History of the Trust


Exeter Canal and Quay Trust Ltd (ECQT Ltd.) was established in 1981 with the purpose of preserving the Exeter Ship Canal and the Quay and the then operational Maritime Museum which had opened in 1969 and which had helped start the revitalization of the area. The Exeter Maritime Museum occupied Maclaines Warehouse and 60 Haven Road, as well as some of the cellars on the Quayside. As well as supporting the Museum other priorities were to facilitate the re-development of the historic buildings on the Quayside and to enable the construction of the Cricklepit Bridge. Once these were achieved by the early 1990’s and, following the closure of the Museum in 1997, the proactive stage of the Trust’s work in pursuing the preservation of land and buildings and the promotion and encouragement of high standards of architecture in the area declined and the Trust became engaged largely in property management of the renovated buildings. The Articles of Association were updated to reflect the closure of the Museum as well as the winding up of the Exeter Canal and Quay Development Trust which had been created at the same time as ECQT Ltd. as the Development Trust was no longer required as a fund raising body.

In 2007 the Trustees, who are also directors of ECQT Ltd., undertook a review of its constitution and decided to increase membership to 12 which required the recruitment of three new independent Trustees. The objectives were also widened to include the promotion and support of community participation in any form of healthy recreation, including waterborne sports. The objectives were further widened in 2010 to educate the public about the historic trade passing through Exeter Canal and Quay and the preservation and conservation of buildings of historic interest connected with that trade, whether or not within the Area. The widening of the objectives enabled the Trust to look to grant aiding worthwhile activities and projects in the area and, among the organisations to benefit to date, have been the Devon Wildlife Trust, the Exe Water Sports Association, the Visitor Centre, Tuckers Hall and arts groups such as the Burn the Theatre Company.

The Old Electricity Building, owned by Exeter City Council, has been refurbished and is now occupied by the Quay Climbing Centre - Clip N’ Climb - and operating as an indoor climbing centre.  Haven Banks Outdoor Education Centre is operated and managed by Exeter College providing a wide range of community based outdoor activities from the new centre.

Other works have included the construction of apartments on the land next to 60 Haven Road through the Signpost Housing Association with a retail unit below and infrastructure works including improvements to roads, car parking and the boat laying up area. 60 Haven Road is now the home of The Quayside Distillery and a Rockfish restaurant recently opened on the Piazza.

Much of the Quay area is therefore now regenerated and it is a popular destination for both tourists and locals. It is one of the most attractive areas of the City with a fascinating history, a mix of historic and contemporary design, antique shops, pubs and restaurants. Numerous events are also held on the Quay including food markets, dance events, Jazz on Summer Sunday afternoons and craft fairs. It has also been used for the filming of the popular Rosemary Pilchard crime series which attracts many German tourists to the area. As well as opportunities for informal walking, cycling and canoeing there are also many events on the River Exe, Transit Shed and Piazza Terracina.

Stylised map of Exeter Quay