Conservation and Interpretation

Mike Clarke has been involved professionally on the conservation and interpretation of industrial and canal heritage for forty years. Because of his extensive knowledge, he has undertaken desktop assessments of proposed World Heritage canal sites for ICOMOS, and his research was used extensively in the production of the World Canal Monuments list by TICCIH. He has not only undertaken research into canals, but also into a wide variety of historic engineering structures, such as mills and bridges, providing advice on their conservation and interpretation.

In 2000, he was given the Mersey Basin's Unilever Dragonfly Award for his work on promoting the heritage of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Recent work includes the interpretation of the canal locks at Johnsons Hillock, near Chorley, for the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society. On behalf of the Society, he worked with Galloway's, the Lancashire blind and partially-sighted charity, to provide tactile panels and sound and text files about the history of the canal in the area. The latter are downloadable from The project won the BURA Waterway Award for Education in 2009, and a leaflet about the scheme can be found on the here.

A presentation on East Lancashire mill buildings prepared for a TICCIH Poland conference on the Reuse of Industrial Buildings in 2002.

Context 97, November 2006.  Mike has worked with historians and conservators across Europe. This article by him is about conservation in the North of Russia and was published by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation in 2006.

Canal History and Heritage, a paper from 2007 looking at what is important about Britain's canals, and what is best practice for their conservation.

Conservation conflicts on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Bingley 5-rise Locks.  In September 2009, Mike presented a paper at the TICCIH Congress in Freiberg, Germany, on conservation conflicts on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. This looks at some problems, and a way to address them, between those involved in conserving the built heritage and those working for the natural environment.

In 2010, Mike spoke at a conference at Alpen an de Rijn, in Holland about the Historical Character of English Canals and Its Conservation.

Two of the tactile panels installed at Johnsons Hillock.


Research & Exhibitions

Mike can undertake the basic research for, and the writing of, story lines for exhibitions relating to all aspects of industrial history. He has undertaken much research across Europe which allows him to provide a good overview to many subjects. Amongst work already undertaken is the story line for the Railway on the Water exhibition at the Waterways Museum at Goole, the Social and Industrial Museum of the Year, 1996, and research for displays at the National Waterways Museum in Gloucester.

Mike also wrote articles on the history of European waterways for Encyclopaedia Britannica, and historical research undertaken for local authorities and businesses relating to listed historical structures, such as Scott Street Bridge in Hull, and the underground canal system at Worsley, Manchester.

Further Examples of Work Undertaken

Research into specific aspects of canal history and advice on conservation for British Waterways, Britain's waterway authority. His conservation policy on lock paddle gear on the Rochdale Canal formed the basis for BW's improvements on the canal which was runner-up in the BURA Historic Environment Award in 2007;

Research for exhibitions at the Canal Visitor Centre, Blackburn, and at Craven Museum, Skipton;

Research and conservation advice on listed bridges for Hull City Council;

Research for a booklet on the history of electrical power generation in East Lancashire for National Power. A chronology of one hundred years of electric power generation in East Lancashire produced for the booklet;

Investigation and documentation of collections at Blackburn Museum and the National Waterways Museum.

Scott Street Bridge, Hull, is now kept open for river traffic.

Scott St Br.jpg

Services page

Mike Clarke
8 Green Bank
BB18 6HX
tel: +44 (0)1282 850430
Email: Image13.jpg

last revised: 27 March 2014