|Bugsworth Basin Report - Ian Edgar||Follow the Enterclough Road.|
|A further note on the Upper Peak Forest Canal Diversion at Potters Hey||Ashton Canal, the decline of trade between 1931 and 1957|
|Canal Plans to Power 45,000 homes||First Section of Derelict Canal Opens|
|The Kinder Reservoir and Railway|
|Memory Corner||IWA welcomes wide-ranging Parliamentary support for Inland Waterways|
|News from the IWA||Old Newspaper Articles|
|Peak Canals that might have been||IWPS Walking Week-end on the Bude and Rolle Canals|
|Dropped in our suggestions box BOX…|
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BUGSWORTH BASIN REPORT January 2009
By Ian Edgar MBE Chairman IWPS and Hon. Site Manager
As regards the actual physical restoration of Bugsworth Basin I regret to say that this report has no really positive elements to give our members. We are still wrestling with problems relating to our new building, to the leaks and to further funding. Several meetings have been held with British Waterways and we believe we are now close to having an architects brief to go to tender for the new building. As of today (end of December) I have not yet received the final draft for checking but I expect to have it within the next week or so.
Following a written submission on 15th October to senior members of British Waterways Management where I expressed my frustration at our having no progress on the leaks after two and a half years it appeared to me some more positive action and direction is required. With this in mind I emphasised to BW that we can no longer ‘drift’ on this issue which has, I am sure, been surpassed by other issues within BW which may, quite rightly. have taken precedence. We agreed between us that the leaks at Bugsworth have perhaps been put on the ‘back-burner’ at BW.
Following a meeting on 21st November with Jon Humble of English Heritage and Andrew Tegg (BW Heritage Advisor NW) and one in Rochdale with BW Senior Managers on 4th December (arranged two days after my submission of 15th October) it was agreed that the BW engineers would have a design solution and provisional estimate of costs to complete the repair by the end of January 2009. It was very clear from that meeting in Rochdale that BW did not have the money to carry out this expensive work which was not threatening the structure of the Basin. Some would say that it is threatening the Basin, and I would agree, but I can only offer an opinion for which I am not qualified. BW are qualified to so state. Priorities have to be given to other BW structures where there was a threat and all this having to be covered from the greatly reduced funding available to BW. If the money is not available within BW then no amount of badgering by me will get it other than to seek it from third party sources. This is exactly what we have agreed to do. British Waterways will lead on this and with my knowledge of other projects funded in this way (including £600,000 plus for Bugsworth and Whaley Bridge to be spent 2009) we at least now have a timetable for the way forward. BW have a good record of securing funding but in the present recession sources of funding for none social issues will be harder to come by unless of course the threatened Government policy of spending our way out of trouble will lead to job creating works like the repairs at Bugsworth.. I will be following this up. With our history at Bugsworth there always seems to be one step forward and one step backward. In this case the prime mover in this project would have been Stephen Pugmire (BW Programme Manager) who will shortly be leaving BW to take up a position on project to widen the Panama Canal! The net result of that, from our purely selfish point of view is that completion of the design solution and costing will be delayed by another month. If that is the true delay, it should not affect our ability to target funding for the next financial year starting 1st April but it certainly does not help.
Of course we wish Stephen well in his new position and we welcome John Ackroyd who will take on Stephen’s duties until a replacement for Stephen is appointed. I have worked with John before so we know each other. He knows I will continue to push for Bugsworth. BW are still committed to Bugsworth Basin as a priority destination site. Of this I am assured. Let us hope 2009 is a better year than 2008 for our joint endeavours.
On a more positive note we welcome three new regular volunteers – Lucy Thomas, Philip Dowe and Dave Thompson. How good it is to have such enthusiastic and hard working volunteers. Having six working in a group has enabled us to do jobs which have been waiting for a couple of years much faster and with much better satisfaction. Such a job has been the clearing of the setted ramps and tracks down from Silk Hill to the wharves. Now we have to keep them clear and weed free which is a major task in itself as although the setts now look pristine come the Spring the weeds there will prosper. So we still need volunteers so PLEASE come along.
My appeal for somebody with a weed spraying qualification (by back-pack) in the last issue of ‘174’ did not bring any response. Both British Waterways and ourselves are looking at taking training courses. BW new nationwide policy is to try to bear the cost of training volunteers who have a track record of regular and long standing work on the waterways. There are over 249* volunteer groups working on BW property throughout the country whose aims are supported by BW. The IWPS Bugsworth Basin is one of the largest and most experienced (and where BW training would most beneficially be used) but the competition for the available funding will be tough. The IWPS at Bugsworth Basin is as well placed as any in that our programme of works under a Memorandum of Agreement and as a ‘Self Supervising Volunteer Organisation’ should put us near the top of the list. We shall have to wait and see but in the end the programme of weed control (in the trackbeds, towpath and walls) has to be addressed and in the end we (the IWPS) may have to bear the cost of training. This has to be decided and done before, say, Easter 2009. If any member of the IWPS has any suggestion (or non-member for that matter!) then please contact me urgently on 0161 427 7402.
* Source – Ed Moss BW National Volunteering Manager, NCA Autumn Meeting 5.10.08
FURTHER INTERPRETATION SCHEME FOR BUGSWORTH
British Waterways have appointed 55 Design to complete the interpretation project started by PLB of Malton. We shall be working closely with Eliza Botham for 55 Design to complete the job and have already provided a wealth of information. Part of the EMDA grant award includes the reprint of the Bugsworth Basin Guide at a cost of £1600 for 20,000 copies. These have now been supplied and delivered by local printer Peak Press of Chapel-en-le-Frith following a few minor changes in logos etc. During the season we go through vast amounts of these which are available on site, in local pubs, Tourist Information centres etc. The delay in the construction of the new Blackbrook House (funded from the same EMDA pot) means we are not getting maximum benefit out of these guides but certainly they are putting Bugsworth Basin ‘on the map’ as a place to visit.
Sourcing of the Guide, obtaining quotes and negotiating best price was by IWPS. Ordering and payment was by British Waterways direct. Storage (20,000 is two pallets) and distribution is on a weekly basis by the IWPS. We are looking for a volunteer who will enjoy driving round all outlets stocking up leaflet boxes etc. during the season Easter to October. If you would like to do this leisurely task then please contact me on 0161 427 7402.
BRITISH WATERWAYS NORTH WEST WORKS PROGRAMME
NEW LOOK BUGSWORTH BASIN WILL BE A REAL CROWD PLEASER
The following appeared in the BW NW Customer Autumn 2008 Newsletter:
Bugsworth Basin is set to capitalise on its status as a Scheduled Ancient Monument with a large range of improvements that will draw in visitors whilst conserving its industrial heritage.
Funding will be used to invest in upgrading the site which was a crucible of activity during the Industrial Revolution that swept the North West over 200 years ago. Four new vessel moorings are being created as part of the makeover for this popular British Waterways destination.
The works will be in keeping with its historical heritage and will feature:
The ambitious project is designed to reflect Bugsworth’s importance as a scheduled ancient monument and will deliver a high quality attraction, showcasing Bugsworth’s heritage features through linked access and amenities for a growing number of visitors.
I have reproduced the BW copy verbatim but for clarity:
VOLUNTEER RECOGNITION AWARD
British Waterways North West kindly presented the IWPS with a Volunteer Recognition Award for outstanding co-operation for the continued promotion, maintenance and development of Bugsworth Basin. Our photo shows the presentation was made at a BW User Group Meeting ay Dukinfield Town Hall on 14th October 2008. Our readers will note my height disadvantage against BWs Alan Carter who must be the tallest man within BW and I am the shortest volunteer! Suggestions by friends from other volunteer societies within the audience that I be provided with a chair to stand on were not taken up!
The decision to make the Award was made by BW Staff with whom I work on behalf of the IWPS. I am very grateful for their appreciation and support which is very welcome but we must always remember that I may be the Bugsworth Basin Site Manager and Chairman of the IWPS but without those regular team members behind me nothing could have been achieved and further visions will not be realised. This is an accolade for us all.
NEW ARCHIVE MATERIAL
I was recently contacted by Local Historian Keith Holford (also of Welldressing Fame) to tell me he had some papers which had been handed to him by one of his friends Peter Atkins who is the son of the late Cllr. C.D. Atkins of Chinley. These papers turned out to relate to the first days of the IWPS activity at Bugsworth Basin dating back to 1967/8 following the BW ‘cave-in’ to let the IWPS start restoration of the Basin. Whilst we salvaged a lot of the Bunker Archives from Holmsfield following the passing of John Bunker there is no reference to these negotiations there. This ‘find’ is therefore of immense importance and we much appreciate the thought of Peter Atkins to pass these papers over. They could have just as easily gone in the bin.
In due course, as always when time permits, these papers will be collated within the other Bunker, IWPS and my archives as the Manager from 1974. However I give an abridged version of one of the letters here. It came from a Mr. G.E.Hodson of the National Association of Specimen Groups and is dated 4th May 1967. I don’t know who Mr. Hodson was (I would be very surprised if he is still with us) nor the organisation under whose letterhead he writes. There is no evidence of the qualifications of Mr. Hodson. His letter makes interesting reading:
Dear Mr. Mrs. Bunker, 4th May 1967
I wish to refer to the joint survey of the Buxworth Basin during March. I must apologise for the delay….. etc. etc.
I have carried out an approximate assessment of the work involved, and estimate that there is 750 to 1,000 tons of silt, stone and debris to remove from this canal. A fee for the clearing out, refurbishing the canal wall, plus re-tanking the Basin to ensure no danger to nearby property by a constructor (sic) would be not less that £20,000, and probably in excess of £30,000.
As a project with voluntary labour, assuming an average force of not less than twenty men are prepared to participate on a part-time and weekend basis could take approximately two years. I would strongly recommend you, therefore, divide the site in to three sections and not two as originally envisaged. Section No. 1 could extend to the present point where the canal is stanked off to the gauging lock. We could then examine with practical experience behind us what the next step would be.
To avoid the use of expensive vehicles I would suggest we tackle the project as follows:
Cut down all trees and bushes and remove roots passing through the hydraulic seal: pulling up trees would be better.
Cut trees in to stakes and posts which can be driven into the embankment beyond the hydraulic seal on the side opposite to the tow-path.
Interweave the brushwood with these stakes to form a barrier to prevent the mud and debris sliding back in to the canal.
Strip down the existing wall working on 10-yard strips at a time.
Clear out everything except puddling clay, re-puddle and make good the hydraulic seal to a level above the overspill,
Reconstruct wall on the towpath side and consolidate path.
Fit standing boards at the gauging lock (sic) and remove present stanking boards to allow the water to fill refurbished sector.
See enclosed photos and drawing .
I trust the forgoing will assist the sub-committee in drawing up a plan of campaign, and I should be pleased to attend the meeting, conditional on being available.
With kind regards,
Just to make a few comments on the letter:
Although he refers to the ‘Basin’ I think he means the Entrance Canal from what was Bings Wood Pinch to Canal House. His estimate of tonnage and costing would therefore be for that section. The major works on this section, done by contractors, actually entailed taking out the wall and rebuilding as well as relining the whole section as he suggested. The only difference was that for most of the length we used a plastic sheet membrane on MOT and under concrete and not puddling clay. For that section at Canalside Cottages we used only a slightly different method. Otherwise his proposals were bang on although the tonnage actually removed during the several clearance and dredging processes was far in excess of his estimate probably by a factor of 10.
He was spot on about removing tree roots. Those caused us a lot of problems.
The stakes and post method with interleaved brushwood was adopted and most of the stakes were still there when we did the final contract works. They have since been removed but the system lasted for over 35 years.
Actually the major works on this section related only to the length from Bings Wood Pinch to the Eastern end of Canalside Cottages (Teapot Row). From there to Canal House and the Gauging Stop Place did not leak and was cleared by IWPS/WRG volunteers including a section which was done twice because of a land slip when the By Pass was being built.
British Waterways at Leeds in a letter of 28th May 1968 asked Bessie to advise the amount in the ‘reserve fund’ to sustain the work. Bessie responded on 6th June 1968 (she was always prompt) that there was in the order of £100 in the fund, with another £100 expected via the ‘contributions fund’. She says the Local Authority Corporate Members have promised ‘adequate financial support’ and there is ‘good reason’ to suppose that a further £400 will be made available, making £600 towards Stage 1 (i.e. the entrance canal presumably) of the restoration work.
Using the RPI method of calculating the value of £30,000 in present day terms would mean an amount in the region of £395,000 (2007). Although we were not made aware of the true spend by the various bodies which contributed to the restoration of the first three hundred yards from the former Bings Wood Pinch to Canalside Cotttages I am of the opinion that volunteer work, the Derbyshire County Council Contract, British Waterways funded contractors and BW in house costs would total not far short of £395,000 if indeed it was not exceeded - and that for only about half the length Mr. Hodson surveyed and costed. The other half was not nearly so bad and has had no major contract works. We can assume from this that the calculations of Eric Hodson were not far out. I think at that time Bessie was well advised. It was a shame that the projected regular work force of 20 volunteers never actually materialised and when I started shortly after the first 100 yards the maximum volunteer force was down to 10 or less. The enthusiasm soon waned. We did not get back to teams of 20 until Waterway Recovery Group under the auspices of Dave Turner, Mark and Ruth Tiddy and the ‘Sheffield Crowd’ got involved in a big and very supportive way. I think that if we had had a second ‘dropping off’ of support then we would have been lost.
Although I have the drawing referred to in the letter there are no photos. I will try to get them from Peter Atkins but I fear they are lost for ever.
There are still some members who will remember this period and events. Please write to the Editor with your comments. I am sure he will be pleased to publish them.
DERBYSHIRE MUSEUM FORUM
The IWPS Bugsworth Basin is now a member of the Derbyshire Museum Forum which includes most of the Local Authority, National Trust and Independent Museums and Heritage Sites in Derbyshire although the scheme is managed jointly between Derbyshire & Leicestershire. With the change in the IWPS role from Basin Restorers to Basin Managers it is very important that we learn from others in fields of volunteer recruitment and management, affecting legislation, visitor profiling etc. etc. There is no membership fee and no charge for attending seminars, meetings etc. and the time spent by the IWPS representative is calculated as volunteer time by British Waterways to value volunteer input nationwide. The last meeting was held at an Independent Motorcycle Collection in Bakewell and the next one at Buxton Art Gallery & Museum. The Bakewell meeting I found very interesting but of little relevance to our project at the moment as much time was spent in reviewing the law relating to child volunteers and visitors. Presently we are not permitted to have under-age volunteers due to insurance constraints but in the future? Maybe and we must be aware of our obligations.
I presently have more responsibilities within the IWPS for my own comfort. I cannot be taking on more so I am looking for a volunteer who will attend these meetings, listen, digest and then pass back to me any relevant information on which we should (a) act to ensure conformity and compliance or (b) useful for general management of our museum and shop facility which should be operating late 2010.
If there is anybody who feels that muck shifting and heavy work is not to their taste then this is an opportunity for them to help the IWPS in a very important alternative way. If you feel you would like to do this job, and want to get a ‘taster’ for it by coming with me to the next meeting at 1 p.m. on the 19th January at Buxton then please contact me urgently, The following meeting will be on the 25th February in Chesterfield.
MACCLESFIELD CANAL SOCIETY
Congratulations to the Macclesfield Canal Society and British Waterways for their achievement in securing a grant of £78.4K for the restoration of the side ponds at Bosley Locks plus other projects. Of this £49.9K is from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £28.5K from Macclesfield Borough Council’s Canal Partnership Grant Scheme. The rest of the funding is as BW staff time.
This is serious money and has been achieved by the drive and co-operation between the Voluntary Sector and British Waterways. If all this goes well, and we are sure it will, then further doors will be opened for further restoration on the Macclesfield Canal. The Society is well on the way to completion of the restoration of the railings at Ramsdell Hall in co-operation with British Waterways. Yet again it emphasises the fact that voluntary work on canals cannot possibly proceed without a partnership particularly with BW. In the case of the Macclesfield it is already a well used through route on the Cheshire Ring and even through the dark years it was never actually closed although navigation at times was with some difficulty! What is happening now is bankside improvements to an already navigable waterway. In addition to Ramsdell Hall the MCS volunteers actually have and will be clearing vegetation along the whole length. Such co-operation can only auger well for the new found willingness to harness the value and enthusiasm of volunteers. There are snags ahead especially as different BW regions are embracing what is intended to be a national policy with differing levels of enthusiasm. I am confident the new partnerships will work but it requires commitment on both sides.
Those in waterways circles and ‘in the know’ will be aware that John Fletcher has resigned after many successful years as National Chairman of the Inland Waterways Association. John has been a good friend and a staunch supporter of the IWPS and Bugsworth Basin. Many will remember his acute annoyance (fuming was probably be the better description) that the volunteers had been ignored during the Bugsworth Basin opening speech by a Board member of British Waterways. John was kind enough to go out of his way to congratulate me and the other volunteers following my seizure of the microphone to put that matter right amid cheers from the assembled multitude. During his chairmanship the IWA has fought some fierce battles not the least of which has been the withdrawal of funds from British Waterways by Defra and the consequent impact of this on future funding for waterways under the many volunteer-driven restoration societies like the IWPS. John was and is a firm supporter of ‘partnership working’ (as indeed I am) but our patience has been sorely tried on occasions. As an individual Member of the IWA and as Chairman of the IWPS as a Corporate Member of the IWA I have first-hand knowledge that John with his very professional Chief Executive and supporting staff has steered the IWA through some difficult waters.
So we wish John a happy retirement. As a keen boater I am sure we will see John regularly on the waterways with the next Fletcher generation after the due date on 20th January 2009. Congratulations John. You deserve your retirement. Take time to enjoy family life now. The debt owed by waterways to you is immense.
BRITISH WATERWAYS AND LICENCE EVASION
The increasing licence and mooring fees charged by British Waterways and paid for willingly by most boat owners has led to concerns that some boaters are ‘not playing the game’ by using their boats and enjoying the waterways without paying anything. This has been going on for some years but at last BW has started to get tough and take action against this minority. BW has issued some interesting figures:
Furthermore if a boater delays paying his dues by one month he will automatically have a further £150 surcharge on top of the monies due on his boat.
Whilst the IWPS is not a boating Society we do support BW and the majority of boaters who play the game. The loss of revenue by evasion is not just the loss to BW but to the system as a whole and eventually limits the funding which is available for restoration societies in general. We were very pleased therefore to have a very energetic enforcement officer in charge at NW Waterways. To our knowledge at least 10 boats have been seized on the Peak Forest Canal. Some have or will be sold and some will be crushed as scrap. This new operation by BW has our full support.
THE IWPS WALK CALDER & HEBBLE NAVIGATION
This was an excellent walk under the guidance of Sandra Bligh who, it was very clear from the start, was an expert on this area with many years of research behind her. Sandra called her walk ‘Canals and Railways around Dewsbury’ which certainly lived up to its name. Seventeen or so walkers, some regulars and a few newcomers, started out from the Canal Basin at Savile Town Dewsbury to do a circular 5 mile walk which turned out to be a most interesting visit to the routes of many long-gone railway lines, a navigable waterway (The New Cut of 1798) and the course of the original canal line (1764) which had been converted in to a flood channel!
Sandra pointed out the sites of many a Yorkshire industrial enterprise which was now no more and which at one time had been household names. Levelled sites which nature had taken back were everywhere to be seen which was reflected in our visit to the ‘Perseverence’ pub – a pub with no customer other than ourselves and with any habitation to provide its clientele some considerable distance away. The stand-in landlord kindly provided sandwiches and soup which left us with not as much choice as usual but nevertheless was very welcome. We all reflected on the state of the traditional pub industry where pubs were closing for good everywhere. I felt a certain amount of despondency walking this area trying to visualise what it had been like. Dewsbury town is quite a lively place but the surrounding area from which the town must have drawn its prosperity somewhat depressing. That is my own opinion and perhaps locals would disagree.
All in all this was a most enjoyable walk, as always, in good company and with an excellent couple of guides who were able to answer most questions raised by our walkers.
Many thanks to Sandra for her organisation. The day was most enjoyable and ended with a visit to ‘The Leggers’ pub at the Canal Basin which provided coffee to warm us up and some excellent ales (for those who wanted them) to round off the day. If you are in Dewsbury pop in to ‘The Leggers’ – an excellent place to pause and enjoy and which bucks the trend of the disappearing English pub.
IWPS WEEK END AWAY OCTOBER 2008 BUDE & ROLLE CANALS
This was another fantastic IWPS week-end in Cornwall and Devon to view these two canals and to meet some wonderfully committed people who are striving to protect the routes and history of both canals. A lot of restoration work has been done in Bude where boats can enter from the Sea Lock. Unfortunately we cannot feature a full report in this issue of ‘174’ as this is being compiled by Joint Organiser of the walk Andy Screen. Andy is overloaded with work in his professional life and simply does not have the time to write up the walk but it will hopefully appear in a later edition of ‘174’.
Our thanks must go to Andy and to David Slater for their organisation and also to the local canal society members who accompanied us on both days to show us features we would have missed without them. Included was a ‘back door’ visit to RHS Rosemoor Garden for around 30 of us to visit the lime kilns without payment. David told me that he had undertaken that as we had not paid an entrance fee we would ‘not look at the flowers on the way round’! Some of our number who could not tackle the distance involved met us walkers at the Gardens for a final farewell. Many of us stayed on a few days afterwards to enjoy what is a very scenic and interesting area.
IWPS WALKS PROGRAMME FOR 2009
Due to other pressures I have been unable to finalise the programme for the whole year but by the time this issue of ‘174’ is received from the printers I may well have completed the arrangements. In that case you will find a separate programme with the ‘174’
However please note:
The NEXT WALK is on Saturday 14th February and organised by Dave and Izzie Turner. West Stockwith circular, 3-4 miles Chesterfield Canal, River Trent and River Idle. Then a guided walking tour of the village in the afternoon.
The WEEK-END AWAY will be on the Wilts. & Berks. Canal in co-operation with the local Society.
A firm arrangement is for a walk on 1st August 2009 on The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal.
The other dates are (actual walks not yet firmed up with organisers yet)
4th April 2009
6th June 2009
5th December 2009
Please support our walks programme. Each walk is organised by a volunteer and is enjoyable as well as being good exercise.
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Follow the Enterclough Road.
by Malcolm Bower
Forgive me for going on about old roads, but I find most things related to old transport systems quite fascinating. No matter whether they are canals, roads (packhorse or turnpike), tramways or railways, it is interesting to track their routes and history and to discover why they are left the way they are. This is especially true if they are local and there is a puzzle to them. In Feb 2008 issue of 174 I reported how Don had kindly solved the whereabouts of Enterclough (near to Woodhead Chapel), which was one end of an early turnpike road northwards from Whaley Bridge. Since then a few other items related to the road have emerged.
The first edition OS map, which is dated 1843 but seems to include later items, shows the reservoirs and railway in the Longdendale valley; the Woodhead reservoir was started in 1848 and the adjacent Manchester-Sheffield railway was opened in 1845. The reservoirs appear smaller than on the modern OS maps but this is perhaps early artistic licence. However at Woodhead there is both the newly diverted road across the dam and the newly drowned turnpike that keeps to the south of the valley before crossing the River Etherow to the Enterclough tollgate at the junction with the road to Holmfirth. On the 1898 map shown by Don, we can see the remains of the track leading up from the water to the side of the St. George & Dragon pub at the road junction. On Google Earth you can see both the remains of the pub and the track.
To explore this further, I did a circular walk from the Torside car park, eastwards along the Woodhead trail and to the tunnel portals. The last time I had been along there was riding in a carriage and hauled by an electric loco. From the portals you can climb up the hillside, cross the main road with care and eventually get on to an earlier line of the Woodhead Pass, which in turn leads back down at an easy gradient to the main road by the bridge over a branch of the reservoir. The walk by the main road is not to be recommended as the heavy traffic is continuous and close, but the site of Enterclough quarry at the bottom of Hey Clough is now overgrown. An angled path gives respite from the traffic and leads to Woodhead Chapel, a sad reminder of a farming community that was drowned to slake Manchester’s thirst some 160 years ago. Photos now show little of what was evident even 100 years ago.
A slight digression, but have you noticed the property named Old House near Torside that is by the road on the drop into Longdendale? It is a recommended B&B, and is named Old House on the modern OS Explorer map, on the 1840s first edition OS map, and also on the Burdett map published in 1791 and surveyed in the 1760s. I wonder when it was a new house.
Also I wonder when and why the name Enterclough was dropped. The house at the top of the pass was called Saltersbrook, after the trade in Cheshire salt borne by the packhorses plying the pre-turnpike track to Yorkshire. The 1840s map shows the reservoir and railway tunnel named Woodhead, so this was perhaps adopted for the area. It is shorter and easier to remember.
Photos of the Enterclough Area by Malcolm Bower
Another circular walk I made was from Bugsworth Basin, up the tramway and the diversion to Whaley Bridge, across the bypass to Slackhall and back via New Smithy. The descent to New Smithy brings you onto the street behind the Crown & Mitre pub. This was the original turnpike that ran from Chapel to Hayfield, but it was diverted slightly when the Midland Railway was constructed in the 1860s. The photo shows the old road at the rear of the pub and looking northwards to Hayfield, and behind my camera the old road ends as a stub with the railway behind heading away to the Cowburn tunnel and Edale. The cars seen in the distance heading towards us will veer left in front of the pub, under the railway bridge and then turn left for Chapel. The house by the junction is still named Toll Gate View, as a reminder of the old road. This was all constructed about 60 years after the tramway, basin and canal were built and one important reason was for the transport of limestone from the Peak Forest Quarries. The earlier system was no longer adequate to meet the demand.
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A further note on the Upper Peak Forest Canal Diversion at Potters Hey.
By Derek Brumhead
The unstable valley sides described by Peter Whitehead in his article of this diversion (174, July 2008) as he will know are caused by glacial deposits of silts, clay, sands and gravels lying above rotten rock. The same problem was met during the construction of the Midland Railway a short distance to the west where it approached Brunswick Mill (Swizzels Matlow today). A huge retaining wall had to be built, which is visible today from the mill's car park. The Manchester Evening News reported that
A notable feature is a massive retaining wall supoorting the Brunswick Mill, which stands just above it and abutting on the line. The wall is constructed of masonry on a concrete foundation and extends a distance of 100 yards at a height of 30 feet above the line. It is succeeded for a further distance of 100 yards by another wall, but only half the height. The ground in this neighbourhood is of a very treacherous description and many difficulties had to be overcome in sinking the foundations of the wall and preventing the settlement of the mill, which at one time appeared imminent...The course of the canal has had to be diverted a little in order to admit the railway to be built.
The builders of the canal in the 1790s appear to have recognised the same problem for the stretch of abandoned canal is supported above the valley slope with abutments.
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Ashton Canal, the decline of trade between 1931 and 1957
by Peter J Whitehead
This article is based on records in the Jack Brady archive, now in the care of the IWPS, and the information reproduced here was initially obtained from original canal tally sheets. These first came into the possession of the Peak Forest Canal Society but since its dissolution their whereabouts are unknown. Hopefully, they were transferred to the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port.
The major carrier mentioned in the tally sheets was John Hall & Sons1 and others were T Hassall, J Roscoe & Company Ltd2, West Leigh Carrying Company, Manchester Ship Canal Company, E J Schofield and Simpson Davies & Son. Cargoes of coal, shale, soda ash, lime ash, acid, cullet, cotton, wheat, tea and timber were mainly short hauled from the Rochdale Canal in Manchester to various wharfs on the Ashton Canal as well as to Marple and New Mills on the Peak Forest Canal.
Totals for the four years covered were:
By far, the major traffic was coal, which accounted for around 25% of total tonnage. This was mainly carried from Bradford Colliery to unidentified locations on the Rochdale Canal, although considerable quantities were also carried to Piercy Street3, Edge Lane4 and Hollins Mill at Marple5. Over the period, Hollins Mill also took delivery of 1,200 tons of raw cotton from Manchester Docks via the Rochdale Canal.
Edge Lane also took delivery of large quantities of soda ash, shale and lime ash. The soda ash would be destined for some of the many chemical works in the Clayton area and it is likely that the shale and lime ash went to a road-stone works. In 1934, 4,390 tons of coal out of a total of 5,508 tons was consigned to Edge Lane and, curiously, most of this came by way of the Rochdale Canal and not, as might be expected, from the nearby Bradford Colliery.
Timber was mainly delivered to Southern’s Timber Yard6 at Piccadilly, Manchester, although in 1932, 10 tons was delivered to an unidentified location at Reddish on the Stockport Branch Canal.
In 1934, T Hassall carried some 1,634 tons of salt to an unidentified destination simply recorded as a warehouse, while cargo described as shale and dirt7 was sent from the Bradford Private Branch to an unidentified location on the Stockport Branch Canal. Lastly, 297 tons of cullet8 was carried from Whittles Croft Wharf9, Piccadilly, Manchester, to New Mills.
These glimpses of traffic on the Ashton Canal and its branches, at a time when its commercial life was rapidly drawing to a close are tantalisingly brief but, nevertheless, they do provide an insight into what it must have been like in more halcyon days.
The maximum tonnage carried on the Ashton Canal, including its branches, was 514,241 tons and this occurred in 1838. By 1905 this had dwindled by around 53% to 241,176 tons. The inexorable reduction in traffic on the branches of the Ashton Canal was echoed on the comparatively short main line. Worsening maintenance standards, the ever-widening railway network, the development of road transport and the payment of uneconomical wages all had an effect. Unfortunately, there is a gap in the records between 1905 and 1930 to show the pattern of decline over that tumultuous period. Later, tonnages carried on the Ashton, Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals were no longer provided separately, possibly in an attempt to mask the parlous situation that any one canal was actually in. The combined tonnages carried on the three canals for the period 1933 to 1957 are reproduced below.
1. John Hall & Sons Yard and Wharf was adjacent to the junction of the Lower Branch of the Ashton Canal at Piccadilly, Manchester, and their factory was beside the Peak Forest Canal, off Wharf Street, Dukinfield. The company manufactured bricks and tiles of all kinds with firebricks being a speciality.
2. Roscoe’s Coal Yard and Wharf was situated on Meadow Street Wharfs, Piccadilly, Manchester, on the Lower Branch of the Ashton Canal.
3. Piercy Street was situated in Ancoats, Manchester, between Mill Street and the Ashton Canal. The only cotton mill actually on Piercy Street was Phoenix Mill but there were numerous mills, including a silk mill, and engineering works in the vicinity.
4. Edge Lane forms the boundary between Openshaw and Droylsden, which was a heavily industrialised area.
5. Hollins Mill was situated on a private branch of the Peak Forest Canal at Marple, between locks 12 and 13.
6. Southern’s Timber Yard and Wharf was adjacent to Store Street Aqueduct, Piccadilly, Manchester.
7. Shale and dirt from the Bradford Private Branch was waste from Bradford Colliery produced as new underground galleries were being dug to provide access to coal seams. This may also have been augmented by furnace waste from the adjacent wire works of Richard Johnson and Nephew. The absence of large slag heaps around Bradford Colliery indicates that waste produced there was constantly being removed from the area.
8. Cullet is broken glass but the purpose of taking this to New Mills is unknown.
9. Whittles Croft Wharf was in a triangle of land bounded by the Ashton and Rochdale Canals and Great Ancoats Street. In the 19th century, this wharf included a canal warehouse and Store Street Mills, both of which had an association with the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company.
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Canal Plans to Power 45,000 homes
British Waterways have unveiled plans to power 45,000 homes with hydro-electric and wind turbines along Britain’s historic canals and rivers.
They want to construct small-scale hydro schemes and 50 wind turbines on land it owns over the next five years.
They say the scheme will raise over one million pounds a year, which will be used for waterway maintenance purposes.
The locations of the turbines have not yet been decided.
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RAILWAY & CANAL HISTORICAL SOCIETY
SIXTH WATERWAYS HISTORY CONFERENCE
IWPS members are cordially invited to attend this conference on the theme Waterways People to be held in Birmingham next March. Subjects covered by the papers will range from contractors to maintenance personnel, to boatmen, toll clerks and carriers, and an ironmaster who was also instrumental in promoting local canals. Society members may find paper on German Wheatcroft and his family of canal carriers who were active on the Cromford Canal and beyond to be of particular interest.
The conference aims to get to the heart of what makes the canal world tick - the people.
The conference will be held on Saturday 14 March 2009 in the Central Library Conference Centre in Birmingham. Registration and coffee from 10.00 am, close at 4.30 pm. The cost will be about £20 which will include a buffet lunch.
For more details and a Booking Form contact Christopher Dick, 19 Sadler Walk, St Ebbes, Oxford OX1 1TX, phone 01865-726017
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First Section of Derelict Canal Opens
The first section of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal has reopened, after lying derelict for some 46 years, as part of major restoration work in Salford.
A section of the 15-mile long canal is now open to canal boats at Middlewood, Salford.
This canal was once a vital route for carrying for carrying coal from mines and cotton to mills during the Industrial Revolution.
One of the mines providing coal was the famous Wet Earth Colliery at Clifton, which has associations with James Brindley. It was here that he designed and implemented an ingenious hydraulic power scheme to continuously pump water from the mine. His work included the construction of an inverted siphon below the river Irwell as a result of which it was said that he was ‘the man who made water run uphill.’
Coal from Wet Earth Colliery and the adjoining Botany Bay Colliery was carried down the 1½-mile long Fletcher’s Canal to join the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal at the south end of Clifton Aqueduct. Fletcher’s Canal was built by Matthew Fletcher who operated a number of mines in the Clifton and Kearsley area of the Irwell Valley and to do this he modified part of Brindley’s hydraulic scheme and then extended it. Fletcher was also the Chairman of the Mersey and Irwell Navigation Company and a Committeeman of the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal Company.
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The Kinder Reservoir and Railway
Derek Brumhead, Ken Rangeley and Jean Rangeley. The Kinder Reservoir and Railway, pp 92, 117 photographs and other illustrations, New Mills Heritage Centre, designed by countryscape, 2008. £14.99.
In 1899, Stockport Corporation acquired the ownership of the Stockport and District Waterworks Company and became responsible for the town’s water supply. The new waterworks committee immediately set about investigating how additional supplies of water might be provided, and after taking advice, decided that a new reservoir should be built in the Pennine hills to supply Stockport. This reservoir was to be sited two miles upstream of the village of Hayfield at the head of the Kinder valley below the scarp of Kinder Scout, and an agreement was signed with an experienced contractor, Abram Kellett of Ealing, to build it. The subsequent history of the construction of the waterworks and its associated standard gauge railway, which required two Acts of Parliament, is a saga of extraordinary complexity involving severe geological difficulties; changes in design from a masonry to clay/earth dam; the death of the consulting engineer and the resignation of his son who succeeded him; litigation between the constructor and Stockport Corporation involving large sums of money; the unilateral termination of the contract by the corporation and a decision to build the reservoir itself; the employment of a workforce numbering over 700, mostly navvies, many of whom required accommodation locally or brought their own huts with them; and a special train to carry them to the dam site from Hayfield. Taking over nine years to complete, the project, despite being greeted initially with consternation by the local population and resulting in enormous upheaval to village life, eventually was a triumph for the corporation, its consulting engineers, and its highly competent and dedicated managerial and labour workforce.
The authors have brought together in the book a unique collection of nearly 120 photographs of this period, made by one of the authors, Ken Rangeley, who was newsagent in Hayfield for forty years. These photographs, with explanatory captions, are presented together with a history of the construction of the dam and the railway, a description of the route, and an account of the social history involving the navvies and other personnel - all supported bynewspaper reports, and a range of documents such as drawings of the dam’s construction, geological sections, and reproductions of the parliamentary plans of the railways. At the end, a guided trail describes what can be seen today, and there are lists of sources and publications.
The book is in A4 format with 92 pages, with a coloured cover. Besides the photographs the book is punctuated with attractive extracts taken from the volume of the original engineering drawings for the masonry dam, including two full page coloured reproductions on the rear cover. The book is on sale at price £14.99 at New Mills Heritage Centre, and other bookshops. It can be purchased by post from The Administrator, New Mills Heritage Centre, Rock Mill Lane, New Mills, High Peak, SK22 3BN for £16.00 which includes postage and packing. The book can also be purchased from IWPS Sales either in the shop at Bugsworth or by post from Ian Edgar MBE.
Burdett's Map of Derbyshire - 1791
In the August 2008 issue of "174", Keith Holford mentioned how Chinley was also known as Four Lane Ends. Burdett’s map of Derbyshire that was surveyed in the 1760s and published in 1791 is shown here for the local area. Chinley is at the crossroads where the war memorial is now sited near the railway bridge, and is actually called Lane End. It is obvious how the coming of the railway altered the road configuration there. However it is interesting to have the modern OS map alongside and see how place-names have changed or can still be made out.
Firstly Bugsworth is spelt "Bagsworth", and "Bagsworth Green" to the north is now Green Head. Bottom Hall near Bridgemont is now Bothomes Hall, whereas Bottoms Hall near Marple is still that. Many names are now simply referred to as a farm now, although some changes are odd. Eccles Pike was Eccles the Pike and Low Leighton at New Mills was Low Lafton. Whaley Bridge was simply Whaley (which was the bridge?) and the road to Stockport set off up the hill along Whaley Lane. Brownside, which is sometimes confused with Ian’s former residence Browside, was near Milton and I think is now Breckhead, and the name Brownside only exists as a district.
A peculiar case is just off the Chapel to Hayfield road at what is now Peep O Day, where according to legend the first beams of sunlight illuminated the face of the owner’s beloved. I presume it is their names engraved around the circular window there with the year 1841. From this delightful story we go to the other end of the scale to find that 60 years before the place was called Cuckolds Nest. There must be a good story there!
This was all 30 years before the Peak Forest Canal, the Basin and the tramway were constructed. In fact the only canals marked in the county elsewhere on the map were the "Chesterfield Canal to the River Trent", the Cromford as "Intended Canal" and the T&M as the more verbose "Canal from the Mersey to the Trent". But the standard of roads and tracks is interesting and the better roads are obviously those marked with miles, presumably meaning they actually had milestones. These are Whaley to Chapel and Sparrowpit, leading on either to Castleton and Sheffield or to Peak Forest and Stoney Middleton; Buxton to Tideswell and Great Hucklow; Whaley to Buxton via White Hall and not Long Hill; and Buxton to Moss House for Congleton and Macclesfield.
The Snake Pass had not yet been built and the former Sheffield to Chapel road via Mam Tor and Rushup Edge was only a track. So was the Chapel to Hayfield route as it was not yet turnpiked, and similarly for all the roads around Bugsworth. An indication of how the area was impoverished compared with other parts of the county is that only two estates are given with the owner’s name. These are at Ford, near Slack Hall, Rushup, owned by S Bagshaw, and at Bank Hall south of Chapel, owned by S Frith. This Squire Frith is mentioned in the Potts’ book on Peakland Trackways as having amassed a fortune from his trains of packhorses in the 18th century.
All was to be changed vastly in the following century with the coming of the canal, improvement to the roads and trackways, and the start of building the railways.
photos, taken by Ron Toothill c1975, show Mark Tiddy in his
fancy dress prior to setting off to attend a ‘Cold Hole’ party
held under the bridge at Dale Street basin on the Rochdale Canal
Mark, so attired, Ron and Fred Wardle travelled by train from Stockport to Manchester.
The ‘Smollie’ however had a serious design defect - it was easy to keep the ‘prime mover’ fuelled with alcohol but there was no facility to relieve excessive hydraulic pressure build up. We have yet to learn how this was achieved.
IWA welcomes wide-ranging Parliamentary support for Inland Waterways
The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) today welcomed the support that a large number of MPs gave for the waterways in an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 28 October. Charlotte Atkins MP, IWA Parliamentarian of the Year, had called for the debate on the future of the inland waterways, focusing on restoration and funding of the network. The debate was extremely well attended, with 22 Members of Parliament present, 18 of whom spoke in support of the waterways.
Huw Irranca-Davies MP, the new Minister for the Waterways said that:
"It is one of the best attended sessions that I have seen in Westminster Hall for quite some time, and that reflects the passion, commitment and knowledge that people have displayed in their contributions."
Charlotte Atkins spoke eloquently about the heritage of the waterways and how IWA had done so much to save them, through its vision for the waterways and the work done by its volunteer working parties since the 1970s. She spoke about how restored waterways can lead to real opportunities for development, boosting visitor numbers. The MPs who spoke supported these views, giving examples from their own constituencies about restored canals and how they have contributed to regeneration and tourism. Many congratulated the IWA on its direct contribution to restoration over the years.
However there were also examples given of concern that similar opportunities for improving the environment and commerce for local communities will be lost without funding for the navigation authorities and restoration work.
Charlotte Atkins specifically raised the issue of funding by central government for British Waterways and the Environment Agency saying that:
for British Waterways, after the peak in funding in 2003-04, at more than £76 million, "grants have been severely reduced" and "inevitably that has impacted on British Waterways works programme, and it must have jeopardised its target of a vibrant expanded network by 2012."
for the Environment Agency, "It is handicapped by a large maintenance and navigational improvement backlog. [It] receives some £14 million in grants, but the estimated cost of completing the backlog of capital work is said to be £30 million". She went on to say that this meant that structures had not received routine maintenance.
The Minister responded, saying that it was good for him, so early in his Ministerial career, to address some of the issues raised, and recognised the contribution made by waterways to economic, social and health benefits, as well as social inclusion, conservation of heritage, the environment and regeneration. He also praised the work of volunteers in restoring waterways and acknowledged the benefits that restoration can deliver in public benefits. He assured MPs that he had noted their concerns.
Speaking on behalf of IWA, Roger Squires, Chairman of Navigation Committee said:
"It is rare indeed for an Adjournment Debate to be attended by quite so many MPs, who all wanted to speak, and I congratulate Charlotte Atkins on securing the debate. The Minister can now be in no doubt about the strength of feeling which MPs have for waterways all around the country, recognising only too well the benefits that accrue to their constituencies when waterways are restored and existing waterways kept in good order. The message is clear. Even in times of austerity there are some works which deliver such great public benefits that money simply must be found to invest in them. The waterways clearly fall into that category. If the Government is looking for public works to invest in as part of its strategy for combating the effects of the recession the inland waterways has a proven track record for being an extremely good candidate."
News from the IWA
Contrary to expectation, H M Revenue & Customs has confirmed that it only intends the lower (energy) rate of 5% VAT to apply to the whole supply of red diesel, whether used for domestic energy consumption on a vessel (e.g. heating, appliances, etc), or propulsion, rather than the general rate of 17.5%, or differing rates for the separate components of usage. H M Revenue & Customs has issued a guidance note at www.hmrc.gov.uk/briefs/excise-duty/brief4908.htm
Waterways on Television
The potential frustration for many waterways enthusiasts of seemingly good television programmes about the inland waterways only being available in one region continues with the start of a new series on BBC2 Wales of 'Hidden Histories' on 4th November (7.30 pm), featuring the building of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, and a range of other industrial archaeological gems in Wales over four following weeks. Occasionally such programmes are made available on DVDs subsequently, and iwashop.com has recently secured a stock of each of the following 10-part series, first shown on Granada and Discovery channels:
The first series of Locks & Quays (http://www.iwashop.com/ecommerce/proddetail.asp?prod=DD44)
Narrowboat at Work (http://www.iwashop.com/ecommerce/proddetail.asp?prod=DD43)
The following Discovery and BBC waterways five and six-part TV series are also available:
Working the Thames (http://www.iwashop.com/ecommerce/proddetail.asp?prod=DD41)
The River (http://www.iwashop.com/ecommerce/proddetail.asp?prod=DD40)
A Conservation Management Plan for the Basingstoke Canal has been agreed by the Canal Authority's Joint Management Committee at its October meeting. The Basingstoke Canal is a very rich habitat for wildlife. This has long been recognised and the canal has attracted botanists since Victorian times. What makes it unique is the changing quality of the water; from very alkaline as it rises from springs in the chalky Hampshire Hills, to much more acidic as it runs through the Greensand in to Surrey. This makes the canal an ideal home for a rich variety of aquatic plants and it has more types of aquatic plant recorded than any other waterway in Britain. These plants provide a home to 25 species of dragonfly. For these reasons, most of the canal (with the exception of the stretch through Woking Town Centre) has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Natural England.
This SSSI status provides special protection for the canal, but also puts a number of important obligations on the managers and owners of the canal to enhance and protect the wildlife value. The Canal Authority has established a Conservation Working Party that works closely with English Nature, The Wildlife Trusts, Environment Agency, IWA, Liverpool University, Farnborough College, the Canal Angling Association and the Surrey and Hants Canal Society to ensure best practice is carried out in balance with the various recreational demands on the canal. The collapsed and unrestored Greywell Tunnel, at the western end of the Canal, is also a designated SSSI in its own right for its population of bats. It is the largest known winter hibernation site for bats in Western Europe.
Despite careful management a noticeable decline in the value of the SSSI has been noted in recent years. The reasons are many fold, however the key causes are:
over shading from trees
the impact of a variety of invasive alien species of plants and animals
concerns over water quality
high levels of sediment caused by leaf litter.
These all put pressure on the canal and reduce its ability to tolerate recreational use, including boat movements.
A replacement Canal Management Plan was developed, replacing both the 1994 Basingstoke Canal SSSI Management Plan and the 1991 Post Restoration Management Plan to provide for a combined management document. It was the aim of the Plan to contain the best practice available to ensure the SSSI is preserved in balance with recreational demand. In the course of drafting the plan, IWA has been involved in detailed consultation and had several key concerns that it influenced through collaborative working with Surrey and Hampshire Canal Society.
Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway
On 8th October, Bedford Borough Council voted unanimously in favour of allowing construction company Balfour Beatty to use clay from a local wood in exchange for cutting a channel alongside the road for the new Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway. The Mayor of Bedford, Frank Branston, championed a motion at a full Bedford Borough Council meeting to approve an innovative deal that would see a section of the waterway (potentially up to 10% of the route) constructed in parallel with the new A421 route. Balfour Beatty will be permitted to dig clay for the road's embankments from the council-owned Berry Wood at Wootton. The aim is that the 500-yard section could be cut by Christmas 2009, but this depends upon Bedford-Milton Keynes Waterway Group being able to get planning permission and technical details approved by 30 September 2009.
The scheme approved by councillors will involve the creation of a stretch of the Waterway and a new lake, and for the duration of the road works, a 'borrow pit' for the import and export of soil. By exploiting the synergies between the Waterway and road developments, the Council will also substantially reduce the carbon footprint of the road construction by avoiding the need for the bulk movement of material along the public highway and regenerate an area of woodland to create a new country park, open up new public access routes, and take the cycling Sustrans Route 51 off-road.
Bow Back Rivers
The first phase in the construction of British Waterways' new lock and water control structure on Prescott Channel on the Bow Back Rivers in London is nearing completion. Tidal lock-out has been achieved and the new sector lock gates were successfully tested on 24th September. The first vessel to pass through the lock was a Rigid Inflatable Boat carrying Griff Rhys Jones, who is filming a major series on rivers to be broadcast on BBC1 next year. The first freight barges are expected to be brought in early in 2009 to meet the Olympic logistics construction programme.
IWA has committed to spend over £60,000 of funds on the Cotswold Canals. The money comes from a legacy from the late Elsie May Watson. Just over £15,000 is being made available to Cotswold Canals Trust in the form of a grant to cover work undertaken this summer at Goughs Orchard Lock on the Thames & Severn Canal.
The remaining balance of the £60,000 legacy, plus accruing interest, is to be spent on the Cotswold Canals restoration associated with work to be undertaken by IWA's Waterway Recovery Group, with WRG volunteers being delegated discretion on how the funds are to be spent in association with Cotswold Canals Trust.
The bequest comes from a will originally made about fifty years ago, and did not specify IWA as a beneficiary, but left charitable payments from Ms Watson's estate to the discretion of her trustees under the will. Those trustees thought IWA's work a particularly deserving cause, especially in the light of IWA's lobbying against government grant-in-aid cuts to the two large navigation authorities, and asked that the money be spent on waterway restoration work that had suffered as a consequence of Government's cuts. IWA considered the Cotswold Canals restoration as a particularly compelling case for the funding in the circumstances, hence the offer of funds to Cotswold Canals Trust, and the wish to maximise what the money can achieve with the support of WRG's work.
IWA has a strong track record of maximising the benefit of funds left to it via legacies. For example, much of the restoration work at the northern end of the Montgomery Canal over a period of more than twenty years was supported, part-financed and encouraged with funding of about £250,000 that came to IWA under the will of the late Humphrey Symons, a former secretary of IWA's Shrewsbury District & North Wales Branch. The last of these funds was only spent about a year ago, but during the course of this period, the money helped attract multi-million pound investment into the canal from local, regional and national sources with the help and support of all the partners in the Montgomery Canal restoration.
Cotswold Canals Trust has announced that it will not be holding a Saul Canal Festival & 'Folk on the Water' in 2009. The event, which has run for the past eight years, raised £136,573 for restoration work on the Cotswold Canals, but the cancellation of the event in 2007 owing to floods led to a loss, and the poor weather in 2008 allowed for only a modest surplus. The event's organisers feel it has run its course for the moment, and that increasing costs of putting on the event mean that resources are likely to be better directed on other work on the Cotswold Canals in the near future.
Leeds & Liverpool Canal
On 23rd October, a celebratory event was held alongside the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Shipley to mark the work of reinstalling mile posts along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. The work is being achieved through a collaboration of British Waterways, IWA's West Riding Branch, Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society and Dreamweavers, which is a social enterprise part of the Bradford Motor Education Project that aims to enhance the natural environment of the canal corridor through education and development of young people.
The project has been co-ordinated by members of Dreamweavers, and two if its trainees have been involved in all aspects of pattern making, casting of the mile plates, surveying the sites and installation of the posts. The first phase will be completed between Shipley and Bingley with a view to completing the length between Apperley Bridge and Skipton. IWA's West Riding Branch has surveyed and recorded the location of mile, half-mile and quarter-mile posts along the canal in Yorkshire, and has helped in their maintenance with painting and other work over many years.
The first phase of an £8 million scheme to bring a new look to Liverpool's world-renowned Pier Head opened to the public on 28th October. During the past year, the area in front of the Three Graces - the Liver, Cunard and Port of Liverpool buildings - has been transformed to create a new public space incorporating the new Liverpool Link canal. The area includes high quality paving works, a new lawn, an area to stage events and feature lighting as well as two canal basins. The work on the canal link began in December 2006 with the public realm works starting in autumn 2007. The first phase - the south and central areas in front of the Three Graces opened on 28th October, with the northern area due to be reopened at the end of November, and the area around the new ferry terminal in Spring 2009. The canal link is also due to open in spring 2009, when boats will be able to pass across the Pier Head.
Tower Hamlets Council has agreed planning permission for the seven million square feet development to be known as Wood Wharf. Planning gain will offer about £100 million to a new Cross Rail Station, £9 million for improving Docklands Light Railway routes, £5 million for buses, £24 million for local amenities and £15 million for health and community facilities. The 20 acre development site will involve the demolition of the Lovegrove Walk industrial area and part of the wall of the Grade 1 Listed South Dock to facilitate the construction of a new canal link through to Poplar Dock. The whole development is planned to take ten years to build. British Waterways acquired the Wood Wharf site in 2001 and has formed a partnership with developers Canary Wharf Group and Ballymore Properties to maximise income from the site's redevelopment.
Shropshire Union Canal
The campaign to save the historic Taylor's Yard in Chester suffered a blow in October when the boatyard operator who was planning to take on the building renovation, and open a new waterways business there, had to pull out of the proposed tenancy deal with British Waterways owing to the downturn in the economic climate. Chester Waterways Heritage Trust has, however, been able to proceed with work parties to undertake recording and archive work at Taylor's Yard on 19th and 22nd October.
Trent & Mersey Canal
A narrow boat narrowly missed being caught by a six-tonne trailer that fell into the Trent and Mersey Canal, when a listed brick bridge collapsed, as the trailer was being towed across the bridge by a tractor on a farm at Stenson, about a quarter of a mile north of the Stenson Marina, shortly after lunchtime on 20th October. Part of the bridge, which is on a private road between two farmer's fields, collapsed as the trailer that was carrying a load of fertiliser toppled into the Trent and Mersey Canal. The tractor driver escaped unhurt, having jumped from his cab. British Waterways' contractors removed the trailer using a specialist crane, and the canal re-opened on 24th October, with nearly 100 boats queued up and waiting to pass.
Photo and links at
Department for Culture Media & Sport
Government Response to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's Report on the Draft Heritage Protection Bill
The Heritage Protection Bill is likely to change the way buildings and structures are protected, and is therefore of considerable interest and concern to waterways interests.
Old Newspaper Articles
By: Don Baines
surfing the Internet, following a prompt by Peter Whitehead, I
came across an archive of newspapers of the 19th and early 20th
centuries where I found the following articles. Further searches
threw up many more articles which prompted me to think they
would be of interest to 174 readers and would enhance our
knowledge of bygone years in Bugsworth. So, here are three to
Right: The Derby Mercury - August 24, 1842 - Report of an incident on Wednesday 10 August, 1842
Below Left: The Derby Mercury - January 11, 1893 - Reporting on the Derbyshire Quarter Session
Below Right: The Derby Mercury - February 25, 1891 - an amazing story
Peak Canals that might have been.
In the Winter 2008 issue of NarrowBoat magazine, Cartographer and Canal Historian Richard Dean looks at canals that were projected to link the Cromford Canal across the Peak District to the Peak Forest Canal.
In a 2-page feature he traces the routes of the proposed canals from the end of the Lea Wood Branch of the Cromford Canal to pass around Matlock, then through Bakewell, Froggatt and Hathersage to a 3,500-yard summit tunnel at Edale (796ft above sea level) before descending to Bugsworth.
A later (1826) scheme proposed a lower route - but with a 4.5-mile tunnel! As it turned out, only 5 years later, the two canals were linked by the Cromford & High Peak Railway, on a totally different route.
The article is the first of two based around the Peak District. The second, looking at proposals to link the Cromford Canal with Chesterfield and Sheffield, will feature in the Summer 2009 issue of NarrowBoat.
Further details are available at www.narrowboatmagazine.com , or copies can be purchased for £4.95 each from:
151 Station Street
Burton on Trent
IWPS Walking Week-end on the Bude and Rolle Canals
Here some of the IWPS walking group on the second day of the walk at the Sea Lock of the Rolle Canal near Bideford. We are all paying rapt attention to Barry Hughes (second from right, gesticulating) who is explaining his model of a wheel incline - such as the one at Ridd on the Rolle Canal and at several locations on the Bude Canal. Barry, Adrian and Hilary all accompanied us on our walk for the day providing many interesting facts and much background information on the canal, replacement railway the environs. Barry Hughes has published a wonderful book "Rolle Canal & the North Devon Limestone Trade" - several members bought copy. We were made thoroughly welcome at the Sea Lock by its owners Adrian and Hilary Wills - including cups of tea and very tempting home-made cakes!
TYMMS BRICKWORKS AT ROSE HILL MARPLE
The Macclesfield Canal Society (of which I am President) is working with British Waterways restoring one of the side ponds at Bosley Locks. These have been out of use for many years. In fact nobody can remember when they were last used. As part of the excavations BW engaged a remarkable machine to suck out muck and debris from the deep ponds so that the paddles and culvert structure could be examined. Out of this muck was salvaged what is thought to be an unused brick named ‘TYMM MARPLE’. This is extremely rare and has raised considerable interest within the IWPS and elsewhere – particularly with Dave Kitching who is an expert on mining, quarrying and brickmaking within the Poynton/Marple area. Our historian Peter Whitehead has also done some research and we hope we will be able to give some more information in the next issue of ‘174’.
At an open meeting of the Macclesfield Canal Society on February 8th 2009 and as part of the celebrations for my 70th birthday the previous day I was presented with the gift wrapped brick by Tim Dawson and Malcolm Bower, Chairman and Secretary of the MCS, so the IWPS could display it in our exhibition at Bugsworth Basin. Many thanks to all at the MCS for their kindness. Whilst I have had many presentations made to me over the years this is the first time I have had a gift-wrapped brick. There have been a few brick-bats aimed at me but this is far more exciting.
DROPPED IN OUR SUGGESTIONS BOX…………
Mike Malzard suggested some time ago that we have a suggestions box in the Exhibition Container which is open most week-ends and at other times when we have volunteers on site. We also have a Visitors Book for comments. Initially I was a bit apprehensive about this. I thought that the book would disappear and certainly the pen provided would soon vanish! This did not happen and my fears were unfounded.
There are now several hundred congratulatory comments about our visitors opinions of Bugsworth Basin with only one really derogatory comment. We are aware the facilities we presently have at Bugsworth are not yet up to our vision but we are getting there and in many cases the suggestions made are already in hand.
‘Turn the tramway that ran round Buxworth Basin in to a miniature railway and let me be the driver. I have even got a hat – Lewis Coppinger’
‘Turn it back to how it was’. Not sure if this comment refers to as it was in its working days or before restoration.
‘Why don’t you rebuild the crane as it was’. We would like to but it would be horrendously expensive as besides the post which has already been replaced using the original straps etc. the only other original part we have is the chain. All other parts were stolen by the scrapman some years ago. A model does exist and we may include a working model in our new exhibition in the new Blackbrook House from 2010. Also constructing a replica would expose us to all sorts of H&S issues.
‘Make a museum’. That’s already in hand. The building is scheduled for completion March 2010.
‘It’s wicked, it’s brilliant, fantastic. How come the water smells and why did people use horses? Is it because they didn’t have motors? A child’s hand but it is clear he/she enjoyed her visit to Bugsworth.
‘Try and get some more ducks to the area by maybe introducing feeding times’. Well, maybe that would be a good idea but our wild ducks (and the messy Canada Geese) regularly transit through Bugsworth Basin. They unfortunately cannot be managed!
‘Tea/coffee & Ice Cream’. The latter is already available from the present Blackbrook House and there is a Bradwells Ice Cream swing board by the door! If this visitor got in to the exhibition then the shop was open as well. Tea/coffee and light refreshments will be available from the new Blackbrook House next year.
‘My suggestion is keep this place open, its brilliant!! Thanks a lot for the good work! A nice comment. What more is there to say?!!
‘You don’t need any suggestions. Its brill apart from the computer screen though, xxx. Don’t know what happened to the computer screen because it runs continuously with a history of the restoration all day long. Could be some errant fingers pressed some buttons they ought not to have but there is nothing we can do about that!
‘More places to just sit down and watch the boats’ There have been several suggestions in our box along these lines. We already have several benches around the Basin. The debate is whether to have more or not. To have more might well detract from the historical, archaeological and architectural significance and appearance of Bugsworth Basin. The architect for the new Blackbrook House will be charged with creating a ‘user-friendly’ visitor facility which will include refreshment provision. It could well be that seating will be provided there but for the time being we shall not be placing any more benches.
‘I learnt something new’ Great, that’s what it is all about. Gratifying to note that our expensive and well thought out information boards supported by the free guide was a good investment.
‘Get my mum a sense of direction’. Not much we can do about this. Maybe Mum was overwhelmed by the sheer size of Bugsworth Basin. A lot of people marvel at this.
‘What I think would be good is Archaeology (spelt correctly too!) patch where they could find broken pots.’ I don’t think English Heritage Inspector Jon Humble would think much of this idea!!
‘Very hard to find. Please can we have some brown signs from Whaley Bridge. Great when you finally get here’. Brown signs are already in position on all approach roads. Cost covered by British Waterways. We are in consultation now with British Waterways regarding other signage but we want to avoid clutter and confusion. Too many signs spoil the overall experience of an ancient monument like Bugsworth Canal Basin.
Its fascinating. I really enjoyed my day out here. You could do with some w.c. A toilet is available at the present Blackbrook House but only accessible with a BW key. The architects brief for the new visitor centre includes a provision for public toilets.
A model to show how locks work (that people can touch). Basin volunteer Bev Clark already has this in hand. He is building a model lock which will work with water.
‘You are here signs on the map of the Basin’. This is already covered in the free guide available on the basin and at the Navigation Inn.
‘It was fabulous to see the beautiful view. Could do with w.c.’ We agree about the view and the w.c .issue is already in hand.
‘More tables outside the pub. But get clean the water a bit more’. The IWPS cannot do anything about seating at the Navigation Inn but our feeling is that the outdoor seating there is adequate. As regards the water it is canal water which is churned up by boats. That’s the nature of things and there is nothing we can do about it. It is still far cleaner and rubbish free than the water in some canals not that far away.
‘Clean water a bit more. Get more staff’. The issue of cleaner water has just been dealt with. As regards staff, yes, we need more, especially in the shop at busy times. However the shop we have now is far too small and if we put in another sales person then that would be one visitor less who could get in. This will all be solved in the new building but then we have a new problem of having enough volunteers to man a rota system to make our visitors experience even more rewarding. From 2010 onwards we are going to need a new type of volunteer and we will be recruiting shortly! Watch this space!