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  • Writer's pictureNEMM

Queen’s reign commemorated at Heritage Garden

The long reign of Queen Elizabeth is now commemorated at the Heritage Gardens outside Melton's Parkside Council offices.

The replica canal barge, one of the main features of the gardens, has now been named “Elizabeth” and decorated in the roses of traditional canal artwork.

The work was carried out by Jerry Filor of the Melton & Oakham Waterways Society (MOWS) at the request of the Melton in Bloom group. The gardens are situated on the site of the canal basin where barges would load and unload their cargoes when the Melton Navigation operated in the 1800s.

Jerry Filor with his traditional canal artwork. Photo: Supplied.

The crews operating the barges would have lived in a tiny cabin and last year MOWS members added a replica cabin to the barge which has been “moored” in the gardens for many years. This year a small amount of weather damage needed repair and at the same time the name and artwork was added.

Volunteers planting out around the gardens in readiness for the June 4 opening of Melton in Bloom. Photo: Supplied

In the days when canals were built to transport cargo, the crews usually adorned their barges with fancy artwork and MOWS secretary Jerry looked back at old pictures before adapting the roses theme in red, white and blue. it was his first attempt at the distinctive art style.

Operating from 1797 to 1877, the Melton Mowbray Navigation followed the course of the Rivers Wreake and Eye from the River Soar near Syston to a cargo basin where the Melton Council office now stand. The basin was also the start of the 16-mile Oakham canal. The Boat Inn was then a quayside pub.

Volunteers for Melton in Bloom, who look after the gardens, then moved in to plant out the area. They are currently active throughout the town working to make sure everywhere really is blooming ready for this year’s official opening at the gardens on June 4.

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