The “Hotties” section of the Sankey Canal, located in the town centre of St. Helens, has an interesting history. It was originally dammed by Pilkington’s, a local glass manufacturer, to create a reservoir that provided cooling water for their nearby works. The heated water was then returned to the canal through sprays, creating large clouds of steam and significantly raising the temperature of the canal.
During the mid-1960s, an incident occurred involving Owens pet shop on Westfield Street, which added an unexpected element to the canal’s ecosystem. According to rumors, when the pet shop closed down, the owner decided to release the remaining tropical fish stock into the warm waters of the “Hotties.” Among these fish were cichlids, which are known for their aggressive behavior.
The cichlids adapted well to the canal’s environment and thrived in its warm waters. However, their presence became a nuisance for local anglers, as these aggressive fish would reportedly bite through their fishing lines. This added an interesting twist to the fishing experience in the “Hotties” section of the Sankey Canal.
While this historical account adds a unique aspect to the local fishing scene, it’s important to note that fishing regulations and practices may have evolved since then. It’s always recommended to adhere to current fishing regulations and guidelines when engaging in angling activities.