The Derby Arm

The Derby Arm concept is a 30m high electro-mechanical structure that would lift canal boats out of the restored Derby Canal and place them into the river Derwent (and vice versa), allowing boats on the UK canal network to travel in to the very centre of Derby, up to the Silk Mill. This would reproduce the success that many other UK cities have experienced by restoring their urban waterways.

The Derby & Sandiacre Canal Trust’s latest vision for the Derby Waterside includes the Derby Arm, and we’re proud to present the following video that describes our vision in more detail. We thank Albino Igil ( for the their efforts in creating this video.

Derby Arm
The Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust’s iconic concept proposal for a Boat Lift is called the Derby Arm.

In conjunction with the restoration of much of the Derby Canal from Swarkestone to Sandiacre the Trust proposes to run a passenger boat service from the Canal Route at Pride Park along the River Derwent into the City Centre. In its way, using the River, will restore the type of navigation which historically used to serve the wharf at the Silk Mill.

A Boat Lift will be provided from the reconstructed canal down to the Derwent. The elegant mechanical ‘Derby Arm’ will be a spectacular piece of engineering which will be innovative in its use of low energy piston technology. A different type of boat lift was constructed in Falkirk for the Millenium and attracts income from about 400,000 visitors each year. There is well established and growing interest in Derby as a leisure destination and the Derby Arm will stand alongside the Football Stadium and the Velodrome venue.

The proposal is to run passenger boats, at least at the weekends, as an outward and separate return service so that visitors can spend time in the City Centre with among the destinations – the Silk Mill, the Museum and Art Gallery, Quad and the Market Place. It is also intended to allow privately operated or holiday hire canal boats up to the basin at the Council House steps.

There will be an opportunity for canal interpretation at a Visitor Centre, which will directly face the ‘Arm’ for viewing purposes. The visitor centre will chronicle the history of the Derby Canal and its restoration and may also exploit a theme of transportation to include car, rail, and aerospace development appropriate for the City.

The animation is a great help in explaining the Derby Arm concept.

Mike Wood, consultant architect to the Trust says:

"With this animation we will now be able to showcase the Trust’s vision of what will be an awesome tourist attraction. We also hope that it will spark the imagination of suitable commercial investors."

Although the animation depicts a narrow beam boat the design brief for the boat lift will be that it accommodates broad beam or two narrow boats.

For more information please contact:
Mike Wood, Consultant Architect to Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust: 07932 021559 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 
Chris Madge, Director, The Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust: 07827 946444 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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