The Inland Waterways Protection Society Ltd 

Campaigning    Restoration    Preservation    Development 

Newsletter "174" February 2003

Contents

Bugsworth Basin Report Subscriptions
Editorial
Tractor Fund
Macclesfield Canal Society Extracts from 1881 Census Book Launch News from the IWA
Pete Yearsley's sponsored shave for charity
Historical and Photo Archive on cdrom William Pitt Dixon
Who was he?
The American James  Brindley
Thomas Brown John Cotton ET at Bugsworth Babblings
Walks 2003 Portobello Engineering Trafalgar Marine Services
****

A rare coloured photograph of lock 1 at Marple, 1906.
The bottom lock house is hidden behind the trees on the left.
Photograph: Jack Brady Archive Collection

Bugsworth Basin Report

by Ian Edgar MBE   -     Chairman and Hon Site Manager

As is usual at this time of year work on the Basin is somewhat curtailed due to the weather and the consequently waterlogged site. This year has been no exception but we have been able to get some work done, particularly on Bridges 58 & 59 where we are replacing all the posts and timber railings on Bridge 59 and just the top rails on Bridge 58. Originally these bridges were part of the Community Programme work and for the most part soft wood was used with inadequate preservative and painting. This has led to a life of not more than 10 years. Last year we replaced the decking with hardwood and now we are upgrading the barrier railings. All this work should be done within the next few weeks so I am now looking for volunteers to do the painting.

As mentioned in the last '174' we have been very pleased to receive another grant from The Mersey Basin Trust which had to be used by the end of November 2002 for projects concerned with access. Access is very dependent on safety so a multitude of jobs was undertaken including repair, sandblasting and repainting of the steel barrier railings and gates as well as dry-stone wall repairs. A major portion of the money will be spent on providing a new footbridge across the bottom of the Seven Holes Weir to connect the two paths either side of the weir. This will give wheelchair access previously not available to this part of Bugsworth Basin which used to be known as 'The Caravan Field' in Bessie Bunker's days. The bridge has been ordered from Callis Mill, Rochdale and will be put in position when we know there will be no more disturbance from the dredging and other works to be undertaken on the Entrance Canal by British Waterways Contractors in 2003. Needless to say we are very appreciative of the support given by the Mersey Basin Trust and thank the Trust for this support.

Work on the conversion of one of our shipping containers in to a small exhibition area is proceeding well and the design work is now well advanced. Mike Malzard, Andy Eadon and Fred Wardle with other Society volunteers have completed the fitting out other than for a small amount of painting inside and the whole of the outside of the container. The actual display detailing the building, working life, decline, restoration and re-opening of Bugsworth Basin will be provided by a professional company who come well recommended. They have done excellent work for British Waterways, English Nature and for our friends on the Pocklington Canal. Although the actual design, copy writing and production is being done by professionals all the basic facts, guide lines and information have to be provided by IWPS. I have spent many hours with Don Baines and Peter Whitehead setting this up. We are confident the new facility together with the supporting full colour leaflet will be a credit to the Society and Bugsworth Basin. This work is being funded mainly by an Awards for All Grant but we are having to top-up with some funds from our reserve. We are looking for additional funding for this project either by way of donation or sponsorship. Please contact me if you are able to help.

Running a site such as Bugsworth does involve unattractive basic activities such as clearing dog muck bins! The four bins provided by the Borough Council have proven extremely beneficial and the instance of stepping in this horrible mess has been much reduced. My request to High Peak Borough Council for two more bins resulted in four more arriving on site. We appreciate the help given by the Council and we know these bins do not come cheap. Thanks also to Mike Malzard for devising different methods of hanging them at various locations at Bugsworth. We look for further improvements which will benefit everybody, not least our visitors, but there will always be somebody who refuses to clear up after his dog has left his trade mark. One dog-walker, when challenged that he had not cleared up the mess retorted ' Well, it's bio-degradable so why should I clear it up?' Maybe I should go and put it to bio-degrade on his doorstep. Thankfully he is in the minority.

The autumn gales resulted in several fallen trees which we are in the process of removing. Mostly over mature willows that are of little use even for sale as logs to raise funds. There are still a number to deal with but this is well in hand and we should be ready for our visitors by the Spring. Thanks to Mike Malzard for directing operations on this front. Mike and I are also disposing of our stack of broken and split sleepers by sawing them up and selling them as logs to local residents. The price is right, they burn well and IWPS gets the funds. If any of our readers want some of these then please contact me.

Preparations, with British Waterways, to go to tender for the major works to cure the leaks are proceeding, albeit slowly. Getting everything in place does take time. There is little more I can say in this report other than to say that I am confident that we will proceed to schedule with the ultimate aim of reopening Bugsworth Basin Spring 2004.

IWPS Chairman, Ian Edgar, watches in astonishment as two very powerful pumps only manage to fill the Lower Basin Arm to a level about 2 feet below NWL when the leakage out equalled the water flow in. This exercise, by consultants Mott Macdonald, was part of the overall survey to determine water leakage rates from various parts of the basins which were partitioned with two clay coffer dams.

IWPS Ltd. has joined the Whaley Bridge based High Peak Council for Voluntary Service. This is an organisation of small groups of volunteers working mainly in the social and community fields rather than in the environment. However I feel that with Bugsworth Basin being such an important site in the High Peak we need to foster co-operation with other groups in our area and not be as insular as I think we have tended to be in the past. Clearly any canal based developments at Whaley Bridge will be affected by what happens at Bugsworth so I am happy to work with our Partners British Waterways in a joint effort to join the two together for mutual benefit. If we can work together with other local groups then so much the better. I cannot see we will have overnight benefits but we must wait and see what develops.

Your Society continues to apply for Grants to various bodies for major works at Bugsworth. Presently we are preparing submission bids for Landfill Tax, Aggregate Tax, National Lottery and other opportunities. Such submissions take up a great deal of time and effort especially as it is clear that there is a great deal of competition for the available funding. Those that succeed are those that are well thought through and well presented. That is what takes the time. Funding applications are a joint effort by Don Baines and myself. Between us we believe we put the best case we possibly can.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Many of our Members pay by Standing Order and for that I am very grateful but it would help me a great deal if more members were to adopt this method. If there is a Bankers Order Form with this magazine this means that we do not have a signed form for you. Please let me have it back completed. I cannot emphasise how much time this simple procedure saves us.

For those of you who pay by Bankers Order we do not send a receipt or acknowledgement as this will appear on your Bank Statement. For those of you who don't pay by Bankers Order we will send a reminder close to the due date and in such cases we would appreciate prompt payment. The Society relies very much on people being members who visit the site only on occasion, or even not at all! Regular volunteers who spend many hours actually on site at Bugsworth or at their desks working to secure the Society's aims and aspirations appreciate so many people backing them up in what the Society is trying to do.

Many thanks therefore to our Members for their support and especially to those members who add a further sum as a donation. Membership Subscriptions help to keep IWPS solvent so thanks to all for prompt payment.

I have been covering the Membership Secretary's position on a temporary basis for some time but we will have a new Membership Secretary after the Annual General Meeting on 18th January 2003. Council member Andy Eadon has kindly offered to take on the job and this has been gratefully accepted. For those Members who pay by Bankers Order there is absolutely no change. For those Members who pay by cheque please send to the new address which will be advised later. Anything sent to me will be passed on.

WALKS PROGRAMME

The Walks Programme is being distributed with this issue of '174'. Yet another year of interesting excursions in various parts of the country with an 'Away Week-End' this year in Hampshire. For many years Pete Yearsley organised all of the walks but now it is more of a team effort with individual members of the group taking us further afield. Certainly we are seeing many sections of canal in a different light with the help of the local 'experts'. This was ably demonstrated in our visit to Scotland last year when the two local Societies did such a great deal to make us welcome.

Advance notice of the venues, meeting places, car shuttles etc. is advised up to 14 days before the walk, either by mail or e-mail. Everybody is welcome and walkers do not have to be IWPS Members. If you want to be added to the list please contact Pete Yearsley on the telephone number on the Walks Programme.

TRACTOR FUND

After much research we have chosen the tractor mower most suited to our needs and which would have a life expectancy of at least 15 years or more doing the work we have at Bugsworth Basin. We have also been fortunate in negotiating a substantial discount due to our Charity Status and the fact we are working on a Heritage site.

Your Society has made applications for grant for the short fall in funds of about £2700. One application has been sent back to us for further work and possible amalgamation with another Bugsworth restoration project. Unless we secure some more funds shortly it looks like we will not be able to purchase the new mower for this coming season.

The total nett price of the mower is (including VAT which we cannot avoid) £7770.00. The normal price would be around £10350 including VAT. Of this IWPS has raised so far £2300, The Inland Waterways Association has offered £2000 and The Waterways Trust £750.00.

We are therefore still looking for more support. If you would like to help in any way - by a cash donation or goods for sale for instance - then please contact me as soon as possible.

In the meantime the volunteers thanks for all the financial support given so far by our members. The Society has a policy of not spending money it does not have so we really need to get more funding if we are to proceed with the purchase of the tractor this year.

THE MACCLESFIELD CANAL SOCIETY

We were very saddened to hear of the recent passing of Ted Keaveney. Ted was a very long standing supporter of canals and more especially the restoration of those which were either derelict or being neglected so much that they were likely to become so. Of the era of IWPS Founder Bessie Bunker Ted worked hard on the restoration of the Peak Forest Canal where many of our present IWPS volunteers 'cut their teeth'. Unlike Bessie Ted did see the changes within British Waterways which were to bring about partnership with the voluntary waterways organisations of which I am sure he approved.

Ted was the President of the Macclesfield Canal Society for many years. A previous President was Dr. David Owen, canal author and another prominent campaigner for canals, especially in the north of England. It was therefore with some surprise that I was asked by the Macclesfield Canal Society if I would be prepared to be their new President.

Although Ted Keaveney and David Owen are hard acts to follow I have accepted the kind invitation and I shall do my best to warrant the Society's faith in me. Needless to say 2003 will be a very busy year for Bugsworth with the major leak repairs starting and re-opening being planned for Spring 2004. I see great opportunities ahead for both IWPS and the MCS and I look forward with great pleasure to work together for all our members. Like IWPS the MCS is very active with keen, well-managed and effective volunteers working in co-operation with British Waterways and others. With the proviso that in many ways Bugsworth must take preference over other demands on my time I will give as much of my effort as possible to the new position I have so kindly been offered.

The first of two clay dams being built to allow water leakage trials to start; this one in almost the same place as the erstwhile ‘vehicle crossing’ installed in the Bunker era.

IWPS Chairman, Ian Edgar and Archaeologist, Alan Findlow, inspect one of several test pits dug to assess the hidden structures and archaeology whilst Mott Macdonald technician, Carl, tests the quality of the gutter puddle clay.

I almost expected to see Tony Robinson come flouncing down the access road in his own inimitable style.

Ian Edgar MBE

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A Magnificent Effort but a Close Shave

Members will remember some years ago our Walks Supremo, Pete Yearsley, had a sponsored beard shave at the Navigation Inn, Bugsworth in aid of IWPS Funds. Well now Pete has gone one step further and had a beard and head shave in aid of the East Cheshire Hospice. Pete has to be congratulated in having raised the magnificent sum of £835 for the cause and we are really proud of him! It is unclear as of now whether Pete will revert to his former appearance or not. Those of you who have missed a recent walk should attend the next one to find out!

Stop Press

Pete reports that, for the time being at least, he will be remaining clean-shaven. It seems that Santa brought him an electric shaver and after-shave lotion and Pete doesn’t want to upset him just in case he gets missed out next Christmas



However, Pete adds, "....so it looks like I’m going to be beardless for a while unless I can get sponsorship to grow it back!"

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Editorial by Don Baines

The following, reproduced from a recent IWA news bulletin, typifies our experience at recent meetings with British Waterways regarding the major repair works to be started at Bugsworth in the Spring of 2003. In addition, today, compared with what it was like only a few years ago, there is an altogether different atmosphere to meetings and negotiations with the views, knowledge and experience of volunteer canal restorers being actively sought and taken into consideration. Volunteers are now considered ‘expert’ and, as in the case of the IWPS, are included as ‘Project Partners’ in negotiations and project planning with contractors.

"....A recent grant application has highlighted how procurement and management of waterway maintenance and construction contracts has changed in recent years. As a matter of procurement policy, BW is now using a number of so-called omnibus contractors. This is now in its third year and in the current year between £20 million and £30 million of contract work will be undertaken under these arrangements. This is likely to reach £40 million in 2003.

BW believes this is providing a number of benefits including improved quality, health & safety, reduced risk and less time spent on contractual disputes, thereby providing improved value for money.

BW also has the contractors working alongside its own managers and designers as regional teams in the same office; thus each project is approached as a team effort with improved opportunities for value engineering in the early stages and problem solving during the contract.

These arrangements also give a much quicker start time, which is necessary where work needs to be done quickly (e.g. to repair a breach or take quick advantage of a window of funding). Where such contracts have to go out to tender in a conventional way there is a risk that the problem could get worse or funding could be lost.

BW's omnibus contracts are won on the basis of tendered rates usually against rates that are industry standard for straight forward civil engineering tasks and the contractors tender against them, either a discount or premium incorporating their management costs and profit. Rates are fixed in regular tendering procedures and then used to build up each project price. This means that the price can change as the final refinements to the design and method of each project are concluded.

Rates built up in this way create a target cost for the job. Where actual costs are within the range of 90% to110% of target cost, then the shortfall or cost overrun can be shared equally between the contractor and BW. If costs exceed 110% of the target, then the contractor carries the additional cost. Government encourages the omnibus contractor approach; it is carefully scrutinised and BW is progressing a review of how is it working out at present..."

WOW

Further to the Chairman’s article on WOW in the last issue of ‘174', I am indebted to Peter Whitehead for the following interesting snippet.

A recent Wild over Waterways survey discovered that:

Nearly one in five eight-year-old children think that Britain's canals were built as homes for ducks.

One in 20 boys believe that octopuses live in canals.

13% of seven to 14-year-old children think that canals were built to cool the earth and catch rain.

46% were unaware that canals were man made.

41% were unaware that canals were built to transport goods and people.

Copy for Newsletters - Please note that the deadline for publishing the next newsletter is 1st April 2003 so please try to let me have your copy before that date.

Please send any newsletter input to me, Don Baines, if possible on a 3½" floppy disk (disks will be returned or provided if required). Typed input, photographs, sketches or drawings can be scanned in. You can email any input, text of graphics, to me at don.baines1@btopenworld.com

Don Baines - Editor 174

CD-ROM - Historical and Photographical Archive

During 2003 we plan to introduce a Historical and Photographic Archive cd-rom priced around £10 to £12.

The archive, which has been authored to appear as a web page, will be fully interactive with easy to use menus to navigate your way around the disk.

The contents of the archive will include:

Historical overview of the site - a general description.

A map of modern-day Bugsworth Basin with hotspot links to photographs of the basins as they appear today. Clicking on the area you want to see opens a new window with photo(s) and a description.

Location map - where to find Bugsworth Basin

"Putting the Record Straight" - A history of the restoration, written by Martin Whalley and illustrated with photographs of volunteers, work camps and projects by Don Baines. This covers the restoration from the early days of 1968 to the first reopening day at Easter 1999.

Complete editions of IWPS publications:

John Cotton - The Bugsworth Wife Murderer - Peter Whitehead. Extracts from the Derby Daily Telegraph describing the crime, trial and execution of John Cotton, the last person to be publicly hanged at Derby Gaol in 1898.

Limestone - The Bugsworth Legacy - Peter Whitehead.

A history of why a limestone industry developed at Bugsworth and its influence on the industrial revolution. Contains a description of the production process and the uses of lime products.

The Memoirs of Martha Barnes - Martin Whalley & George Needham. The reminiscences of 98 year-old Mrs Barnes represent a priceless archive, describing life around Bugsworth during 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Peak Forest Tramway - a description of the route of the Peak Forest Tramway and a guided walk along part of its length- Peter Whitehead

Crist and Barren Clough Quarries - a description - Peter Whitehead

Industrial Archaeology of the Peak Forest Tramway - Peter Whitehead. Contains information on how the tramway was constructed and a description of artifacts found during restoration works at Bugsworth Basin.

The Peak Forest Tramway, 1796 - 1927 - Alan J Findlow & Don Baines. This description of the operation of the tramway was first published in "Archive" Issue 3,

The Wagon Tipplers - Alan J Findlow & Don Baines. A description of the mechanisms used to unload tramway wagons of limestone first published in "Archive"

An Assessment of the Historical and Archaeological Significance of Bugsworth Basin - Alan J Findlow. The definitive document on the history and archaeology of Bugsworth Basin

Historical Photographic Archive - contains photographs dating back to 1851 covering the Ashton, Lower and Upper Peak Forest Canals, Bugsworth Basin, the Peak Forest Tramway and the village of Bugsworth. The Peak Forest Tramway and each canal is broken up into sections and specific areas such as Marple Locks and the inclined plane at Chapel-en-le-Frith are portrayed separately. The Marple end of the Macclesfield Canal is also featured

A Cruise in Photographs from Bingswood to the Upper Basin - includes pictures of historic working boats visiting the basin during May 1999.

The IWPS Website as it appears in 2003 complete with details of the IWPS, its history, officers and membership application forms etc. and back numbers of "174" up to the date of publication.

Interested in buying one of these desirable archives? Please send an email or a postcard to Don Baines or Ian Edgar and we will let you know when they become available.

Don Baines - Editor 174

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Babblings 

by Pete Yearsley

Ribble Dribble

The last walk of 2002 saw us on the outskirts of Preston ready to explore the newly-opened Ribble Link. This canalisation of the Savick Brook now enables boats off the previously landlocked Lancaster Canal to reach the rest of the connected waterway system, albeit by crossing the River Ribble and pushing up the River Douglas, both of which will need care and skill to make the passage.

And so it was that over twenty souls mustered on the carpark of the Leargate Inn ready for the shortest car shuffle we have ever done. The walk, being along what could be seen as the two long legs of an isosceles triangle left us only the short leg (10 minutes) to do by car. It was at the start point, on the Hand and Dagger carpark at Salwick, that PY discovered he was prime candidate for the daftest man of the year. Having (A) left his best waterproof jacket at Knutsford and (B) picked up Sue’s walking boots he now discovered he had (C) left his daysack with his other waterproofs back at the Leargate!

Undaunted we set off down the towpath, glad that the promised rain seemed to be holding off. The lower reaches of the Lancaster are unfamiliar to many people as they are off the boating track, but the length down to the new junction proved to be a pleasant stretch with the bosky cuttings still hanging on to their late autumnal colours, and the rustic acres a sea of verdant solitude.

After inspecting a lengthsman’s cottage by Cottons bridge, we turned into the Ribble Link top basin. After some time inspecting the locks presided over by a large wooden statue of a bloke with a beatific expression on his face representing the first of the elements in the sculpture trail. From his overall demeanour we surmised he was ‘Water’.

Down the locks and the much discussion of the oblique positioning of the channel away from the locks through the navigable culvert, how a big boat without bowthrusters would fare doing the required 180E turn in the lower basin and if a full length wide boat would fit through the curved culvert. We managed to navigate the culvert however thanks to the cantilevered walkway and set off down the Sustrans cycle/footpath in search of the second sculpture, a lump of coal representing ‘Fire’!

On the navigation we noted how shallow the pounds were, with silt washing down both the Savick Brook and its side channels. A continuous dredging programme seems to be needed to allow navigation to carry on unhindered. The rain however was making a determined attempt to raise the levels and it proceeded to pour harder and harder as we walked down the navigation. ‘Air’ and ‘Earth’ were passed at a gallop as the downpour reached Grantham quality. (Our weekend away on the Grantham Canal was blessed with a torrential downpour on the Saturday and has become a benchmark to judge all precipitation by).

We reached the Leargate for lunch where it was decided the walk would end due to the conditions, so the dinner break became a delightful, impromptu, social gathering of a few hardy souls venturing down the last few hundred yards of the navigation to observe the sea lock.

Bemused, bewildered and bedraggled walkers ponder, "this is 'water'?"
Photo: Don Baines
The flight of locks from the new basin on the Lancaster Canal down to the former Savick Brook. The wooden bridge crosses the navigable culvert, under the road and railway, with the near 180 degree turn out of the bottom lock. 
Photo: David Kitching

Poynton Parks and Pits

On New Year’s day a dozen of us met at the Nelson Pit carpark at Higher Poynton to walk off the festive excesses with an amble around the area’s parks and pits. Ably led by Dave Kitching, we headed upwards past Haresteads Farm into Lyme Park accompanied by a short sharp shower which thankfully abated as we climbed the ladder stile to our left. This path took us below the Cage over to Elmerhurst Cottage and gave us splendid views over towards Stockport. The way now took us under the railway at Disley where we followed (more or less) the Norbury Brook up to the Macclesfield Canal where we walked down the offside to Bullocks bridge and a brew. We then followed the towpath northwards for a few hundred before plunging into the woods which had been the site of a brickworks and later a rubbish tip. This took us to Middlewood station and the Middlewood way which we followed back to the carpark.

Address to the Nation

Dear All,

Another very successful year of walks drew to a close with our moist exploration of the Ribble Link at the end of November.

Most of the outings were well supported with only our February visit to the Chester Canal failing to reach double figures. Our first venture north of the border for the weekend away was particularly enjoyable and a return visit has already been talked about.

A varied programme has been put together for 2003 with a mix of newly restored, derelict, under restoration and cruising canals being leavened by a visit to a folly garden in North Yorkshire in June.

As usual I will be overhauling the mailing list, so if you haven’t been out with us this year your details will be removed. If you wish to continue to receive the walk sheets let me know. If you have an email address we would prefer sending you the information by this much cheaper medium. If we don’t already do so, let me know (or email davidk@brocross.co.uk ).

The walks are very much a joint effort and would not happen if it wasn’t for Dave on printing and email and Ian on posting. A big thank you to them both. A big thank you too, to everyone who took on the organising of a walk during the year. If anyone fancies researching the Aire and Calder walk in June please get in touch. But really the biggest thank you is to everyone who came on the walks, braving searing sun and pouring rain, and made exploring our historic waterways such a happy experience.

See you on the towpath.

Pete Yearsley

01565 631066 weekdays / 0161 860 7405 Weekends


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Will the real William Pitt Dixon please stand up?
by Peter J Whitehead

In the late 1860s a decision was made to build a replacement tramway branch to the head of the New Road limekilns at Bugsworth Basin. It is possible that this was done because a new kiln was about to be put into service and that the other seven kilns had been refurbished, to improve their efficiency and extend their lives1. It was usual to do this about every ten years.

These kilns were located on the north side of the Middle Basin alongside the diverted course of the Black Brook. Limestone was initially supplied along a tramway branch behind the Navigation Inn, over the Black Brook and then across Brookside on a level crossing.

This replacement branch2 was built parallel to the main line of the tramway until it crossed the old Macclesfield - Chinley road and the adjacent Black Brook on two splendid stone-built skew bridges. It then turned away from the main line and in Bugsworth it went across a new level crossing on Brookside. Here a weigh house was provided bearing a date stone incised 'WPD 1870'. 'WPD' was 'William Pitt Dixon', who was a lessee of the New Road kilns for many years3.

In contrast to these events, an examination of archive photographs of the Gnat Hole kilns on the south side of the Middle Basin indicates that these remained unlined up to their abandonment. An examination of the kiln tops seems to confirm this since all that can be seen is the original gritstone walling. At the time of increased activity at the New Road kilns, extended use of the Gnat Hole kilns must not have been anticipated and they were not refurbished.

So, apart from the enigmatic initials on a stone and some fragmentary archival and verbal evidence, just exactly what is known about William Pitt Dixon? The answer is, very little. The stone implies that he was the lessee of the new Road kilns in 1870 and at that time the landowner was either the Reverend Francis Thomas Gawthern4 or an antecedent of his.

A record held by Derbyshire County Record Office shows that in 1880 William Pitt Dixon extended his lease with the Reverend Gentleman for the period September 1879 to August 1892. This was at a reduced rental because of economic difficulties. Towards the end of this period the lime industry was experiencing increasing difficulties and in 1891 the remaining part of the lease was transferred to Buxton Lime Firms Ltd, an amalgamation of hitherto competing firms. Another record refers to William Pitt Dixon as a lime merchant, lime burner and quarry proprietor.

The only other references to William Pitt Dixon come from the Memoirs of Mrs Martha Barnes, an elderly Bugsworth citizen who was interviewed in 1969. She remembered that her father-in-law, William Barnes, was employed by William Pitt Dixon as a lime burner and that he (William Pitt Dixon) always spoke well and was very friendly towards Mrs Barnes (her mother-in-law). She stated that he lived at Dove Holes, down Dale Road and that he owned kilns at Bugsworth, quarries at Dove Holes and (part of) Buxton Lime Company. According to her there is also a possibility that William Pitt Dixon operated two of the Gnat Hole east kilns between c1880 and 1895. However, at the end of this period they were under the control of Buxton Lime Firms Ltd.

This appears to be all the information that we have about William Pitt Dixon. But who was he, when and where was he born, who was his wife, how many children did he have, where did he live and what were the extents of his business interests? We have no answers to these questions. Knowing that he was a lime merchant and that he lived in Dove Holes should have made it an easy task to find him on the 1881 census but experience shows that in genealogical research things are never quite as easy as that. In Victorian times a person of his social standing would certainly have provided a census return and he would probably have described his profession as being either a merchant or independent.

An obvious first step was to search Dove Holes but, as anticipated, there was no William Pitt Dixon. His first forename could have been given as William, Wm or Willm, his second forename as Pitt, P or simply omitted and there could be any combination of these alternatives. Additionally, while William was difficult to transcribe incorrectly it was an easy matter to transcribe Pitt incorrectly, especially as curly capital letters were in vogue in those days. The P could easily be transcribed as another letter, even if the name it produced was not a recognised forename.

The next step was to search four prosperous suburbs of Manchester, these being Chorlton-on-Medlock (particularly the south side of Ardwick Green), Rusholme, Withington and Didsbury. Again this drew a blank.

At this stage it was decided that there was no alternative but to do a nationwide search. A Soundex search for William Dixon produced 3,024 names, which included Dixon, Dixson and Dickson. Second forenames and initials were not permissible. There was now no choice but to trawl through all 3,024 names, noting all the possibilities. This trawl produced:

William P Dixon in Durham

William P Dixon in Lancashire

William Litt Dixon in Shropshire, and

Wm Roger Pitt Dixon in Cheshire

The Durham and Lancashire Dixons were swiftly eliminated to leave William Litt Dixon and Wm Roger Pitt Dixon. Was Litt a transcription error for Pitt?

The folio for the 65-year-old William Litt Dixon showed that he was born at Halifax in Yorkshire and lived at Albrighton Hall, Albrighton, Shropshire5. The head of the household was a widowed Alice Sparrow, a landowner, who was living there with another 17 residents. A glance down the list of names showed that William was, indeed, a merchant and he was described as the brother-in-law of the head of the household, Alice Sparrow. This evidence does not prove that William Litt Dixon and William Pitt Dixon were one and the same person but there is some supporting evidence. His wife, Martha Fletcher, was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, but more interestingly his 11-year-old daughter, Martha Fletcher, was born in Manchester, Lancashire, as was his 2-year-old son, Herbert Bradshaw6.

The folio for 12-year-old Wm Roger Pitt Dixon was also informative7. He turned out to be a boarder at Macclesfield Grammar School and he was born at Withington, Lancashire. It is possible, but not conclusive, that this boy was another son of William Litt Dixon8.

His age was given as 65 years so, assuming this to be correct, he was born in 1815/16. This means that he would have been about 75-years-old in 1891 when the lease of the New Road kilns was transferred to Buxton Lime Firms Ltd, that is, assuming that he was still alive.

All the abovementioned particulars do not mean to say that Mrs Martha Barnes was wrong when she said that William Pitt Dixon lived down Dale Road at Dove Holes. People such as he would certainly have had other residences for use when they paid visits to administer their diverse business interests.

The next steps in this research would be to obtain his death certificate, possibly the birth certificates of his children, and his Will. There is a 21-year age difference between William and his wife, so Martha Fletcher could have been his second wife. But all this is another story.

This study illustrates just how challenging it can be to investigate someone's genealogy and still not come up with conclusive evidence that the right person has been found. Everything points to him being William Pitt Dixon but that vital piece of evidence is still missing and it is surprising how often coincidences occur, which result in the wrong person being made to fit the situation.

Finally, was anyone else found who was a merchant called William Dixon? Well, in fact, there was. There was a 67-year-old William H Dixon and he lived at Tardebigge, Worcester.

The transcription of the folio for Albrighton Hall is replicated below.

Dwelling Albrighton Hall, Albrighton St Mary, Shropshire

Alice SPARROW

w

Head

55

Landowner

Liverpool, Lancs

Anna Maria WHITTINGHAM

u

Servant

44

Housekeeper, Domestic

Burton-on-Trent, Staffs

Eliza FITZGEORGE

u

Servant

24

Lady’s Maid

Ashford

Thomas JONES

u

Servant

39

Coachman

Montgomery, Wales

George HALL

u

Servant

26

Groom

Newport, Shropshire

Rose LAWRENCE

u

Servant

34

Housemaid

England

Emily HUMPHRIES

u

Servant

23

Cook

Melksham

Fanny NASH

u

Servant

16

Housemaid

Colwall

Henry BOYCOTT

u

Servant

21

Footman

Little Wenlock, Shrops

Katherine ROGERS

 

Niece

9

 

Accrington

Ellen Fletcher ROGERS

u

Niece

23

 

Liverpool, Lancashire

Mary HURST

u

Servant

19

Housemaid

Croston, England

Emma Jane SPARROW

u

Cousin

39

Merchant

Venn, England

William Litt DIXON

m

Bro-in-Law

65

Merchant

Halifax, Yorkshire

Martha Fletcher DIXON

m

Sister

44

(William’s wife)

Liverpool, Lancashire

Martha Fletcher DIXON

 

Niece

11

(Their daughter)

Manchester, Lancashire

Herbert Bradshaw DIXON

 

Nephew

2

(Their son)

Manchester, Lancashire

Sarah LATHAM

u

Servant

29

Nurse

Chorley, Lancashire

From this table it can be deduced that the household pecking order was as follows:

The first eight servants attended the widowed Alice Sparrow but no doubt other members of the family were able to use their services as well. Mary Hurst attended Katherine and Ellen Fletcher Rogers and Sarah Latham attended William Litt and Martha Fletcher Dixon or rather their two children, Martha Fletcher and Herbert Fletcher Dixon.

Albrighton Hall

Albrighton Hall is situated just outside Shrewsbury, at Atcham in the Parish of Albrighton, and today it is a hotel. It was built in c1700 and nowadays it is one of Shropshire's great houses, ranked as a Grade II listed building. It is set in 14 acres of gardens, which is a remnant of 19th century gardens and woodland much altered in the 20th century. Features include a kitchen garden, pond with island and a rose garden. Since 1979 there has been much restoration work, which has been done by keeping to the 19th century plan where possible.

Endnotes

1. John Hall & Sons of Dukinfield supplied the firebricks to line the insides of the kilns and these were delivered along the Peak Forest Canal.

2. Known locally as the Top Railroad, this elevated branch of the tramway ran along the top of a revetted embankment, which remains a significant feature of the tramway to this day.

3. In other words he was the owner of the lime-burning business but not the land upon which it stood.

4. The surname is variously spelt, Gawthern, Gawthorn, Gawthorne, Gawther or Gauthorne. In 1881 the 38-year-old Reverend Francis Thomas Gawthern was actually an absentee landlord who was the Rector of Albourne Parish Church in Sussex. He was living there at Church Cottage with his wife Edith and two domestic servants. Like soldiers, vicars could be posted to another living at short notice.

5. Public Record Office Reference, RG 11/2647, Folio 18.

6. Fletcher could be the surname of his wife and sister-in-law and Bradshaw yet another family surname.

7. Public Record Office Reference, RG 11/3493, Folio 40.

8. Rogers (but not Roger) was another family name.

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NEW LOCK COTTAGE

The first new lock keeper's cottage to be built for perhaps 200 years has been completed on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. It replaces an old one which had to be demolished as it stood in the way of the new Birmingham Northern Relief Road.

The Highways Agency slapped a compulsory purchase order on BW and they had to temporarily house lock keeper Kevin Poyner and his family at Wishaw until the new building was ready.

The site of the new cottage, at Baylis's Bridge Curdworth, is approximately 500 yards from the old one. The builders say that the quality of construction should ensure that the new cottage would last at least as long as its predecessor.

(Source-the Birmingham Evening Mail.)

LIVERPOOL CANAL LINK

The link has been awarded £131,000 by City Focus, part of the city's Single Regeneration Budget programme. Matched by £141,000 from BW, work can now begin on site investigations with the landowners to secure the line of the 800 metre link between the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Albert Dock. (With acknowledgements to 'BW Monthly'.)

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Thomas Brown - some research by Peter J Whitehead

Thomas Brown of Manchester, Lancashire

Surveyor and Resident Engineer to the Company of Proprietors of the Peak Forrest Canal

The Memorial Inscription, reproduced below, for Thomas Brown shows once and for all that it was incorrect to refer to him as Thomas Brown of Disley, Cheshire, and that from henceforth he should be referred to as Thomas Brown of Manchester, Lancashire.

IN MEMORY OF
THOMAS BROWN OF MANCHESTER
who died January 24th 1850, Aged 78 years.
ELIZABETH HIS WIFE, who died
August 7th 1830, Aged 55 years.
THOMAS their Son, who died
September 12th 1802, Aged 11 Months.
JOHN HANCOCK their Son, who died
August 4th 1805, Aged 1 year and 3 Months.
FRANCES their daughter, who died
March 11th 1808, Aged 5 years.
FRANCIS their Son, who died
January 2nd 1809, Aged 1 Month.
WILLIAM their Son, who died
September 6th 1862, Aged 56 years.

The photograph shows the entrance to St Mary's Church, Disley, Cheshire, with the grave of Thomas Brown in the foreground. Befittingly, it overlooks the Peak Forest Canal, which is less than half a mile away.

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More about John Cotton - the Bugsworth Wife Murderer

I've found out a little more about John Cotton by searching the 1881 Census. At the time he was living with his family at Thurlwood, Odd Rode, Cheshire.

Thurlwood and Odd Rode are hamlets in the vicinity of Hall Green, where the Macclesfield Canal joins the Trent and Mersey Canal. This explains why he was a frequent visitor to Bugsworth Basin in the course of his work as a Boatman.

John Cotton (b. 1827/28) was born at Penkridge, Staffordshire, and is described as a Boatman.

His wife, Elizabeth, was born at Sedgley, Staffordshire, (1827/28) and is described as a Boat Girl (Barge).

His daughter, Maria, was born at Stafford, (1866/67) and is described as a Boat Girl (Barge).

His son, Thomas, was born at Stafford, (1870/71) and is described as a Scholar.

His son, John, was born at Stafford, (1871/72) and is described as a Scholar.

The wife he murdered was called Hannah and she was 30 years his junior, so it is likely that Elizabeth was his first wife. The name of his second wife is unknown.

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IWA - HEAD OFFICE BULLETIN - DECEMBER 2002

About People

At IWA Council's meeting on 16th November, John Fletcher was confirmed as National Chairman and took on the post from that day. Liz Payne was reappointed as a deputy national chairman and Roger Squires, IWA's London Region Chairman, was also appointed a deputy national chairman. Judith Moore was re-appointed as chairman of IWA's Finance & General Purposes Committee.

Following the confirmation of John Fletcher's appointment as national chairman, he has retired as chairman of IWA's North West Region and is now a co-opted member of Council. The new chairman of IWA's North West Region is Margaret Fletcher.

We are saddened to report the death, in November, of John Freeman, former British Waterways engineer in the North West. John Freeman was extremely helpful to the Association's campaign in retaining and reopening waterways in his area, despite the fact this was often against BW policy at the time. He provided invaluable advice and assistance on numerous occasions and remained a valued friend of many Association members long after his retirement.

British Waterways Sustainable Development

Earlier this autumn, British Waterways published a consultation seeking views on a strategy for sustainable development. As a public body, BW is required to manage the waterways sustainably and to measure and improve its performance in relation to sustainable development. The strategy will be based on BW's four policies:

* Effective protection for the environment.

* Prudent use of natural resources.

* Social progress, which recognizes the needs of everyone.

* Sustainable economic growth and employment.

IWA responded to the consultation highlighting areas that should be addressed in the strategy. Amongst these were:

The design and installation of safety grills at weirs and culverts should be reviewed so as not to generate more work and loss of water by allowing them to become easily blocked.

Leaks on lock gates and paddles should be dealt with effectively and promptly.

There is a need to accelerate the programme of tree cutting to remove the effects of overgrowing trees, and once cut back, trees should be maintained by regular cutting of much smaller branches rather that the massive cutting and disposal that is needed in some areas.

After cutting and laying hedges, they should be regularly maintained. At present, the effect of cutting older hedges with slasher-type machines is often not effective or aesthetically pleasing.

Dredging should be as effective as possible and every effort made to attempt disposal on the bank or in adjacent fields.

Towing path canal sides should be retained by hard materials; in some cases stone walls can be re-capped to give a much more authentic appearance than steel piling.

Better control of macro flora, which dominates some water habitats, is needed in some areas.

The use of bicycles by BW staff to travel the towing path and to check on weirs, locks and other structures should be encouraged.

Old gate timber should be used for buffers, bollards, etc. The steel or iron furniture on gates should be re-used, handrails, buffers plates, paddle gear should be re-used; not necessarily on the replacement gates at the same lock but taken into the repair yard for re-use on next year's gates.

A lot more stone could be re-cycled and used to repair walls, cap-stones and brickwork

More work is needed to give greater encouragement for freight to be carried on the waterways.

Heritage Information Trust

The new website of the Heritage Information Trust was launched in November. This online resource includes information on every aspect of the conservation and care of buildings, parks and gardens. At the core of the database is a vetted register of people with conservation and craft skills, contractors, architects, surveyors, consultants, academics, products and suppliers, books and training courses to do with every aspect of care and conservation. The site is at www.heritageinformation.org.uk.

Heritage Link

The new heritage consortium organisation Heritage Link is due to be formally launched in London on 12th December. Heritage Link is a grouping of most of the major charitable heritage organisations including The National Trust, The Civic Trust, Council for Protection of Rural England, The Waterways Trust and IWA, who are all founder members. Heritage Link has been formed to give greater strength for lobbying government on heritage and built environment issues. IWA deputy national chairman Roger Squires will represent the Association at the launch.

Legislation Announced

The Queen's Speech at the opening of the new Parliament in November announced a number of items of legislation likely to be of relevance or concern to waterways interests. Amongst these were:

* A bill reforming alcohol and entertainment licensing law. This will bring alcohol sold on boats within the licensing law framework and will affect hotel boat and small trip boat operators with bars on board in particular. The new regulations will change the way licences for entertainment and the sale of alcohol at events such as waterway festivals are agreed. The draft bill has already been published and introduced into the House of Lords.

* A new Planning Bill to speed up the planning system by simplifying the development plan process, while "improving the involvement of local communities through better consultation". Government believes the Bill would also make the compulsory purchase system "simpler, fairer and faster". There are concerns that some of the heritage safeguards provided by the existing system will be lost.

* A Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill that will enable regional referenda on elected regional government to take place. Government has said that it will be up to each region whether its wants a referendum, but that Government expects that at least one or two referenda will be held during the lifetime of the current parliament. This Bill indicates an increased concentration of power in regional government, and by implication an increased importance for the waterway sector to address regional bodies for funding.

Review of Heritage Legislation

On 25th November, Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has announced a full review of existing heritage protection legislation. She set the review in the context of the Deputy Prime Minister's drive to streamline planning procedures and modernise planning guidance, but emphasised that the aim was to attack delay and inefficiency, not the principle of protecting the historic environment.

The review is to be carried out jointly with English Heritage and is likely to take around a year to reach a conclusion. The Minister has indicated that if the resulting report calls for a radical overhaul of existing law, then a legislative slot would be sought within two to three years. The text of Tessa Jowell's announcement can be downloaded from the Department of Culture, Media & Sport's Internet site (under 'Press Releases') at www.dcms.gov.uk/heritage/index.html

Grand Union Canal

On 22nd November, Fairview Homes formally handed over the new mooring basin, adjacent to the Grand Union Canal in Apsley, to the management and ownership of British Waterways. The mooring basin is in the centre of Fairview's £85million, 436 new homes, mixed development on the regenerated 19-acre brownfield site, formally occupied by John Dickinson Paper Mills.

The mooring basin is now complete and ready to be filled with boats. The basin provides berths for 65 boats including 15 with residential status, has a facilities block and disabled access. Fairview has also provided £100,000 of towing path improvements and a new footbridge across the canal as part of the development.

Following the completion of legal arrangements and the recruitment of a mooring basin manager, British Waterways expects boats to start moving into the new basin from January 2003. Information about Apsley Basin moorings is available from BW's Marsworth office 01442 825938.

Huddersfield Narrow Canal

Since its opening in 2001, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal has only been able to accommodate boats up to 6 foot 10 inches wide throughout its length, as there was only sufficient funding to achieve this minimum dimension throughout at this time. In a reply to a letter from the Historic Narrow Boat Owners Club, the Chairman of British Waterways, George Greener, had confirmed that British Waterways would work towards upgrading the canal to allow the passage of 7-foot-wide boats.

At the end of November, senior BW staff shared their findings of what work would be necessary to bring the canal up to the required standard, in detail, with a selection of interested bodies. BW intends to make the generality of their findings known to waterways users at a User Group Meeting due to be held in early December.

Shapes of locks and wing walls, degrees of subsidence and varying water levels and 'wriggles' along the length of Standedge Tunnel have all been variables that have allowed some boats of apparently similar dimension to get through, but not others. British Waterways has established that a 70-foot-long boat 6 foot 10 inches wide can successfully negotiate the canal.

From this basis, BW has set about finding what else needs to be done - first of all to allow a 7 foot wide boat to navigate the canal with extreme care and possibly under supervision, and then to achieve a standard navigation where a 7 foot wide boat can navigate the canal and for BW to have confidence in the structures to accept such a craft without difficulty.

Extensive details were provided as to how structures were measured. Those attending the meeting were supplied with full data of all structures and taken into the tunnel for a demonstration of the practical constraints of boat accommodation at a 'wriggle'. The tunnel is operated at between 2 inches above design water level to 6 inches below. Dropping below the latter figure causes problems because of the shape of the tunnel invert causing narrowing.

BW has confirmed that normal operating level is now near to original design water level - but is lower than the level to which it was raised to ensure water transfer over tunnel falls to descend the Diggle (West) side of the canal during the period of closure.

Four locks on the west side (21W, 22W, 26W and 31W) would not allow a boat 7 foot wide to pass in any circumstances. The restoring organisation(s) for each structure were identified and the type of restoration indicated. Two locks on the east side (42E and 22E) present the same difficulties. However, there are sixty locks which are less than 7foot 2 inches wide, which is the minimum width BW wish to achieve to be able to advertise that 7-foot-wide boats can pass through safely unsupervised and without risk additional to normal.

There are four sections of Standedge Tunnel that present problems for 7-foot-wide boats at the water levels identified above. Draft or air draft is not a significant problem in the tunnel.

British Waterways is prioritising the works necessary to allow the careful passage of boats 7 foot wide. Craft over 6 foot 10 inches wide may navigate the canal from 1st January 2003 by prior arrangement with BW's South Pennine waterway office, which will advise the current status of all structures, which ones are passable with care and which will not yet accommodate 7-foot-wide craft.

Already, a few pinch points have been removed during routine maintenance. British Waterways intends to seek funding, especially from third parties, to commence on the priority work, and has identified what else will eventually need to be done.

BW is anxious to assess boaters' feelings about the comparative merits of tackling the narrower sections of the canal compared to providing better facilities, and compared to the much heavier workload of bringing the canal up to normal narrow canal standards. Views expressed to IWA's Navigation Technical and Amenity Committee will be passed to British Waterways.

In the meantime the National Chairman, representing IWA's new North West Region Chairman, has suggested that the initial works to allow 7-foot-wide boats to navigate the canal with care should go hand-in-hand with the provision of better facilities. IWA is concerned that the canal is seen to be well-used, and to deliver the outputs promised, so as to demonstrate the benefits of its restoration, and thus help the promoters of other restoration schemes to successfully apply for major grant funding.

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals

On 21st November, the Government Office for the West Midlands approved a grant of £267,250 from The European Regional Development Fund's West Midlands Objective 2 Programme for 2002 to 2006 to assist funding of the restoration of the Hatherton Canal, which will connect the Staffs & Worcester Canal to the Cannock Extension, just north of the Wyrley & Essington Canal at Pelsall.

Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust and the Government have already provided substantial funding for navigable culverts under the M6 Toll motorway and local roads, and this grant will provide substantial impetus in moving forward the new link for the Hatherton Canal, which will replace the section lost to coal mining in the 1950s.

The Funding package consists of three elements:

* Comprehensive professional studies and reports to fully define the total project, consisting of a detailed route definition and engineering, including water supply and hydrology, an economic benefit study and an environmental assessment.

* Construction of the two most critical crossings of the canal by the M6 Toll motorway and associated roads in the form of navigable culverts and other related works.

* Acquisition of key sections of land in private ownership to secure the continuity of the route.

Taken together, the elements will move the project forward to the stage where it is ready to seek further funding for completion.

A comprehensive specification will be drawn up for each of the required reports and submitted to British Waterways for advice and approval before issuing invitations for competitive tendering by selected professional consultants. An indicative allowance of £100,000 is included for this element.

The construction element of the project provides for future canal crossings of the M6 Toll motorway at Churchbridge, Cannock and consists of three parts:

* A culvert under the new A5/A34 southern roundabout, enlarged to navigable dimensions funded by voluntary contribution to the Trust's David Suchet Appeal. Construction is now almost complete and stage payments are being made through a contract with The Waterways Trust. The total price for the enlargement is £130,000 (excluding VAT).

* A culvert under the M6 Toll motorway main carriageways, enlarged to navigable dimensions, funded by Government through the Highways Agency. Construction is now complete with the estimated cost of enlargement quoted at £345,000.

* Additional construction works to provide for the canal restoration, currently under discussion with CAMBBA (the motorway contractors), to which £91,250 is allocated.

Negotiations are under way with several private landowners to identify opportunities for land purchase. The £76,000 allocated will assist with acquisition of key sections of the canal restoration route. Details will be submitted to Government Office for the West Midlands for approval prior to drawing down on this element.

Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal

The Northwest Development Agency has offered a grant of £150,000 to British Waterways to fund a site investigation of the line of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. The study will provide critical data for the restoration of the twelve-mile canal, which BW expect to take four years.

An independent economic benefit study has already demonstrated how restoring the waterway can act as a magnet for investment, bringing new employment, leisure and housing opportunities to the area. The findings, by consultants DTZ Pieda, indicate the £32m scheme can generate:

* 6,000 new job and training opportunities;

* £180m in private development investment;

* 1,300 new homes;

* regeneration of 40 hectares of brownfield land;

* £5.6m annual leisure spend pumped into the local economy; and

* £6m additional job spend in the area.

The canal restoration has the support of Salford City, Bury Metropolitan and Bolton Metropolitan Councils, and also the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society. An extensive public consultation exercise in the summer indicated overwhelming backing for the undertaking.

Manchester Ship Canal

Salford City Council are encouraging greater recreational use of Salford Quays, at the Salford end of the Manchester Ship Canal. From 2003, Welland Lock will be available the first weekend each month to enable boaters to enjoy access to Mariners and Chandlers Canal and Ontario Basin moorings. In 2003 and 2004 it will open on Saturdays 10.00 - 14.00 and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, on the first weekends in May, June, July and August and on the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Shropshire Union Canal

British Waterways has signed an agreement with Bellway Homes Ltd for a £35 million development at Chester's historic Tower Wharf on the Shropshire Union Canal. BW owns the 8.5-acre site, and has submitted plans to Chester City Council for the detailed development, although the site already has detailed planning consent for a mixed-use scheme, granted in September 1997. If planning permission is granted, work could start in the summer of 2003.

The proposed development overlooks a newly restored canal basin, adjacent to the Shropshire Union Canal. The basin was filled in during the 1950s after the decline in freight traffic, but in July 2000, British Waterways completed an eight-month project to clear out and restore the area. Now the canal basin will provide an attractive focal point for the new Tower Wharf development. The development proposes the construction of 174 dwellings, (ranging from one, two and three bedroom apartments and penthouse suites through to four bedroom, three storey town houses), offices (78,000 sq ft), leisure facilities (17,000 sq ft, including restaurants) and a working boatyard.

Sleaford Navigation

The local authorities in Sleaford have arranged funding for restoration of the historic Seed Warehouse and Navigation House at the original head of navigation in Sleaford. Lincolnshire County Council has released £50,000 to the Environment Agency for a further study on the navigation and a water resource study being prepared by WS Atkins is due for completion at the end of 2002.

Rochdale Canal

At British Waterways' South Pennine Ring user groups' meeting, held at Marsden on 3rd December, BW gave a summary of its experiences since re-opening of the Rochdale Canal in July 2002:

There have been about 400 boat movements on the eighteen locks out of Manchester, and about 800 boat movements over the summit, since 1st July.

There have been about 2,000 boat movements at Tuel Lane during 2002.

British Waterways staff freely admit that they have been learning what the canal does while being used, as opposed to what they thought it would do. Some work has had to be done since the start of the commissioning period on 1st July. There is more to do next year to complete the work at the M62. Generally, user reports on the revived canal have been very favourable, although many have commented that some of the locks are hard work. British Waterways hope to tackle the most difficult of the locks this winter.

BW also hopes to recover and reinstate some by-washes on the nine locks west of the junction with the Ashton Canal and to address the lack of user facilities on the Manchester side. The booking system for the Manchester section will continue during 2003, after which BW will review the need for it. BW also intends to review its user guide for the canal and welcomes comments on it from users.

BRICKS AND WATER.

A partnership combining public sector ethos and assets with private sector capital and expertise will deliver at least 8 million square feet of mixed use development with an end value of £1.4 billion. ISIS Waterside Regeneration was launched at the Urban Summit in Birmingham on October 31st. The company has been established by BW with partners AMEC and the Igloo Regeneration Fund and is set to deliver regeneration schemes on previously developed urban landworking in partnership with local authorities, public agencies and public and private landowners. The initial portfolio includes an 11acre site at Brentford, 75 acres of land in Nottingham and more in Glasgow, Manchester and the Midlands.

Chief executive ISIS Mark Ryder is quoted as saying "ISIS is different from other private sector developers. We will make our name not just in what we deliver but the way we do it. As a public/private partnership we will be scrutinised by the Government: Schemes will be of the highest design and quality. Fifty per cent of the profits will be paid to BW and one hundred per cent of that will be re-invested in the waterway network." (With acknowledgements to 'BW Monthly'.)

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Residents of Bugsworth - 1881 Census

Extracted by Peter J Whitehead

An occasional series of extracts from the 1881 Census taken on Sunday, 3rd April and Monday, 4th April 1881.

Census place: Chinley, Bugsworth and Brownside. Public Record Office Ref: RG11.

Key: Col.2, Marital Status. Col.3, Relationship to Head of Household. Col. 4, Age. Col. 6, Birthplace.

Dwelling: Bugsworth Basin, New Road Side

Charles STAFFORD

m

Head

50

Lime Loader

Whaley Bridge, D

Mary

u

Daur

20

Cotton Reeler

Chinley, Derbys

Sarah A

u

Niece

18

Card Tenter1 at Cotton Mill

Chinley, Derbys

Dwelling: Bugsworth Basin, New Road Side

Adam JACKSON

m

Head

55

Blacksmith

Chinley, Derbys

Mary

m

Wife

57

 

Bowden Head, D

Mary J

u

Daur

21

Cotton Weaver

Bugsworth, Derbys

Elizabeth

u

Daur

19

Cotton Weaver

Bugsworth, Derbys

Joseph

u

Son

15

General Labourer

Bugsworth, Derbys

George H

u

Son

13

 

Bugsworth, Derbys

Dwelling: Bugsworth Basin, New Road Side

Thomas HAYAS2

m

Head

24

Stone Grinder3

Bugsworth, Derbys

Hannah

m

Wife

32

 

Harper Field, Derbys

Florence M

 

Daur

2

 

Bugsworth, Derbys

?Laetto

 

Daur

6m

 

Bugsworth, Derbys

Dwelling: Bugsworth Road Side

John SHIRT

m

Head

684

Labourer at Stone Crusher

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Nancy

m

Wife

62

 

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Dwelling: Bugsworth Road Side

Joshua ASHBY

m

Head

34

Labourer in Stone Quarry5

Bugsworth, Derbys

Martha

m

Wife

32

 

Bugsworth, Derbys

Thomas

u

Son

12

Works at Lime Kiln

Bugsworth, Derbys

Hannah

 

Daur

7

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

Mary

 

Daur

4

 

Bugsworth, Derbys

Jane

 

Daur

1

 

Bugsworth, Derbys

Dwelling: Bugsworth Road Side

Mary THOMASSON6

u

Head

32

Grocer

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Rose E BRADBURY

u

Cousin

14

Pupil Teacher

Glossop, Derbys

Mary A

m

Aunt

43

Farmer’s Wife

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Dwelling: Bugsworth Road Side

Betsy FORD

u

Head

29

Winder at Cotton Mill

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Dwelling: Bugsworth Road Side

John CRESWELL

m

Head

57

General Labourer & Lime Tippler7

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Ann

m

Wife

62

 

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Dwelling: Bugsworth Road Side

James GODDARD

m

Head

32

Labourer at Lime Kiln

Chinley, Derbys

Mary

m

Wife

24

Cotton Weaver

Scotland

Cristina

 

Daur

2

 

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Joseph

 

Son

11m

 

Bugsworth, Derbys

Joseph

u

Brother

21

Labourer at Lime Kiln

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Dwelling: Bugsworth Road Side

Abraham LOWE

m

Head

51

General Labourer

Hayfield, Derbys

Sarah

m

Wife

56

 

Chinley, Derbys

Hannah

u

Daur

18

Cotton Weaver

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Abraham

u

Son

16

Coal Miner

Hayfield, Derbys

Elijah

u

Son

13

Lime Pitter8

Bugsworth, Derbys

Samuel

u

G Son

4

 

Whaley Bridge, Ches

Endnotes

1 A ‘Tenter’ is a cloth-stretching machine but in the sense that the word is used here it means a person who ‘tend to’ or ‘minds’ a machine, in this instance a carding machine used in cotton mills. It was often used to describe a man who tended to a steam engine, in other words a Steam-engine Tenter or Engine Tenter. Thus the word ‘Attendant’ probably became ‘Tenter’ in colloquial English. [Chambers Dictionary gives the derivation of ‘tenter’ as being from the Scottish word ‘tent’ meaning tend to. ‘Tenter’ is a common word used to describe machine minders in the cotton spinning and weaving mills of Lancashire - my mother was once a spinning frame tenter at the Royd Mill in Oldham, the same mill where later my grandfather, uncle and father were successively to be mill manager. ‘Tenter’ as in a cloth-stretching machine gives rise to the expression ‘being on tenterhooks’, a state of impatient suspense - Editor]

2 This is probably ‘Hayes’.

3 This occupation suggests that Thomas worked in the nearby Barren Clough gritstone quarry where he ground flagstones and setts to shape.

4 There was no such thing as retirement.

5 Probably Barren Clough gritstone quarry.

6 This is probably ‘Thomassin’.

7 This occupation refers to the unique lime tipplers in Bugsworth Basin.

8 This is either a transcription error for ‘Lime Picker’ or it correctly refers to the occupation of someone who worked in a lime pit.

If the former is correct then Elijah’s job was to pick through the burnt lime and remove all the lumps of partly burnt limestone. These would then be put back into a kiln to be re-burnt.

If the latter is correct then Elijah’s job was to slake burnt lime. Burnt lime from the kilns was slaked with water in a lime pit. This would then be used to make mortar for building purposes and there is certainly evidence of the use of lime mortar at Bugsworth Basin.

On the south side of the Middle Basin, adjacent to the Wide, there is still extant a bowl-shaped depression in the ground and no explanation has ever been offered for its purpose. It is quite close to the Gnat Hole kilns and maybe this feature was once a lime pit.

Farmers who required lime for soil conditioning did not use a lime pit. They obtained burnt lime in covered carts and then allowed it to slake naturally in piles in their fields before spreading it. Burnt lime that has slaked naturally was said to have ‘fallen’.

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Extra-terrestrials recruited to maintenance work at Bugsworth Basin

Due to the severe lack of volunteers working at Bugsworth, it has been necessary to recruit the help of an alien workforce. Incompatibility of the extra-terrestrials with the Bugsworth environment necessitated the use of full protective suits to ensure survival in the hostile climate. With extreme efficiency, using modern space-blaster technology, rapid progress was made stripping off the old flaking paint and rust soon to be replaced with pristine new paint in the traditional PFCC black and white livery. Note also the alien three-legged tripe-hound accompanying the operative.

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Book Launch at Brindley Water Mill Leek

December 14th 2002 saw Brindley Water Mill the venue for the launch of a new book, the Brindley Family Genealogy. Written by Gordon Brindley and his sister Yvonne Long, it is a history of the Brindley family down through the years. The authors have also published another book, ‘James Brindley of Alton, Staffordshire, and the George Washington Connection’, which traces the history of James Brindley, nephew of the famous James Brindley, who went to America as a canal engineer.

Brindley Genealogy, ISBN 1 897949 88X, costs £12.95 from churnet@thebookshopleek.co.uk or from The Book Shop, 6 Stanley Street, Leek, tel 01538 399033.

THE AMERICAN JAMES BRINDLEY (Part One)

(From notes supplied by Yvonne Long & Gordon Brindley, brother and sister descendants of James Brindley. Reproduced from The New Wych Magazine by kind permission of its editor, Jon Axe.)

The Story Of James Brindley -- Canal Engineer -- 1745-1820

A Wilderness Transformed

"But the strongest call came from the canal, for the engineers were letting in water for the first time today. As far as you could see, the big ditch ran, like a hill turned down and inside out. An army of Irishmen had scooped it out, cursing at the boys who threw stones at their clay pipes when they laid them on the ground. Now they were gone and the ditch lay new and dry. But God help the dog or cat found in it when the water came down today. They were letting it in from the river. Oh, this would be a day to remember. Folks were coming from twenty miles to see boats floating where there had only been dry earth before."

About two years ago, we uncovered references to a canal builder named James Brindley, who (the website claimed) worked on several of the earliest US canal projects such as the Susquehanna River, James River, and Conewago Canal. Being sceptical by nature, we put the information to one side as mere coincidence, believing it to have no bearing on our more famous English ancestor, James Brindley, the renowned English canal builder.

We were wrong, for later we discovered from the diaries of George Washington and other reliable source material that he was indeed the nephew of James and had trained under his famous uncle on numerous British canal projects from around the age of fourteen.

We all know of George Washington as a wealthy plantation owner, a victorious general and America's first president. However, few people realise that he was also a distinguished engineer who pioneered several early American canal projects and who secured the services of James for a number of engineering projects. In May 1786, Washington stated:

"Mr James Brindley, nephew of the celebrated person of the same name (James Brindley 1716-1772) who conducted the work of the Duke of Bridgewater (Francis Edgerton. 3rd Duke of Bridgewater 1736-1803) and planned others in England, possesses I presume, more practical knowledge of Cuts & Locks for the improvement of inland navigation, than any man amongst us as he was executive officer (he says) many years under his uncle in this particular business

Since that first discovery, the story of James and his family life has gradually unfolded, and we now know that his parents were Joseph and Sarah Brindley. Joseph was the brother of James Snr, and although not achieving the worldwide fame of his sibling built a meaningful career in Alton, Staffordshire.

Joseph Brindley (Father) 1720 -- 1790 (Millwright and Mechanic)

Joseph was born about 1720 and was the son of James Brindley and Susannah (nee Bradbury). Records are sparse at this period possibly due to church records being lost, damaged, or because of the rising influence of the Quakers who shunned established rituals.

James Brindley (the nephew) was born in 1745. Joseph and Sarah, his parents married the following year in 1746 and James was baptised on the 8th May 1748 at Waterfall, a few miles from Alton.

James Brindley (1745-1820) American Canal pioneer

Little is known of James' early years in England but, comparing his handwriting style with that of his uncle James, they are so similar that we speculate that they may both been taught to read and write at the Quaker school in Leek which was flourishing during that period. Located at Overton Bank, the school building still exists today. Furthermore, it is within walking distance of Lowe Hill Farm where the Brindley family was living from 1726 onwards.

It is likely that Joseph had arranged for his son to be apprenticed under his brother, possibly around the age of fourteen, which was normal for the time. If correct, then the young James would have had the opportunity of working under his professional guidance for around thirteen years before his uncle's premature death in 1772. This would support James' claimed seniority in his uncle's business that George Washington mentioned in a letter to William Moultrie dated May 25, 1786. Washington writes "He was an executive officer (he says) many years under his uncle in this particular business."

From existing records, nothing has been found so far in relation to the young James’ canal work in Britain, but most of the notes available are purely technical or financial calculations, so nothing should be read into the absence of record.

The paper trail on James really begins with his arrival in America, an event that was featured in The Virginia Gazette on July 7th 1744.

The ‘Jeff’ from London is gone up the Rappahannock River. In her came John Ballendine Esq: with about forty engenious Mechanicks, who landed at Hampton. Mr Ballendine has made a tour of England, Scotland, Ireland and France, in order to make himself fully acquainted with inland navigation, and has brought with him some of the best and most experienced artists in canals, locks, etc., that could be had in England; among them Mr James Brindley and Mr Thomas Allan, Nephews to the celebrated Engineer of that name, who were brought up with him, and were well acquainted with all his works until his death.

Note: Thomas Allen is likely the son of Ann Brindley (James' sister) married to William Allen, an innkeeper of Leek.

Philadelphians' interest in canals and roads, or, as they were known later, ' internal improvements'' crystallised in the late 1760s. The prime reason for their interest was the rapid development of central Pennsylvania, which, at the end of the French Indian War was open for settlement. Philadelphia merchants naturally looked to this new trading opportunity as their own to control. However, central Pennsylvania's natural trade route, which carried increasing quantities of grain, whisky, lumber, and iron from the interior, was the Susquehanna River. For eons before political boundaries had been drawn, the Susquehanna emptied into the Chesapeake Bay, now within the limits of Maryland, and not part of the Delaware estuary controlled by Philadelphia

The Quaker merchants soon seized upon a technical solution to their economic problem - they came to believe that the new technology of canals and turnpikes could divert the developing interior trade into their city and between 1768 and 1772, a cluster of individuals brought plans into a coherent strategy. However, attempts had already been made to improve water communications without success, in 1761, the citizens of Berks County wanted to clear the Schuylkill River, which was their natural highway to Philadelphia and collected their own funds to do so. They succeeded in removing rocks at the falls of the Schuylkill only to render the river too shallow to navigate in parts. The plan was a failure.

After years of faltering projects, something radical needed to be done; so it was the prominent industrialist and entrepreneur, John Ballendine, who was selected by his peer group to travel to England and systematically study the workings of early European canals. Despite having a rather dubious reputation, he had the support of George Washington who thought him a natural genius and together they shared a passionate determination to progress trade through inland navigation.

James obviously was in sympathy with the Colonists because, in 1778, he subscribed to the Oath of Allegiance and Fidelity and joined Captain John Garrett's Militia as a Private 6th Class. On October 3rd 1781, he was promoted to Second Lieutenant in the same company. At this point, little is known of his war record, but we know he survived to raise his family, dying peacefully at the age of 75.

In 1787, James appears on a list of taxable persons in the Christiana Hundred. On the 29th of April 1779, he married Elizabeth Ogle, a woman five years his senior, at Old Swedes (now Holy Trinity) Church in Wilmington. Shortly afterwards we find the baptism record of Catherine Brindley born to James, with the mother identified as a woman named Rebecca Smidt. Presumably, the child Catherine was the result of a brief affair for she was born on November 8th 1779, just seven months after his marriage to Elizabeth and baptised at Old Swedes Church on August 14th 1780.

The daughter of Charles and Mary Williams, Elizabeth Ogle [maiden name Williams] had previously been married twice, the first time on the 11th May 1762 to Patrick Davis and the second time in May of 1764, to Thomas Ogle. Elizabeth had four children with Thomas Ogle - namely Charles, Thomas, William, and Mary. Her father's Last Will and Testament that names her children to James, alongside the Ogle family offspring, confirms the details.

James was 34 when he married Elizabeth and together they had three children - Sarah [birth date unknown]; Susanna who was baptised 22nd October 1783; and James Joseph who was baptized on the same day as Susanna 22nd October 1783 and died 24th August 1858. Sarah and James Joseph were: named after James' parents. Susanna was the name of his paternal grandmother.

James and Elizabeth remained living in Delaware until they died. At this time the hamlet came under the governing district of Delaware, known as the Christiana Hundreds and James appears in the early census records from 1790 through to 1800,1810 and 1820. To be continued.

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