on April 9, 2022, which will feature live music, entertainment and a range of displays.

Alison Golt, 200th Project Team, said: "We’re inviting the community to the Basin, where the event will begin at 11am with short speeches followed by a gunfire salute from the Fort Cumberland Guard.

"The Trust is hosting a day of live music, stalls, food, entertainment, children’s activities, water-based displays including the 1950’s vintage tugs, canoe club and model boats, and land-based exhibitions which will feature knitted bunting, volunteer stories and our heritage centre display.

"The day will culminate in a flotilla along the canal arriving at the basin at 3pm".

For more information about the canal and upcoming events, visit

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