Gillian and Alan Sharpe’s wedding day was the start of a new chapter for the couple as well as the wedding venue – theirs was the first wedding to be held at the Anderton Boat Lift in Northwich.
Known as the Cathedral of the Canals, the bride and groom made full use of the site’s spectacular river setting and its stunning Victorian boat lift by holding their wedding in the site’s Lift View Marquee and booking a boat to take all their guests along the river and through the lift on a bespoke trip.
Gillian, aged 37, and Alan, aged 43, from Tameside, Manchester held their civil ceremony in the Lift View Marquee, located at the base of the giant boat lift and overlooking the River Weaver.
The Anderton Boat Lift, built in 1875, is the world’s first successful boat lift and is considered one of the country’s foremost pieces of high Victorian engineering. Often called one of the ‘wonders of the waterways’, it is located between the River Weaver and the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Since opening, the lift has transported millions of boats by ‘floating’ them up and down the 50ft drop between the water courses.
Gillian, who works for the Canal and River Trust as a development and engagement manager at Manchester Pennine and Potteries Waterways, said: “It is a fantastic place to get married and we are delighted and honoured to be the first couple to be married here.
“We chose this venue for several reasons. I simply couldn’t see myself being married in many of the traditional venues, like a church, registry office or hotel. I wanted my day to be informal, quirky and somewhere with a ‘wow’ factor. I have always been in awe of the Anderton Boat Lift ever since my Uncle used to work there as a boat lift operator. When I heard the lift had got a licence for weddings, I knew it was the place for me.
“Alan is a freight railway operative and loves the lift’s incredible structural engineering and the fact it was the world’s first successful boat lift. It is hard not to be impressed by the sheer size and majesty of the lift.”
Wedding and duty manager at Anderton Boat Lift Carly Graham said: “This was a very special event for everyone and we are thrilled to have had our first wedding on site.”