I recently came upon certain documents relating to a company by the name of Strabane & Foyle Navigation Limited, (Company number NI 00R697). It was only on the 25th May 1987 that this bit player in our industrial archaeology passed a Special Resolution to have itself wound up voluntarily. The Liquidator was Brian A McMullan, accountant of 28 Hawkin Street Londonderry. The statement of assets and liabilities attached to the Declaration of Solvency disclosed that the Company had the then not inconsiderable sum of £56,378 standing to its credit at its Bank. A loan or advance of £620 was the only other asset shown. It did however still own a substantial portion of the by then long since disused Strabane Canal and in November 1988 it sold same to a local farmer by the name of Joseph Edwards for £5000. Why there was no value attributed to this in the statement of assets and liabilities is difficult to know. Perhaps it was perceived as having a zero value. If so then the sum realised must have come as a pleasant surprise.
Strabane & Foyle Navigation Limited acquired the Strabane Canal on 4th March 1913 from James Albert Edward Hamilton the third Duke of Abercorn who by then was tenant for life under the terms of the Marriage Settlement of 6th January 1869 which had been entered into in anticipation of the marriage of the second Duke, (then Marquis of Hamilton) to Lady Mary Anna Curzon. The canal lands were one of the properties the subject of this settlement.
The Second Duke had on 2nd December 1912 contracted with one William B Smyth and others acting on behalf of Strabane & Foyle Navigation Limited, (being a Company then intended to be and subsequently incorporated) for the sale of the Canal in fee simple subject to but with the benefit of a lease dated 28th June 1891 whereby the Second Duke had demised the Canal to Strabane Canal Company Limited for a term of thirty one years from 1st November 1890. The Second Duke died on 3rd January 1913 without having completed the sale and accordingly it fell to the third Duke, along with the trustees of the Settlement to complete the transaction. The price paid was £2,000.