The Inland Waterways Protection Society Ltd 

Campaigning    Restoration    Preservation    Development 

Newsletter "174" May 2003

Contents

Bugsworth Basin Report Waste Paper collection
Target Date for Re-opening
Editorial
Sales Pages change of web address Droitwich Canal Restoration Funding New IWPS Membership Secretary Historical and Photo Archive on cd-rom
Descendant of a Bugsworth Tippler
More about
William Pitt Dixon
Coronation Street Canal Connections Brindley and before
by Jon Axe
Passenger Steamers on the Irwell Extracts from 1881 Census The American James  Brindley
WRG Fund-Raising Quiz
Babblings
Book Review A Memorial to Cyril Boucher
News from the IWA
  Trafalgar Marine Services

Portobello Engineering


IWPS walkers gather in the sun for the exploration 
of the long-abandoned Leominster Canal.
Photograph: David Kitching

Bugsworth Basin Report

by Ian Edgar MBE   -     Chairman and Hon Site Manager

Reading my last report in the February Issue of '174' I have a feeling there is little to report three months later. Is that really so? Where have I been so busy?

Well, I seem to have been very busy at my desk trying to get funds together to progress the next phase(s) of the Bugsworth Basin project. Attention now is focussed on the Upper Basin where Alan Findlow has been in discussion with the English Heritage Inspector as to the best way to re-build the wash walls around the whole of the Upper Basin. Here we have timber strakes set in to the wall, which have, over the years, rotted away due to exposure to the elements and to regular wetting and drying out since the basin was closed c1927. If these timbers had been underwater at all times we would not have a problem but now we most certainly do. The stonework above what was very substantial timber is now inadequately supported is now very close to collapse over the entire length and in places has indeed fallen in to the water. On top of this we have to address the safety aspects for the many visitors we already have on site and make sure that we rebuild safely and in a way that does not detract from the historical importance of the Upper Basin. This area we think is virtually untouched since it was built.

We are applying for funding for this work, which will most likely be managed by IWPS Ltd. (rather than the leak repairs which will be managed by British Waterways). The aim is to do the work at the same time as BW are engaged in the area of the Entrance Basin so that the whole Basin can still re-open Spring 2004.

In the last couple of months we have been mostly engaged in maintenance duties ready for the new season. All the railings and posts of Bridge 59 have been replaced and painted. The top rails of Bridge 58 have been replaced and the paint on the rest of the timbers has been burnt off ready for re-painting. This work is still in progress and we would welcome any help for this task, which is being done mainly mid-week.

When this work has been completed both Bridges 58 & 59 will have been refurbished with new decking and railings. We are indebted to the Mersey Basin Trust for funding the expensive purchase of timber and materials for this work. I myself would like to thank the small band of volunteers who carried out this work, week after week, in all kinds of weather. If it had not been done it would have only been a matter of time before a pedestrian (or worse still a horse) would have gone through the decking. A very important job, very well done.

The clearance of fallen trees from the Blackbrook flood-bank has now been almost completed. We are indebted to the Environment Agency for clearing one very large specimen, which was threatening to block the river. This was done very efficiently and the E.A. disposed of the timber as well. We will probably require professional help to remove one tree, which is lying on the steps down to the garden. If any of my readers has access to a small crane and/or has professional chainsaw expertise please contact me as soon as possible!

Whilst clearing the fallen trees our volunteers tackled the very badly overgrown floodbank by drastically cutting back many trees or shrubs to encourage new growth and to expose many plants previously hidden. With the early spring and welcome warm weather this has proved a good move and this area will be much improved. This work undertaken over several Sundays prompted me to appeal for outside help to maintain this area now that we had done all the extra hard graft. Three small identical notices were put on the floodbank appealing for helpers to keep the gardens clear of weeds and to generally look after them. Much to my surprise we did not find these notices in the canal or river and indeed they are still there some six weeks later. I am extremely grateful to local residents Tony and Jen Hunt for responding to my appeal. As they say they do a little at a time, nothing that strenuous, and they are really enjoying it. The problem is coping with the weeds but they are winning. They are bringing in plants from their own garden to add to the plants hitherto swamped by the weeds. More volunteers are still required for this task.

Like the Forth Bridge our steel railings alongside the Lower Basin Arm need continuous maintenance to eradicate the rust and keep the black and white paint looking pristine. This work has been going on over the past few weeks. Again helpers are still required.

Like the Forth Bridge our steel railings alongside the Lower Basin Arm need continuous maintenance to eradicate the rust and keep the black and white paint looking pristine. This work has been going on over the past few weeks. Again helpers are still required.

Our new Exhibition Area progresses well and the panels are now at the proof reading stage. They are of a very striking design and will explain to our visitors what went on at Bugsworth Basin. These should be in place by the end of April. Watch the next issue of '174' and then come to Bugsworth to see our new facility.

Included in our Awards for All Grant is the cost of a new promotional leaflet which has turned out to be very striking and interesting. Everybody who has seen the first pull has been very impressed and it is hoped that one will be included with this mailing of your '174'. This leaflet is intended to tell the world about Bugsworth Basin and supplies are available free for placing in Tourist Offices, hotels, clubs, churches etc. If you want a supply please let me know and it will be arranged. First printing is 5000 copies.

So, whilst we have been waiting for the major leak repairs to start, we have been busy tackling jobs that have needed to be done for a long time but which we have not as yet been able to undertake. There will be a big improvement in the appearance of the Basin following our extensive tree surgery etc. This is very important. We have at least six funding applications pending. If each one of these means an evaluator visit to Bugsworth and he or she finds a tidy and attractive site then we stand a better chance in a very competitive funding world. What we are doing now is extremely important, even if it is not actually in the canal. There is nothing we as volunteers can do physically to cure the leaks. That is down to the professionals and quite outside our scope. We, as volunteers, keep the whole project alive by acting as facilitators. We work to get the funds together and provide the drive. Without the work of our small band of regular workers Bugsworth Basin would be the loser.

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Waste Paper for Funds

Ian Edgar MBE

Many organisations collect waste paper for sale in aid of funds. Waterway Recovery Group with their 'paper chase' have raised thousands of pounds to fund the WRG activities. IWPS has never been able to set up a collection scheme mainly due to the lack of volunteer resources and those volunteers we do have are committed to other IWPS work.

Normally charity groups can find waste paper merchants who want only newsprint. They will not take office waste. over-run and out-of-date catalogues, telephone directories etc. IWPS has a buyer who will take any waste paper as long as it is delivered in a reasonable quantity of around a ton. Like any company, mine has a problem what to do with out-of-date printed matter, which is usually heavy. I have delivered a considerable amount of such paper to our buyer for IWPS funds. THIS IS WORTHWHILE AS LONG AS THE COLLECTION DISTANCE IS NOT TOO LONG. If you have any waste paper of any type and you think there is a large amount of it please contact me on 01663 732493 and we can talk about collection.

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Bugsworth on Target for Reopening - Spring 2004 

Ian Edgar MBE

Despite some delays in confirmation of the funding packages and more time being required by the consultants to finally determine how exactly to do the work IWPS and Partners British Waterways are still confident we can complete to programme.

What we all want to avoid if at all possible is muck shifting in the Autumn or Winter. Summer is ideal for this work when we have a reasonable chance of an extended period of dry weather. The wet periods common to Bugsworth would certainly extend the time required for muck shifting and increase costs.

Re-opening on time is not only important to IWPS and to British Waterways but to the traders and residents of Bugsworth, Whaley Bridge, New Mills and further afield. Restored canals, and especially Basins such as Bugsworth which encourage boaters and visitors to stay bring prosperity and many spin-offs to the area. Having a clear ‘destination’ with plenty of room to moor on a tranquil secure site with excellent facilities will encourage boaters to cruise the presently under used Upper Peak Forest Canal. Being a ‘dead-end’ some boaters have certainly been discouraged by the inadequacy of the small Whaley Bridge Arm and Basin. This certainly applies to hirers ‘doing’ the Cheshire Ring when they branch off at Marple on to the Lower Peak Forest Canal. IWPS and BW will be promoting Bugsworth next year as an attractive destination worth a detour.

Following the Bugsworth Basin re-opening more private sector capital will be invested in the area especially in the run down areas immediately adjacent to this Ancient Monument. IWPS are also working closely with the Forward Planning Manager of High Peak Borough Council with the aim of attracting further investment and funding from Government, EC, and Lottery sources. Estimated funding for the major structural repairs is around £1m and bids are now being prepared for a further £1m to cover the provision of replica buildings, car parks etc. In five years time it is anticipated that visitor numbers and therefore spending in the area will be so increased as to present infrastructure problems such as provision for car and coach parking. We have to start addressing these problems now.

When the Basin was open in 1999 ad hoc visitor surveys indicated annual visitor numbers in excess of 50,000. A permanently open Basin will attract an estimated 11,000 visitors each year with spending in the area in the region of £127,000 p.a. Local enterprises seem at last to be taking note of this and there seems to be a new positive reaction by Whaley Bridge traders and others to the opportunities opening up in the area. IWPS is supporting British Waterways in an effort to rejuvenate the Whaley Bridge Basin ‘on the back of ’ the undoubted benefits coming to the area when Bugsworth Basin re-opens.

It was at one time thought by some that the problems with Bugsworth would never be solved. Indeed there are some pessimists who still believe, despite all the money being invested, that this is still the case. Thankfully the pessimists are in the tiny majority and would perhaps always be so no matter what happens. On the other hand there are those who accept there will be changes and improvements but I personally feel many do not realise how big those changes will be and how they will impact economically on the area. Only time will tell us what, initially the IWPS and in the past two years BW, have actually achieved.

Ian Edgar MBE

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Editorial by Don Baines

Due to my extended visit to South Africa and involvement in preparing the IWPS Historical Archive cd-rom, I have had little time to write anything of my own for this edition of ‘174' so I am relying heavily on the writings of others to fill the pages.

IWPS/PFCC Sales Web Pages

The IWPS/PFCC sales pages have now been updated and integrated into the IWPS website hosted by David Kitching’s excellent website www.brocross.com.

The sales pages can now be accessed through the IWPS Home Page at: www.brocross.com/iwps/

Most recently received is this press release from the IWA:

Come Down and Celebrate your Local Waterways

Over the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of June, The Inland Waterways Association is holding a collection of events up and down the country inviting the public to a celebration of local waterways. Events are being organised throughout England and Wales by IWA's 36 branches, and other waterways groups, to share the variety and excitement of the waterways, and to demonstrate that Britain's inland waterways have something to offer everyone.

In Stoke-on-Trent, members of IWA's local branch will be giving a guided tour; from canal engineer James Brindley's grave, to the location of his statue at Etruria. In the Chilterns, a lock ransom, at Marsworth, will see IWA's Chiltern branch take over a lock flight inviting passing boats to pay a ransom in exchange for help up the locks. In Birmingham there will be a community carnival on the canals in Smethwick.

Although many of the activities are modest on their own, by combining them over one weekend IWA hopes that they will achieve increased national publicity for the waterways. The weekend will provide a family day out within reach of much of the population and entry to all the events will be free.

The IWPS will be taking part in Celebrate your Local Waterways with partners British Waterways and Whaley Bridge Town Council by organising the Whaley Water Weekend (W3). Again this year BW and IWPS will each be providing a small trip boat for the public to enjoy the canal from Whaley Bridge Basin to the junction with the main line in to Bugsworth. We hope to have the new Bugsworth Basin Display in our own gazebo together with the Peak Forest Canal Company Sales Team of Gordon and Linda Anderson. Space has been offered to the Friends of the Cromford Canal at the other end of the Cromford and High Peak Railway. To date we are not sure if this will be taken up.

A full list of events with details of time, location, and contact details is available on IWA's Internet site www.waterways.org.uk 

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Droitwich Canals Restoration Partners celebrate funding developments worth £7million

It was particularly pleasing to read this press release dated 1st April - just like the IWPS, DCT have battled for many years to gain recognition and funding for this important restoration. Hopefully we will soon be seeing a similar announcement that the final effort to restore Bugsworth Basin is under way:

Partners in the ambitious £9.5 million programme to restore the Droitwich Canals celebrated today as potential funding for the project took a huge leap forward.

Following British Waterways' commitment to place the Droitwich Canals restoration at the top of its list of priorities for funding, Wychavon District Council, Worcestershire County Council and the Droitwich Canals Trust have all been patiently waiting for news from two major funding bodies, the Heritage Lottery fund and Advantage West Midlands.

Today both the Heritage Lottery Fund and Advantage West midlands have given their first stage funding approval of a combined £7million to the restoration, which already has pledged funding of £2million from Wychavon District Council and Worcestershire County Council. Droitwich Canals Trust volunteers have given up thousands of hours of their spare time to the project so far and will be kindly donating many thousands more in the years ahead.

Once completed, the restored Droitwich Canals will generate an additional spend of £2.75m within the local economy. A unique new 21-mile cruising ring will be created, linking the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in the East to the navigable River Severn in the West. The new cruising waterway will contribute substantially to the regeneration of Droitwich Spa town centre with the development of a 2-acre canalside site and marina, and property values are expected to increase by up to 15%.

In addition to providing a boost for the local economy, the canal restoration will create over 5.6 hectares of reed beds and wetland, offering important habitats for otters, birds, water voles and amphibians. There are over 40 structures of significant heritage importance along the canals, all of which will be sensitively restored.

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Descendant of a Bugsworth Tippler?


Seen near the quaintly-named Umbumbulu, in Kwa Zulu Natal, was this modern tippler unit located at the local sugar cane processing factory. Hundreds of trucks and trailers, stacked high with freshly-harvested sugar cane, queue patiently for hours to be unloaded by two of these tipplers. In true Bugsworth-like manner, chains are attached to the pivotting body frames which are then raised and the contents dumped into a hopper system taking the cane through a crusher unit before starting the refining process.

Equally impressive was the size of the cane crusher unit, displayed at the factory entrance, when contrasted with the lad sitting at the roadside.

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New Membership Secretary

Much to the relief of Ian Edgar, our overworked Chairman, Andy Eadon has now taken over the role of Membership Secretary, so, any of those of you still defaulting on membership dues are certain to get a reminder very soon. Contact Andy by email at iwpsmembers@aol.com 

Copy for Newsletters - Please note that the deadline for publishing the next newsletter is 1st July 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

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CD-ROM - Historical and Photographical Archive

The Historical and Photographic Archive cd-rom priced £12 will soon be available for sale.

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 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

Our first two full walks of the year were on two contrasting canals.

Our first, in February, on the Rochdale was an entirely urban walk by a waterway re-opened to navigation, whereas our April visit looked at the Leominster Canal, rural in character, never completed and abandoned for nearly a hundred and fifty years.

Rochdale Ramble

Meeting at Victoria Station in Manchester we took a short train ride (two coaches!) to Mills Hill on the Oldham border. Here, on the cusp of countryside, we joined the towpath and walked southwards towards the first restored lock at Kay Lane. At this point the Ferney Field Colliery Arm’s truncated remnant was seen and discussed. The threatened rain arrived and terminated discussions but passed quickly as we walked the long pond (for the Rochdale) towards Failsworth.

Passing the long-vanished power station site at Chadderton we came to the one of the major engineering feats of the restoration, the tunnel under the M60. Duly discussed and photographed, we then moved toward the other major challenge to the restorers, Failsworth Co-op. This supermarket, built directly over the canal, had been a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. But, in an object lesson about political will, compulsory purchase had come into play and the Co-op was demolished, a channel opened and north and south Failsworth were re-joined by water. Except on our visit the pound was drained for maintenance. Ho Hum!

Darting into the pub we avoided the lunchtime downpour and emerged into watery sunshine for our walk down through Newton Heath and its succession of locks through a variety of urban and industrial surroundings. At Ancoats we paused to admire the millscape and look for the signs of old infilled arms and wharves. At the Dale Street car park we were astounded at the amount of building work which included excavation of new arms (sadly the original Piccadilly Wharf of 1805 is being lost under the burgeoning development).

The walk ended with an inspection of the Rochdale Canal Company’s warehouse which is now a bathroom showroom.

An excellent walk enjoyed by all and enlivened by personal reminiscences of several of our party.

Brownsfield Mill, Ancoats, Manchester.

In the early 1900s this mill was occupied by a company called Everards which was owned by Humphrey Verdon Roe. It was here that, together with his brother Alliott, the company to be known as A.V. Roe & Co Ltd was born in 1910. A.V. Roe & Co Ltd (also known as Avro) was the first company in the world to be registered as an aeroplane manufacturer and the first production machines were built in the cellar of Brownsfield Mill. In the 1920s, the company opened a new factory further up the canal in Newton Heath.

I served an Aero-Engineering Apprenticeship with Avros in the 1950s, starting at the Chadderton factory, also close to the Rochdale Canal - Don Baines

Leominster

The Leominster walk started with thirty souls meeting for a car shuffle in a lay-by near Mamble on the Shropshire - Herefordshire border. The morning was spent looking at the remains of the Teme Aqueduct. A short walk across field and stile took us to this sturdy structure which suffered in a military exercise in WWII by having an arch blown up by explosives. Its approach embankment curving gracefully across the landscape was also worthy of note.

Returning to the cars we travelled back to Newnham where lunch was taken then set out on the trail of the abandoned canal. Ably led by David Slater, we found plenty of evidence of its existence. Around Newnham several houses were canal related and the portal of Newnham tunnel could be discerned. A stop to view the remains of Rea Aqueduct, splendid in decay. Then onward through the vague remnants of the Marlbrook lock flight to Southnet Wharf where the canal ended in a web of tramways into the Mamble coalfield. It was one of these tramroads which we followed through Foetrid to one of the pits which proved to be about 100 yards from our original meeting place.

A delightful walk in splendid countryside and, thanks to David Slater’s meticulous research, a day packed with interest. The big surprise for me was that, after a century and a half’s abandonment, so much exists of this forgotten canal.

Rea Aqueduct - Leominster Canal - David Kitching


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Coronation Street’s Canal Connections

Coronation Street's serial killer, Richard Hillman, finally met his end on Friday, 14th March 2003 when he was drowned in a canal.

Martin and Tommy bravely dived into the canal and managed to rescue Gail and the children as they were struggling to break free from their sunken car. Tommy then dived back again to rescue Tricky Dickie, as Richard had become known, but he was unable to find him. Later the police recovered a body, which Gail later identified as that of her husband.

Richard's dramatic exit from Coronation Street was filmed at Portland Basin on the Ashton Canal and the re-built New Warehouse formed a superb backdrop for this splendidly produced and acted episode of the most famous Soap of all time. Carefully placed lighting accentuated the drama of the scene, especially the warehouse and the adjacent footbridge across the canal. But possibly the most dramatic effect of all was the view of famous humped towpath bridge, which had been cleverly backlit by placing lights on the aqueduct over the river Tame.

Portland Basin became known as 'Weavers Rest' during the 19th century cotton famine as a number of mill workers committed suicide there. Following Richard's suicide at the same spot perhaps a new name can now be added, 'Hillman's Rest'

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BOOK REVIEW 

By Derek Brumhead

The Lunar Men. The Friends who made the Future, 1730-1810. By Jenny Uglow. Published by Faber and Faber, 2002. 588 pp. 97 line drawings and 47 coloured plates. ISBN 0-571-19647-0, £25.00.

In the mid-eighteenth century, four men - Erasmus Darwin, a doctor, poet, and theorist of evolution (he was the grandfather of Charles Darwin), Matthew Boulton a metal goods manufacturer and toy maker, his partner James Watt, inventor of the steam engine, and Josiah Wedgwood the potter, were at the centre of a society which met in Birmingham on the Monday nearest each full moon. This group of friends, without exaggeration, can be said to have launched the industrial revolution and changed the world. They included some of the most inventive and creative men in the history of science and industry and their names are a roll of honour - Joseph Priestley, who discovered oxygen; Richard Edgeworth, a mechanic, inventor and conjuror (who had four wives and twenty two children); Thomas Day a follower of Rousseau; and John Whitehurst, designer of wind vanes, barometers, pyrometers, and especially clocks, who also studied and collected data on the rock formations of the Peak District and who encapsulated the dilemma that many early geologists found themselves in - that their observations did not match up with their deeply held religious beliefs. These men blended art, science and commerce. They built canals, launched balloons, discovered and named plants, gases and minerals, made some of the famous pottery and china in the world, created new power sources, and revolutionised industrial processes Throughout their long friendship they kept each other informed of their researches and subsequent discoveries, urging each other forward. Of particular interest to us were their explorations in the Peak District, drawn by their fascination for the rocks, minerals and fossils, which they struggled to understand. The identification of the minerals and their properties was one of the most fruitful areas of study for the whole group, and Boulton also turned his attention to making jewellery and vases from Blue John and Derbyshire marbles such as those from Ashford. In 1739 he purchased an amazing 14 tons of Blue John - no wonder there is hardly any left !

It is impossible to do justice to this huge text encompassing the personalities, discoveries, art, literature, science and industry of this amazing century. Fortunately, Jenny Uglow, learned biographer and historian, has a wonderful grasp not only of the big ideas, inventions, and events of the time, but also the minutest of details which enliven the account, and many fascinating anecdotes She brings the eighteenth century to light - there is, for instance, a wonderful description of walking through Birmingham as its workshop culture was beginning to shape the growing city. As she progresses, she introduces us to many of the other great intellectuals and achievers, with whom the lunar men were in constant contact and exchanging ideas - the wonderful industrial artist Joseph Wright of Derby, his friend Peter Burdett cartographer of Derbyshire and Cheshire (who appears in one of his paintings), Sir William Hamilton emissary of Naples and vulcanologist (his wife was Nelson's mistress), Sir Joseph Banks botanist, Joseph Smeaton the engineer, Arkwright and Strutt... the list is endless. The chief focus, however, is on Erasmus Darwin a genius among a host of 'lesser' geniuses (genii ?) whose range of interests and achievements leaves one reeling. He wrote a monumental poem, The Botanic Garden (sell your boots to buy a modern edition if you see one) which describes, among many things, the worlds of natural history and industrial processes. There is one astonishing vision of the creation of the universe, presaging the 'Big Bang' theory (this is 1789):

Through all his realms the kindling Ether runs,
And the mass starts into a million suns;
Earths round each sun with quick explosions burst,
And second planets issue from the first;
Bend as they journey with projectile force,
In bright ellipses their reluctant course;
Orbs wheel in orbs, round centres centres roll,
And form, self-balanced, one revolving Whole.

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Passenger Steamers on the river Irwell in Manchester

by Peter J Whitehead

This rare photograph from the collection of the late Jack Brady, shows a passenger steamer on the river Irwell adjacent to Manchester Cathedral in 1894.

In that year, two steam packet offices were built opposite the Cathedral between Palatine and Victoria bridges. Being intensely rival companies, they provided their own flights of stairs down to floating landing stages moored in the river. In their eagerness to compete they overlooked the fact that the river channel hereabouts was at its narrowest, being only some 85 feet wide, and that their facilities would be a hindrance to flood water. This problem was exacerbated by the proximity of the confluence of the river Irk with the Irwell just upstream and this was further compounded by the unusual but quite natural junction in which the Irk actually points almost upstream rather than down.

The reason for the introduction of these services was to take advantage of the Manchester Ship Canal, which had been opened by Queen Victoria in late 1893. Sightseeing tours ran around the new Manchester Docks and along the canal to Barton, Irlam and Lymm. Some trips went as far as Liverpool but the frequency of these is unknown. Principally because of problems with flooding, the two companies only remained in business for a few years and they closed down in late 1906.

The building in the background is the Palatine Hotel, built by the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company and behind it is the beautiful old Chetham College. The former hotel is now a part of the famous Chetham College of Music.

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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 Road Side

Thomas SHIRT

m

Head

60

Horse Keeper

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Hannah

m

Wife

56

 

Glossop, Derbys

John W

u

Son

30

Lime Stone Tippler

Bugsworth, Derbys

Jane

u

Daur

17

Cotton Winder

Bugsworth, Derbys

Samuel

u

Son

14

Horse Driver

Bugsworth, Derbys

Ann ASHBY

u

G Daur

10

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

Dwelling: Bugsworth Road Side

William SHIRT

m

Head

47

Coal Miner

Peak Forest, Derbys

Hannah

m

Wife

49

 

Manchester, Lancs

Alice

u

Daur

18

Cotton Spinner

Bugsworth, Derbys

Alice A HAYS

u

G Daur

5

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

Thomas HEATH

u

Lodger

21

Cotton Doubler

Warrington, Lancs

Margaret FEARN

u

Lodger

25

Top Winder at Cotton Mill

Tideswell, Derbys

Dwelling: Bugsworth Basin

William BARNES

m

Head

59

Lime Burner

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Grace

m

Wife

51

 

Chinley, Derbys

Joe

u

Son

13

Labourer at Lime Burner Kiln

Bugsworth, Derbys

James

 

Son

10

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

Edwin

 

Son

8

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

Maria CRESWELL

 

G Daur

4

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

Dwelling: Navigation

Hannah HALL

w

Head

65

Inn Keeper & Farmer of 24 acres

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Matthew

u

Son

27

Farm Labourer

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Mary

u

G Daur

15

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

Joe

u

G Son

13

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

Francis J JACKSON

m

S in L

26

Farm Labourer Indr

Bugsworth, Derbys

Ann

m

Daur

38

 

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

John HARRISON

w

Boarder1

65

General Labourer

Westerton, Lancs

Dwelling: Parsonage House

James COTTERSLEY

m

Head

37

Curate in Charge of Bugsworth2

Kersley, Lancs

Eliza

m

Wife

37

 

Darlington, Durham

Sarah A PLANT

u

Serv

28

Domestic Servant

Bugsworth, Derbys

Martha FURNESS

u

Serv

16

Domestic Servant

Bakewell, Derbys

Dwelling: Bugsworth Hall

William ELLIS

m

Head

35

Farmer of 112 acres

Bugsworth, Derbys

Harriet

m

Wife

34

 

Hope, Derbys

Kesyea POTS3

u

S Daur

10

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

Joseph S ELLIS

 

Son

6

Scholar

Chinley, Derbys

Harry

 

Son

5

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

Frank

 

Son

11

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

John

 

Son

2

Scholar

Bugsworth, Derbys

Dwelling: Bugsworth Hall

John HULME

m

Head

49

Master Cotton Spinner

Stockport, Ches

Sarah

m

Wife

46

 

Glossop, Derbys

John

u

Son

19

Manager at Cotton Mill

Glossop, Derbys

Leila

u

Daur

18

School Teacher

Stockport, Ches

Frank A

 

Son

9

Scholar

Glossop, Derbys

Josiah

 

Son

7

Scholar

Glossop, Derbys

Ann KIRK

u

Serv

16

General Servant

Chapel-en-le-Frith, D

Dwelling: Bugsworth Hall Yard

Joseph KINNERSON

w

Head

53

Coal Carrier

Didsbury, Ches

Dwelling: Derby Knowl

Robinson MORRIS

m

Head

61

Sheep Dresser4

Spridlington, Lincs

Augusta

m

Wife

56

Dress Maker4

Medlane, Lincs

Endnotes

1. A Boarder is usually someone who has board and lodgings, which includes the provision of meals as well as accommodation, whereas a Lodger receives accommodation only in return for payment. Just how accurate the use of these terms was in a Census is not known.

2. A Curate is an assistant to a Parish Priest. In this case the Parish Priest or Rector would be based at Glossop.

3. William Ellis must have been the second husband of Harriet but her daughter, Kesyea, by her first husband is shown as being 12 months younger than Frank, her eldest son by her second husband. To be generous, this must mean that the children’s ages were given incorrectly on the Census Returns.

4. Making dresses and dressing sheep in one household should have been interesting.

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THE AMERICAN JAMES BRINDLEY (Part Two)

(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

The Revolutionary war ended in 1783, and now this fledgling nation called America was free to determine its own destiny. As life returned to normal, the focus turned to the development of trade and industry and with it came a renewed interest in the mobility of goods and people through inland navigation. At the time, most goods would be transported to market from the interior by dugout canoes, arks, flatboats, or keelboats, and rivers often proved treacherous. Many journeys involved navigating steep and dangerous waterfalls or rock-ridden rivers and terminated at the most convenient point, with goods being transferred to wagons in order to reach Eastern market towns. Often boats could only be used one way and were broken up and sold at the end of a journey, their owners using horses and carts to return home with supplies. These were long and arduous journeys, especially in winter.

The competition for trade amongst towns such as Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston became increasingly intense, and so it became critical to make routes less hazardous and more accessible. The early engineers faced special challenges such as the severe North East weather that froze rivers, waterfalls and marshes for several months each year. In addition, as a nation, they had never organized a large workforce for construction before and had difficulty finding skilled people and feeding and equipping them. Such was the harshness of conditions that many workers died during their first year. Keeping recruits disease free during the summer months and warm during the winter was a major challenge and the outbreak of Yellow Fever was commonplace.

Often projects relied on forced labour such as indentured English, Scottish, and Irish immigrants who were bought for the length of their indenture and purchased in cities such as Baltimore and Philadelphia. They were "sentenced" to hard labour alongside slaves and free men alike, and runaway workers became so frequent a problem that managers resorted to shaving heads and eyebrows weekly, so that deserters could easily be identified when on the run. Skills such as brick making techniques and the use of explosives for moving rocks were just emerging and most digging and excavation work was carried out by hand with picks and shovels. Paid workers were compensated by the inch and worked from dawn to dusk.

From Washington’s diaries and other source material, we are slowly learning more about the projects James worked on. Unfortunately, one early American historian (Darwin H. Stapleton) assessed his projects to have been a failure and later others merely repeated his observations blindly, although much of Stapleton’s research has since been called into question. However, from the outset there was distinctive animosity towards the need for foreign engineers. The lack of native expertise caused jealousy and resentment and the work of European engineers, William Weston (1753-1833) and Benjamin Latrobe (1764-1820) included, was criticised for being too expensive. This was because they valued durability and adhered to rigid standards of design and construction by insisting on masonry over timber.

Research has revealed that in the early days, individual shareholders privately funded the development of inland waterways and due to financial delinquency, many canal companies were established only to run out of money before projects could be completed. Costs were often badly underestimated by inexperienced management and we know that other prominent engineers faced similar financial problems on canal developments, often being forced to sell off company assets. Too few canal companies ever reached profitability, and later came competition for investment between the canals and the railroads. The railroads eventually won and thereafter many projects were cancelled with existing canals falling into neglect.

Thankfully, from historical documents recently discovered, we know that James was a successful engineer and did in fact prove his worth. From what we have learnt from surviving reference materials, James consulted or advised on the following projects:

The Susquehanna Canal, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
The Santee Canal, South Carolina.
The Little Falls, Virginia.
The Great Falls, Virginia.
The James River Project, Virginia.
The Potomac Canal, Maryland.
The Conewago Canal, Pennsylvania.
The Tulpehocken - Swatara Route, Pennsylvania.
The Swatara Canal, Pennsylvania.

Such was the demand for his services that, for several years, James was working on multiple projects and causing friction between himself and his employers. Irritation ran particularly high between the Conewago Canal Company and the Susquehanna Canal Company.

However on a positive note we learn from the History of York County that:

"One of the most notable events in the history of internal improvements in the State of Pennsylvania was the opening of a navigable canal around the Conewago Falls, on the west side of the Susquehanna River at the point, since the year 1814, known as York Haven. It was the first canal built in the State, and so far as definite records go, the first in the United States."

James was Chief Engineer on the Conewago Falls project from 1793 to 1798, and the undertaking was a tremendous success. Despite the inaccurate statement in the previous extract, The Conewago Canal Company was the last canal company to be chartered and was formed by prominent men of the day such as Robert Morris and David Rittenhouse.

The opening was celebrated on the 22nd of November 1797, and from the History of Lancaster County, we are told:

"A canal was built at a cost of one hundred and two thousand dollars, the locks alone having cost forty five thousand and two hundred dollars. James Brindley was chief engineer. The work was completed in November 1797. On the 27th of that month a committee of the Legislature and Dr. William Smith proceeded through the canal in flatboats to inspect the works. The formal opening was to be celebrated the afternoon of the same day when the Governor was to be present. Holes were drilled in the granite boulders to be used as a fire salute in honor of the event. The Governor and his attendants arrived unexpectedly on the eastern side of the river, in sleet and snow.

Boats were sent over to bring the distinguished party, and when they arrived a number of salutes were fired. When the part passed through the canal they met at its head, a number of keel-boats that came down from Middletown filled with people. When they returned to the foot of the canal five hundred people were there to receive the Governor and rejoice with him on the successful completion of this great work. There were two locks or chambers, eighty feet long and twelve feet wide. When the Governor and his party entered the lower chamber and the gates were closed behind them, all were astonished to find the boat raised to the level above in a few minutes."

In 1802, a letter from Thomas W. Francis requesting permission to charge a toll of $2 per boat provides an interesting glimpse into the financial problems that beset the Conewago Canal Company. Lack of funding was an inherent problem for most canal construction of the era. Francis, a shareholder and company treasurer was faced with trying to recover the $105,000 cost overrun, as it appears the original budget of $5,000 was proposed in 1789 by commissioners who had no experience of canal construction. They proposed to dig a sluice canal around the falls and let the water run through unchecked. The only technical research they did was to ask a local boatman, who assured them a 19-foot drop would present no problem. When work actually began on the canal, this approach was considered impractical because the water velocity would have undermined the canal wall and made navigation impossible. The maximum practical descent according to experts was 500:1 in the length to the drop, or 10.1 feet in 306 perches. The Conewago Falls descent was nearly double that and James measured the water velocity at a speed of 12-15 miles per hour, based on the timed descent of a raft at five minutes and large logs at four and a half minutes. Taking a boat in reverse would have been impossible.

The few times a boat was brought up the Conewago it required 30-40 men for most of the day at a cost of £5 or £6 and the process required jumping from rock to rock pulling the boat. The actions must have been humorous because locally these men were referred to as "blackbirds." Apparently, horses could not be used because of rocks and an uneven shoreline. The final cost of the canal was as follows:

Ground purchase and cutting of canal $56,726 Locks and regulating gates $45,274 Miscellaneous $17,000 Total Cost $119.000 Amount received from legislature $+14,000 Cost overrun $105,000

Compared to the lockkeeper’s $200 annual salary as listed in the same report, the shortfall can be placed into true perspective. A further extract from the History of York County written in 1886 states that:

"It was well constructed, the work being excellently done and the canal substantially built. The bricks used are still in excellent state of preservation, and are again being put to use by the paper-mill company, which is erecting works there. They were made from clay found in the vicinity, the pits being still visible. The canal when completed was about one mile long and contained substantial locks. It was finally completed in 1797. It was a great event to the interests of the interior of the State and became a great center of attraction."

Conewago Falls is located in Pennsylvania on the Susquehanna River, about fourteen miles above Wrights Ferry [near Middletown, Virginia] and near to the mouth of Swatara Creek. The Conewago Falls was an obstacle that, at the time, was described as: "A dangerous and great obstruction and bar to the wealth and population of the region, and an earlier examination by prominent civil engineers found them appalled at the magnitude of the work and means require to clear the channel."

Before the completion of the Conewago Canal, all goods travelling between Philadelphia and its northern settlements had to be unloaded north of Middletown. The site of the canal is close to the now "infamous" Three Mile Island and a park next to the Pennsylvania Power and Light Company occupies the land. Some of the original canal bed can still be traced.

A drawing of the Conewago Canal by James Brindley (dated 1795) has recently been discovered at the New York Public Library and in December 2002, a replica was presented to the Brindley Mill Preservation Trust in Leek, Staffordshire.

We know that James was Manager of the Susquehanna Canal Company for several years and was responsible for providing navigation improvements to the Susquehanna River up to the state line. In March 1786, Washington wrote:

In the afternoon a Mr. Brindley, manager of the4Susquehanna canal and Mr. Hanes manager of the James River Navigation came in and stayed all night. James Brindley was a nephew of James Brindley 1716— 1772, the talented Englishman who had initiated the dry-land canal era in England in the I 760s under the auspices of the Duke of Bridgewater. Coming from the Susquehanna canal works Brindley and Harris took the great Falls in their way down, & both approve of the present line for our Canal, adding that, "no person in this country has more practical knowledge than Mr. Brindley"

Footnote: "Brindley was on his way to Richmond to consult and advise on the James River project and Washington hoped he would do the same for the Potomac project on his way back to the Susquehanna"

Earlier the same month, Samuel Purviance wrote:

I flatter myself that if the Susquehanna Canal is once completed, it will unite the views of Pennsylvania and Maryland in opening a communication between the waters of Susquehanna and the Allegeney, which is generally thought very practicable The Secretary of our Corporation of the Susqa Canal is now here, and informs me that Mr Brindley our engineer is now completed about two miles of the upper end of the canal, in which distance were included all the principal difficulties of that undertaking, and of which three Quarters of a mile were one continued & solid body of rock, thro part of which they had to cut about sixteen feet deep This being got over, there seems not a remaining doubt of our being able to effect the reside of our undertaking, most of which is not supposed to be not more difficult than an ordinary Mill race I shall be glad to learn that you find equal hopes of Success in the Potomac Scheme"

In conducting his survey of the Great Falls, James was said to be travelling with his "son-in-law’ and it is believed this man may be Peter Hanson, the husband of stepdaughter Mary Ogle. Having only wed seven years earlier, James’s own children would have been too young to be married. Mary Ogle and Peter Hanson were married at White Clay Creek, New Castle, Delaware.

Despite the fact that James surveyed The Falls at Washington’s request, and made meaningful recommendations, there is no evidence that the Potomac Company ever hired James other than as a consultant. It is likely that they tried, but his full-time obligations to the Susquehanna Company hardly allowed him to spend much time elsewhere. We know James was in Charleston consulting on the Santee project and creating detailed plans during the winter of 1786-1787. In a letter to George Washington, William Moutrie writes:

"Many of the Gentlemen who compose the Board of Directors for carrying the plan into execution, having the honour of being personally acquainted with you are induced to recommend that, endeavour be made to obtain Mr Brindley to superintend it (Santee Canal), if in your opinion you judged him capable of the undertaking it is said Mr Brindley was constantly with his Brother, (Uncle ?) while carrying out the Duke of Bridgewater’s Works & possessed great knowledge and abilities to begin right, is all in all with us the practicality of bringing it to perfection cannot admit of a doubt"

"However, the engagements that Mr Brindley may now have of the same kind, may possibly prevent him entering into a New One, yet if he could be spared only to inspect into the situation and to give his opinion and directions how to proceed, it may at least prevent us from beginning wrong, and we may be going on until he, or some equal be procured: the Board of Directors will cheerfully pay every expense that Mr. Brindley may be at, by coming here, exclusive of compensation."

As James arrived in Charlestown in December and left on March 17th 1787, it can only be assumed that he had spent his time creating engineering specifications for the Santee. Considered one of the crowning engineering achievements and economic development projects of its day, it was America’s first summit canal. Moultrie’s letter refers to the fact that James had other commitments but is still seeking his help, if only to "inspect the situation and to give his opinion and directions as to how to proceed". However, actual work on the canal was delayed until six years later in 1793 and it is unclear which engineering plan was actually used for the work.

Eventually, a highly unpopular Swede (dubbed dour and unfriendly by colleagues) named John Christian Senf (1753-1 806) completed the project. To construct it took seven years with 700 free and slave labourers working by hand with picks and shovels and, apparently, with white labourers dying "like flies" in the feverish Carolina summers. The finished canal permitted free movement of trade in and out of Charlestown and it was concluded at a cost of $650,667.14. When complete the canal was 22 miles long, 35 feet wide, and 5.6 feet deep.

In February 1791, James conducted a survey of the Tulpehocken-Swatara route on behalf of the Society for the Improvement of Roads and Internal Navigation, but what transpired on this project is unclear.

The last professional correspondence found to-date was written the year before his death and was a letter to Major William Wright and John Haldeman dated 30th January 1819. James was in the process of planning a canal, 55 miles long, from the Swatara River to the East coast. At the age of 74, he was still active in canal construction.

No will for James has been found but it is apparent from other evidence that, with a scarcity of trained engineers, James could have earned around £30O- to £4OO for consulting services. This was an enormous sum of money for a time when labourers earned as little as £2 per month for sixty hours a week working from sunrise to sunset. However, as other canal engineers experienced to their disadvantage, it was sometimes difficult to collect money due.

In correspondence recently uncovered in the archives of the New York Public Library, James complains of trying to recover money owed to him and discusses the needs of his large family, stating that he "doesn’t know how he will keep two of his children in school." He could have just been ‘pleading poverty" but one cannot help but draw a parallel between his situation and that of his uncle James who was owed money by the Duke of Bridgewater at the time of his death, leaving his widow to take the Duke to court.

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Click-to-Win Quiz Launched by Waterway Recovery Group 

Waterway Recovery Group (WRG) has launched a restoration quiz on its award winning website. The quiz, which is free to enter, will run from April until August 2003, with monthly cash prizes of £25.00 awarded to the winner. Well-known quizmasters from around the waterways scene will set the questions each month; legendary midlands quizmaster Tim Burgin has devised the first quiz. Anybody can enter. This month it will be a general-knowledge based quiz and subsequent months will be all about waterways restoration work. The quiz is part of a package of events and activities taking place this summer across the UK, and on the Internet, to promote IWA's fundraising appeal The Right Tool for the Right Job. IWA aims to raise £75,000 by the end of Summer 2003 to equip Waterway Recovery Group's volunteers for future canal restoration work. Mike Palmer, WRG Chairman said "The Right Tool for the Right Job appeal announced by The Inland Waterways Association is absolutely vital for Waterway Recovery Group, as it should provide us with the necessary tools and equipment to continue waterway restoration work, so we are doing everything we can to support the appeal. This quiz seems an ideal way of raising awareness in a fun way" Anyone interested in entering the quiz should visit www.wrg.org.uk

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William Pitt Dixon – Merchant and Bugsworth Lime Burner

by Peter J Whitehead

As a result of further research it can now be confirmed that the ‘William Litt Dixon’ of Albrighton Hall, Albrighton St Mary, Shropshire was, indeed, William Pitt Dixon, Merchant and Bugsworth Lime Burner, and that a transcription error had occurred on the 1881 census.

The details on his death certificate are as follows:

Registration District, Bakewell, Death in the Sub-district of Bakewell in the County of Derby.

When and where died: 26th September 1900, Thornbridge Cottage, Great Longstone.

Name and surname: William Pitt DIXON

Sex: Male

Age: 84 years

Occupation: Gentleman

Cause of death: Old Age, Heart Failure, Suddenly

Signature, description and residence of informant: Wm R Pitt Dixon in attendance. Thornbridge Cottage, Great Longstone

This death certificate shows that sometime after 1881 he moved to Thornbridge Cottage at Great Longstone. There could, of course, have been other moves between 1881 and 1900 of which we still have no knowledge. It also shows, as suspected, that the 12-year-old William Roger Pitt Dixon, boarding at Macclesfield Grammar School in 1881 was his son.

A successful search was made for his widow on the 1901 census and her details are as follows:

Great Longstone, Bakewell in the County of Derby

Piece RG 13/3263

Name

Relation to Head

Marital

Status

Age

Profession or Occupation

Where born

Martha F
DIXON

Head

Wid

64

Living on own means

Liverpool, Lancs

William R P
DIXON

Son

S

32

Living on own means

Liverpool, Lancs

Emma
WHITELIFFE

Sister

Wid

73

Living on own means

Liverpool, Lancs

Hannah J
BONSALL

 

S

23

House Maid Domestic

Chelmorton, Derbys

Sarah E
WALL

 

S

22

Cook Domestic

Little Longstone,
Derbys

The 1901 census return shows that William Pitt’s daughter, Martha Fletcher, and son, Herbert Bradshaw, had moved on while the unmarried, 32-year-old, William Roger Pitt was still at home, presumably living on the fruits of his father’s successful career as a merchant.

In her memoirs Mrs Martha Barnes of Bugsworth spoke of William Pitt Dixon as living down Dale Road at Dove Holes and it is quite credible that her statement was correct. Possibly William Pitt had another residence where he could stay whenever he made a business trip.

It is also interesting to note the occurrence of the name ‘Fletcher’ in his family in the context of a surname being used as a forename. This practice was very common in those days and it still occurs today. It was used to commemorate the mother’s surname, an antecedent or some respected family friend.

The use of this surname suggests that there might be a tenuous connection with Francis Fletcher, a limestone agent who lived at Park Lane, Chapel-en-le-Frith. Francis was born at Peak Forest in 1815/16 and he joined the Peak Forest Canal Company in 1824 when he was just 9-years-old. He made such good progress that his talents were recognised by the company. Eventually he was appointed as their limestone agent at Chapel-en-le-Frith, where he had overall responsibility for the company’s limestone quarries around Dove Holes and the Peak Forest Tramway. When the canal company became part of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company he went with it. He was such a well-respected servant of the company that when he eventually retired in 1894, aged 78 years, he was awarded a pension on his full pay of £125 per annum.


Albrighton Hall

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Brindley and Before by Jon Axe

Reproduced from The New Wych, Magazine of the Droitwich Canals Trust

On my trip to Leek I picked up a copy of Samuel Smile's 'James Brindley and the early engineers', first published in 1874. This and a few other books provided some interesting reading over the tail end of the year. Also on the 5th of January the day was given over to Simon Schama's 'History of Britain' on the UK History cable channel. This programme reinforced some of the argument that Samuel Smiles had presented.

In effect Smiles claimed that up until the dawn of the Industrial Revolution we were a technologically very backward nation, comparable with some of the least developed Third World countries of the present day. Our roads were the worst in Europe and where technology was required we had to import the skills from Europe. Smiles wrote the only thing we were good at was fighting. Watching the history programme this reinforced his argument. When not fighting among ourselves we had a go at the Scotts, Irish, French, Spanish, Americans and so forth. Of course wars

cost money and the English Civil War was all about the King versus Parliament arguing about paying for yet another military campaign. It was not so much a dispute about the autocracy of the King versus a democratic Parliament, more a question of who raised the taxes and wrote the cheques. Parliament was run by the elite class and was not very democratic. The franchise was not extended until the Duke of Wellington was in power and supported the idea with great reluctance. The source of wealth was not industry but from those who owned the land and raised the cash to support an opulent life style from those who worked it. Much the same principle applied when we began to expand around the world, building up an Empire.

What Smiles brought home to me was a picture of what a wretchedly backward and belligerent nation we were, grubbing an existence, wasting our resources on wars and not investing in improving our lot. It was the dawn of the Canal Age that provided the means to set the nation on a new course.

Our earlier history is very much the story of the "Haves' controlling the 'Have nots', getting them to do the work and fighting their battles to support, or gain a position of privilege. This dates back to the Norman Conquest, if not before.

With such a bloody history it is surprising that within a century we actually moved on to learning the business of creating wealth. Not that we gave up fighting as a national past time, particularly against the French, but instead of importing technology we began to develop our own people with skills and abilities., learning the business of creating wealth.

Perhaps it would be an exaggeration to describe James Brindley as a visionary, but he was a very able man and gifted the nation with a transport system that in time changed the whole course of our history. Without the canals the Industrial Revolution could not have gathered pace as it did. Brindley's work made many things possible, not least the expansion of industry and the development of large towns. The ability to move raw materials and goods over long distances cheaply, unlocked the potential for a huge expansion of commerce and industry.

Other changes were afoot and the opening up of colonies allowed us to export the dispossessed, particularly the Scots and Irish, but many of the English dispossessed moved from the land into the growing towns to supply labour for growing industry. It perhaps can be seen as a career opportunity for the wretched and landless, other than providing the fodder for another bloody battlefield. In a relatively short time we began to catch up with our more advanced continental neighbours and overhaul them.

Because large quantities of coal could be moved cheaply it began to make possible the development of steam power and to feed it voracious appetite. Carrying coal on pack horses over atrocious roads would have restricted the development of steam. Canal carrying solved many problems, not least that of feeding the growing numbers of workers attracted to the expanding towns.

Carl Chinn in his book 'ONE THOUSAND YEARS OF BRUM' gives praise to Matthew Boulton and James Watt, but neglects to mention their contemporary James Brindley. Boulton died in 1809, before steam railways made their emergence. Brindley provided these two great men with the means of transport for their goods and materials. Would Birmingham gain the reputation of 'The Workshop of the World' had it not been for the canals? Brindley was not a visionary, but he was the catalyst that set in motion the change that transformed us from being an agricultural nation into an industrial nation. Brindley's canals made possible the growth of capitalism based on manufacturing and the decline of the autocracy of the landed aristocracy.

I have a copy of the Readers Digest 'Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Britain'. Isambard Kingdom Brunel ranks a full page. James Brindley is not listed.

In the recent TV series the Hundred Greatest Britains, Isambard Kingdom Brunel came second. Interestingly, Winston Churchill, a warrior, came first, so perhaps some things have not changed. Sadly James Brindley did not get a mention. I can only think this is because canals seem low tech and not so exciting, commercially they have had their day as freight carriers and become just a modern play ground. Had we been more aware of the debt we owe to James Brindley and his canals he would have ranked in the top three. Dare I suggest that what James Brindley set in motion was the transformation we enjoy from serfs into citizens, something that perhaps he would not have envisaged.

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A Memorial to the late Cyril Boucher

by Peter J Whitehead

In April 2003 a ceremony was held adjacent to Marple aqueduct to unveil a memorial to the late Cyril Boucher. Befittingly, it is in the form of a plinth commemorating Marple aqueduct and locks.

In the winter of 1961/62 the offside of the aqueduct, by the left bank of the river Goyt, collapsed due to leaks in the puddle lining caused by the freeze/thaw action of cold weather. The initial reaction to this problem was that the aqueduct should be demolished but, following remonstrations by the public, and prominently by Cyril Boucher, it was agreed that this architectural and engineering gem must be saved.

Subsequently, interest grew in the possibility of restoring the derelict Lower Peak Forest and Ashton Canals and in 1966 the Inland Waterways Association held their National Rally at Marple to highlight the need for restoration of these two important waterways. As a result, the first boat to cross the repaired aqueduct did so on Saint George's Day, 1966.

Cyril became a stalwart of the restoration work and on the formation of the Peak Forest Canal Society he was appointed as the Honorary Consulting Engineer. In this capacity he did sterling work giving much needed technical advice as well as doing hands-on work. The successful result was the re-opening of the Lower Peak Forest and Ashton Canals on the 13th May 1974.

The memorial inscription to Cyril reads,

IN MEMORY OF
CYRIL T. G. BOUCHER
1910 - 1998
A PIONEER IN PRACTICAL
CANAL RESTORATION

The inscription is flanked on the left by the logo of the Inland Waterways Association and on the right by the logo of the Peak Forest Canal Society.

As a personal tribute to Cyril, I have reproduced here the first of three canal photographs he discovered among some archive documents he had acquired. The original photographs were about 15 inches wide and, as they had been rolled up for so many years, it was quite a delicate task to unravel them. Cyril approached me with these photographs in December 1979 with a request to unravel and restore them for him. I gingerly tried to examine them but quickly gave up as parts of the images began to flake off. I courageously said that I would see what I could do with them but that I could not guarantee the results. He agreed to my offer but before attempting any work I took advice from Chris Potter, a professional photographer and canal enthusiast.

He recommended that I would need some watercolours, not just black and white, but earth colours as well in order to match the sepia tone and fading. So, armed with a spotlight, watercolours, sable brushes, glue, fine tweezers and a magnifying glass, I set about the work over Christmas and New Year.

I gently unravelled one of the photographs and held it down on the dining room table with weights at each corner. I first glued down the flaking pieces of the image and then, in the manner of a jigsaw puzzle, I glued back as many loose pieces as possible. Lastly, I painted in the missing parts of the image after matching the shades by trial and error. When this work was completed to my satisfaction I repeated the process for the other two photographs. Then, on the 1st January 1980, I photographed my work using a camera fitted with a special lens for close-up work.

At the next meeting of the Peak Forest Canal Society, with some trepidation, I presented the restored photographs, and enlargements made from my negatives, to Cyril for his approval. I need not have worried for he was delighted with the results I had achieved for him.


The first of these photographs shows the narrow boat Alice at an unidentified location on the Bridgewater Canal.

Bottom Lock Change Bridge seen from the memorial to Cyril Boucher and framed by the Sheffield and Midland Railway Bridge (Marple and Romiley Line). The former Engineer Wharf is on the left just beyond the railway bridge.

Like Cyril Boucher, there were many contemporaries who also fought hard for the preservation of Marple Aqueduct. Notable amongst this group were Dr David Owen and undoubtably by no means least, the first Hon Secretary of the IWPS, the redoubtable Bessie Bunker. Editor

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News from the IWA

Chesterfield Canal

Seven years after Kiveton Park Colliery closed, Yorkshire Forward, the site owner, has submitted its plans for reclamation of the site to Rotherham Council and, to the great disappointment of waterway interests, no mention is made of the Chesterfield Canal.

Keith Ayling, chairman of Chesterfield Canal Trust has commented: "It is as if the years of discussions, meetings, surveys, presentations and public consultations about the site had simply not taken place."

Over the years, the Canal Trust has had the full support of the both Wales and Harthill Parish Councils, the local Community Development Trust, and local people - nearly 90% of local residents in a survey carried out by Yorkshire Forward agreed that the canal should be opened up through the colliery site. There is clearly. Keith Ayling added "There is strong local feeling that a restored

Chesterfield Canal should be the centrepiece of the site reclamation, but it is not mentioned in the proposal, not even as a future possibility."

Rotherham Council has invested considerable officer time and resources on the canal's restoration, and British Waterways drew up detailed plans for the site to accommodate the canal, by raising its level and opening out the collapsed Norwood tunnel, which passes across the site just below the surface. None of this is referred to in the application. It is not clear whether Yorkshire Forward's proposals accommodate future restoration of the canal, or whether the site will have to be re-excavated in future when funding allows, with the attendant massive disruption to an established facility that this will involve.

Yorkshire Forward's plan makes no mention of protecting a line for the canal in the future when finances allow for its restoration. The plan simply proposes grassing over the site with a pond and landscaping.

Chesterfield Canal Trust has asked for a meeting with interested bodies to allow Yorkshire Forward to explain their plans in more detail.

To date over £10 million has been spent on the restoration scheme, with over £4 million invested in Rotherham's section, due to take the restored canal up to the eastern portal of the closed Norwood Tunnel at Kiveton Park later in 2003.

Chesterfield Canal Trust is encouraging waterway supporters to visit Rotherham Planning Department at Bailey House, Rawmarsh Road, Rotherham, where the plans can be inspected (reference number RB 2002/1912) and to object to the plans. Letters should be sent to Head of Regeneration and Planning, Bailey House, Rawmarsh Road, Rotherham, S60 1TD. Email to bronwen.peace@rotherham.gov.uk 

The Chesterfield Canal Trust has strongly objected to these proposals until such time that it is assured that the canal, or its future restoration will be accommodated by the proposals. Further information is available from Keith Ayling, chairman of Chesterfield Canal Trust, 16 Pinchfield Lane Wickersley, Rotherham S66 1FD. 01709 700223. E-mail keith.ayling@virgin.net 

Appeal for Waterway Recovery Group

IWA launched its new appeal on behalf of the Waterway Recovery Group at the National Boat Caravan and Outdoor Show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on 17th February. 'The Right Tool for the Right Job' appeal aims to raise £75,000 for the purchase of a whole range of equipment. To support WRG's activities the 'shopping list' includes a variety of items, including a new minibus and dumper trucks to stone masonry tools, places on training courses and fridge freezers.

WRG is now in its 34th year, with an ambitious programme of work planned for the next few years. As the work undertaken by the volunteers becomes ever more technical, the need for new and more specialised equipment becomes paramount.

WRG work sites now resemble the complex construction projects that they are. This increase in scope brings associated costs; some of the money raised will be used to make their training programme available to more volunteers and to provide the specialised personal protection equipment that they need. WRG's planned work for 2003 is more machinery dependant than ever, and it will be much more cost effective if WRG can use its own equipment, such as cement mixers and generators, saving money that can be used elsewhere to progress restoration. This appeal will greatly help WRG continue to undertake the variety and quality of its restoration work.

Donations can be sent to: 'The Right Tool for the Right Job', IWA, PO Box 114, Rickmansworth WD3 1ZY.

The full 'Shopping List' includes:

1 Minibus
1 Catering Griddle
1 Six-seater Utility Van
2 Bricklaying Tool Kits
2 Dumper Trucks
2 Portable Concrete Mixers
1 Plant Trailer
2 Stone Masonry Tool Kits
1 Generator
3 Fridge Freezers
1 Lockable Tool Store
3 Burco water-boilers
2 Tirfor Hand-Winches
4 Lifting-strop Kits
2 Brick Saws
50 Training Courses
1 Digital Camera
100 Safety Helmets
200 Personal Protection Kits

Now, I wonder why they need all this new kit? See the editorial article on PUWER in the November 2002 issue of ‘174' - Ed.

Anderton Boat Lift

British Waterways has confirmed that charges to use Anderton Boat Lift will cease on 1st April, when the cost is absorbed into increased licence fees, but that there will remain a £5 charge to make an advance booking to use the lift at an agreed time. BW says that this £5 is only to cover administrative charges. The charges for use of the Ribble Link and of Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal will also cease on 1st April, but passages should still be booked, as before.

Caldon Canal

The Leek Partnership of the Market Towns Initiative has agreed a £9,000 grant towards a £20,000 study to look at improvements to the Leek Arm of the Caldon Canal, including restoration of the final length of the Arm back into the town of Leek. The study will also cover the identification of potential funding sources. At present, the Arm terminates just before an industrial estate on the outskirts of the town, leaving a rather unattractive walk for visiting boaters, and thereby deterring considerable potential trade. The grant follows lobbying by IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch, Caldon Canal Society and other local waterway interests and a jointly organised boat rally at the terminus of the Arm last year.

Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal

Private developers have published plans for a £300 million 'urban village' that would transform parts of Salford and restore the south-eastern end of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. The 'urban village' would be on the site once earmarked for the outdoor ski centre SnoWorld, which was abandoned last May, and which had potentially blighted restoration of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. The 'urban village' scheme would be centred on the restoration of the Canal and feature a Castlefield-style mix of canalside apartments, offices, bars and restaurants. The City Council appears to be supportive of the scheme in principle.

Sankey Canal (St Helens Canal)

During February, the first meeting of the St Helens Canal Steering Group took place following the personal intervention of the chairman of British Waterways, Dr George Greener, to bring the parties together. The steering group has been established to take forward restoration of the Sankey Canal and to investigate potential routes and construct a new link from the Sankey Canal to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The promoters perceive that the link to the connected waterway system would provide the economic outputs to make the restoration of the original canal more viable.

Halton, Warrington and St Helens Councils were represented, all being on the line of the Sankey, as was Knowsley, which only has an interest in one of the potential connecting routes. Representatives from British Waterways, the voluntary sector (including IWA) and Northwest Development Agency representative were also present and Lancashire County Council has indicated support.

British Waterways has produced a draft document to show the scope of a feasibility study, and is now determining the levels of support available from the local authorities to minimise the cost of the study.

A later report provided the following: Rainford Parish Council is giving its backing to proposals to link the Sankey Canal to the national canal system at Melling on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. A possible route would follow the course of the Rainford Brook out of St. Helens. This would allow boaters on the Sankey Canal an access to the national system, and would ease the problem of a rising water table in Rainford.

The parish council has submitted a report in support of the possible plans as part of the Sankey Now River Valley Initiative. The report expresses concern about the state of land drainage in the area and the high level of the brook during periods of heavy rain. The problem has occurred by the progressive erosion that is taking place on the farmlands of the whole area, and also because of the amount of building development that has taken place in Rainford since the war. The development of Holiday Moss as a landfill site and the effect this has had on the Randle Brook also had to be taken into consideration.

The proposals were originally promoted by the Sankey Canal Restoration Society, but are now receiving the active backing of the local district and metropolitan councils through which the Sankey Canal runs - St Helens, Warrington and Halton - and those on the route of the new link - West Lancashire and Knowsley. A steering group has been formed which includes the Society, the local authorities, BW, North West Development Agency and IWA.

Uttoxeter Canal

Waterway Recovery Group held a successful long working weekend in February to start clearance of the first lock on the Uttoxeter Canal. The first lock, which connects to the Caldon Canal at Froghall, and a mooring basin immediately below the lock, remained in use long after the rest of the Uttoxeter Canal closed, and a project has been launched to bring them back into use. Work is being undertaken by Waterway Recovery Group, supported by Caldon Canal Society and IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch.

The WRG work party cleared selected large trees and started excavation work; a wildlife survey is being undertaken before more substantial clearance work, which is planned to continue as part of a Canal Camp in the summer. As well as restoring additional waterway for boaters, the work will increase access for visitors on foot and is designed to improve the wildlife habitat.

Caldon Canal Society is investigating the possibility of full restoration of the Uttoxeter Canal, and in particular how the canal can be restored in a manner compatible with restoration of further parts of the Churnet Valley Railway, which was built over much of the line of the Canal in the 19th century.

Lancaster Canal

British Waterways has announced some of the findings of an Options Appraisal Study into the restoration of the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal. The study was funded by the Northwest

Development Agency, and carried out by Environmental Resources Management, on behalf of the Northern Reaches Restoration Group. The study identifies some of the main benefits:

* Creation of over 800 additional jobs.

* Additional tourist revenue of £21million per annum.

* Additional one million visitors per annum.

* Attraction of £45m private investment to the area.

* Bring 35 hectares of brown field land into use.

* Provide 620 residential units, 180 hotel beds, and 53,000 m2 of gross floor space in retail, leisure, business and industry.

* Introduce and promote biodiversity, including the creation of new wetland habitats.

The newly restored canal would also help to promote sport, recreation, arts trails, sustainable transport links, multi-user trails, and volunteer projects.

The report was commissioned to investigate the feasibility of restoring the final 141/2 mile (25km) Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal from Tewitfield, north of Carnforth, to Kendal. The Lancaster Canal was blocked in the 1960s by the construction of the M6 motorway, which severed the waterway in three places.

The study examined the feasibility of the restoration project in terms of engineering, funding, water resources, heritage, land and social and economic benefits. The entire project would cost just over £50 million, and could be achievable by 2008.

The next steps will involve assembling an appropriate funding package, resolving land issues and gaining planning permission.

At all three major blockages caused by the M6 motorway obstructions, the canal will be channelled under the motorway in a culvert. At Cinderbarrow Culvert, this will involve the installation of a new lock to lower the water level. At Spinney Culvert, the crossing will be brought south by several hundred metres to reduce the water level. At Crooklands Culvert, the canal will just be driven straight through on the existing line.

Local interest was demonstrated in the project at an open meeting at Kendal on 20th March, organised by IWA's North Lancs & Cumbria Branch, at which Debbie Lumb, BW Waterway Manager, and John Fletcher, IWA national chairman, gave a report on recent progress. Expecting a good turnout, the branch hired Kendal Town Hall for the occasion - and was not disappointed!

An audience of about 250 people turned out, including several regional and local authority councillors and senior officers. Amongst them were the leader of South Lakeland District Council, the Town Mayor of Kendal, BW's North West Region Director, the chairman of the recently set up Cumbria Rural Action Zone (RAZ) and a representative from English Heritage.

The Northern Reaches Restoration Group comprises of nine partners - The Lancaster Canal Trust, Lancashire County Council, Lancaster City Council, Cumbria County Council, South Lakeland District Council, Kendal Town Council, British Waterways, The Waterways Trust and IWA.

Liverpool Canal Link

British Waterways has been awarded a £393,000 grant from the Northwest Development Agency to complete final studies into the proposed Liverpool Canal Link.

British Waterways and urban regeneration company, Liverpool Vision, are making plans for a 700-metre link between the north and south docks. This would include a new section of canal across the Pier Head. This latest grant brings the total investment in the Link to £700,000. This will pay for detailed engineering design plans, an environmental impact assessment, site investigations, a water quality study, heritage and archaeological study and financial auditing. It will enable the pre-construction phase to be completed, and work could begin on site in 2004.

If planning consent is granted, the necessary land agreements put in place, and the £15 million cost can be raised, boats could be cruising from the end of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal into Albert Dock by 2005.

An independent study has indicated the new canal link could help create nearly 200 new jobs, attract 200,000 extra visitors and boost spending in the area by up to £3.8 million per annum.

Rochdale Canal

Michael Meacher MP, Environment Minister, conducted a formal opening ceremony for the Rochdale Canal on 28th March. The event, which was postponed from 2002, was held alongside the Canal next to Sandbrook Park, which was the location of one of the principle blockages that had to become overcome with the lottery-funded restoration work. Mr Meacher arrived at the site by boat at the junction of the A627(M) and Edinburgh Way.

Along with Failsworth Town Centre and the M62 motorway, the terminus roundabout of the A627(M) was a major engineering challenge for the restoration. The solution to the significant 250-metre blockage involved putting the canal in a tunnel, lifting the junction by up to two metres and converting the roundabout into a sophisticated crossroads and traffic light system that could deal more efficiently with greater volumes of traffic.

The south eastern 151/2 miles section of the Canal was restored with lottery and regional development funding, thus completing the re-opening of the 32-mile Canal from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge. The restoration included 24 new locks and 12 new road bridges. Benefits from the work are already become apparent along the canal corridor.

Originally opened in 1804, the canal fell into disrepair with the decline of freight traffic and was closed in 1952. The Canal was fully re-opened to boats in July 2002, and since that time, BW has been undertaking finishing works and dealing with snags identified by users of the waterway.

As part of the ceremony, the Minister planted some floating water plantain in a special in-channel nature reserve. Much of the Rochdale Canal has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the presence of this rare plant, which has flourished in the abandoned waterway. British Waterways is the lead partner under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for floating water plantain.

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