The Inland Waterways Protection Society Ltd 

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Newsletter "174" November 2002


Bugsworth Basin Report Extracts from 1881 Census
Editorial Tractor Fund Sales Offers
Postbag Tractor Appeal Fund Canal Rage
News from the IWA
Book Review
The Tramroad & 'Chuckling Joe'
what does it mean?
Waterhouses Locks
on the Hollinwood Branch
Pete Yearsley's walks reports
Calder and Hebble Chesterfield Canal North to Scotland Manisty Mudness
Walks 2004 Portobello Engineering Trafalgar Marine Services
IWA Press Releases

This photograph taken in 1982 shows wagon 174, the only one surviving from the Peak Forest Tramway, as it was then displayed in the National Railway Museum in York.
Photograph: Jack Brady

Bugsworth Basin Report

by Ian Edgar MBE   -     Chairman and Hon Site Manager

This report our readers will find is much more optimistic for at last all the exploratory investigations are almost complete and the remedial solutions to the leakage problems at Bugsworth Basin are well on the way to decision. Furthermore the funding is now almost in place and it is now all systems go!

Now we have had such euphoria and elation before, only to be let down with a thump. Bugsworth Basin has a habit of hitting back at us volunteers. Over the years we have had many reasons to be very pleased with ourselves only to be disappointed to the point sometimes of despair. But now I think it is different. We have good cause to be optimistic and I for one can see that all those years of hard work are coming to fruition and we will have Bugsworth Basin open again in Spring 2004!

So what is different this time? Well this time we have British Waterways input. BW have engaged consultants with the best brains in the business to get heads together with their own very experienced engineers to decide what must be done once and for all. This is no longer a bunch of knowledgeable amateurs fighting against the tide of adversity trying to solve a problem which only money and the experts could possibly solve. That is not to say we as volunteers are not needed. We most certainly are. British Waterways acknowledge this. To achieve a satisfactory conclusion to the restoration IWPS are working closely with BW and the Consultants, Mott Macdonald, contributing our local knowledge built up over the years.

At the end of October contractors arrived on site to place dams across the Main Line by Bridge 59 and across the Lower Basin Arm to conduct detailed stillage tests. To 'arrive on site' may seem a simple term. Not so for there are a whole multitude of arrangements which must be made - Health & Safety requirements, workers facilities on site, checking of bridges for weight loadings of incoming traffic and machines, protection of the monument etc. etc.. Many different regulatory bodies have to be consulted and permission obtained and not just English Heritage. IWPS personnel have to be involved in all this and this is now down to myself, Don Baines, Mike Malzard and Alan Findlow who has the onerous responsibility for all matters archaeological on site. The four of us, working alongside the professionals, are going to have to work many hours, on site and off, week-days and week-ends to see this job through. Thank goodness we have such stalwart support for as I keep saying this now is 'crunch time'.

Along with the coffer dams for the stillage trials work has started digging test pits at various points on the site to determine the ground conditions in advance of the main works.  This activity is being closely monitored by Alan Findlow and two archaeologists from British Waterways.

The main work is scheduled to mobilise 24th February 2003 with construction starting early April 2003 lasting approx. 180 days. Application for consent for the work is now with English Heritage and funding and the whole timetable for works following depends on that consent coming on time. The IWPS has an excellent relationship with English Heritage and we foresee no problems.

Elsewhere on site we are taking advantage of an unexpected source of funding from our old friends at The Mersey Basin Trust who have made funds available from earlier in the year which we had previously thought lost. Previous work had been done at less than budget and now the balance can be spent as long as the work is done and invoiced before the end of November. Consequently some more wall repairs are being undertaken throughout the whole site, railings are being repaired and repainted and some tidy up work at the head of navigation, postponed from last year due to lack of funds, will be done.

As the voluntary input to this funding from the Mersey Basin Trust a small group of our regular workers will replace the rotted handrails and posts on Bridges 58 and 59 following re-decking of these bridges last year. They will then have to be repainted. All painting throughout the site will be to the traditional Peak Forest Canal black and white design.

Work continues on the fitting out of our new Exhibition Container which will have to be completed by Spring 2003 so we are looking for any assistance we can get with graphics, design etc. Please contact me if you can help. As reported in the last '174' this fitting out is being funded by a National Lottery 'Awards for All' Grant which will also fund a new leaflet being produced professionally. This leaflet will be aimed at the 'tourist' and 'visitor' market, will be in full colour and offered free of charge. It is not intended to replace the numerous informative leaflets the Society offers for sale either by mail order or from the shop in Blackbrook House at the Basin.

We are indebted to Chinley, Buxworth and Brownside Parish Council for a most generous donation of £140 towards the cost of maintenance at the Basin. Volunteers efforts have been directed at not only keeping our own leased or owned land in good order but we have spread into areas which needed some 'tidying up' to give an overall better impression of Buxworth. In an indirect way, this will show what an excellent village it is and encourage grant making bodies to give us more money. Parish Councils do not have a great deal of money to give out and we will ensure this is well spent. A regular dialogue continues with the Parish Council and it is hoped that co-operation will continue and indeed increase for our mutual benefit. The Parish Council does, of course, pay for the County Council to regularly mow the 'village green' opposite the Navigation Inn and this area is always pristine. We try to keep the other areas of grass throughout the Basin as well kept but our areas are perhaps 20 times as large and we have only one small tractor mower until more funds are available to get an additional machine!

Planning is now in hand to deal with the other major area of concern which is the Upper Basin where the wharf walls are unsupported due to the rotting of timbers within the structure. There are several areas where stonework has already collapsed. Reopening and consequent boat activity following the solving of the leakage problem Spring 2004 would only lead to more collapses which would then mean the isolation of the Upper Basin for safety reasons. We are in consultation with English Heritage as to the best way of solving this problem but initially we have costed repair at between £40,000 and £50,000 depending on the method selected and the amount of archaeological recording required. It is planned that this work be undertaken at the same time as the major leak repairs in the Entrance Basin and Lower Basin Arm etc. Both sites are separate and will be managed in different ways. An application is being made to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. We have confirmation that the work does qualify and funding will depend (as always) on how well we present our case. Tests reveal there are unlikely to be leaks from the Upper or Middle Basin and indeed we may be having a gain in water due to several small feeds in these areas.

My thanks again are directed at just a small number of dedicated volunteers who continue to put a great deal of effort and commitment in to the work of the Society. For the coming year I can offer no respite. It seems that the same few are going to be even more pressed as contractors move on site. Unless of course there are some of our members who will commit themselves to the final 'home run' which will get the boats back in to Bugsworth Basin. If you were not in at the beginning, or even during the 'slog' years, you are still welcome to be in at the end. How about it? Give me a ring anytime!

Guide Leaflet Boxes at Whaley Bridge and Buxworth Basin

We shall shortly erect strong steel boxes at (a) the facility block at Whaley Bridge by courtesy of BW, and at Blackbrook House. Visitors will be able, with their British Waterways key. to access the box, take a free leaflet on Bugsworth Basin and hopefully leave a small (or large?) donation in a separate locked box. This is just one further way of cheaply spreading the word about Bugsworth Basin and hopefully get in some funds. Because of the need for a BW Key we will be aiming for boaters and not the general public but, especially in the boating season, this will mean a large number of people who will want information on the basin which is presently not being provided other than at Blackbrook House every other weekend.

For this idea I am indebted to our friends at The Macclesfield Canal Society who have had similar boxes at Hall Green and Marple for some time. The Society even provided me with the drawings for which I am very grateful.

The boxes have been made, as a donation, by Portobello Engineering at Chapel-en-le-Frith and a fine job they have made too. If any of our readers want any structural engineering work undertaken then we can recommend them! My sincere thanks to Director Hal Debes for his most generous gesture in providing the boxes for the benefit of IWPS Ltd.

Derbyshire Building Society

We are indebted to The Derbyshire Building Society for sponsoring the re-print of 2000 copies of the Bugsworth Basin Guide which is on sale by mail order, the shop at Blackbrook House or New Mills Heritage Centre, for £1. The generous sponsorship means that almost all the £1 paid for the guide goes eventually via The Peak Forest Canal Co. Ltd. in to the Restoration Fund following a further 28% as a result of a Gift Aid agreement. The latest re-print has been updated and is available from me to our readers for just £1 including postage.


A strange heading I hear you say. It stands for Wild on Waterways. But what is it all about and how does it affect us?

In these days of massive waterway restoration we have seen some fantastic canals re-opened as through routes. Examples are the Huddersfield, the Rochdale and the Forth and Clyde. By their very nature all the above originally served industrial areas via a scenic water route through countryside of great beauty. It is those 'country' areas we all like to cruise. Some of us, who are real canal enthusiasts see the industrial areas, generally at each end of a 'through' waterway as attractive in their own way and which were the reasons why canals existed at all. However it is fair to say that most boaters, and particularly hirers do not find those areas attractive and certainly will be put off cruising the inner city waterways if there is a chance of any form of 'hassle' whether it be from the yob culture, safety of one’s person or boat etc. etc.

British Waterways have long known of this problem and offer escorts through the worst areas - my own experiences being on the Leeds & Liverpool at both ends - and that for a canal which was never closed and derelict. Even so precious few boaters venture in to such areas and I believe it is only a matter of time, if nothing is done, for those stretches to deteriorate through little use, BW writing them off as a bad job and going backwards to what they were before the new 'Canal Age'. Without 'through' routes and 'rings' which have to include the risky 'hazard' lengths the system will lose a great deal of its appeal for the long time boater intent on using the complete system as well as the hirers. The only trouble I had on the L&L was actually in a non-escorted section when a large rock came from nowhere, making a lot of noise but fortunately no damage to boat or person. The perpetrator(s) could not be seen.

My other concern is that there will be a day of reckoning when somebody, somewhere will look at what has happened to those canals which have had millions of pounds poured (literally) in to them and will want to see 'benefits'. Those 'benefits' will not be there if the hazard areas show little use, and a downward spiral into disuse. Then the powers that be will question why put more money in to through routes. It could be that canals which are looking for money now or in the very near future (like the Cotswolds Canals which I suspect have no hazard lengths) will find it even more difficult to get large scale funding because of the blight placed on canals by those restored much earlier with 'benefits' far below the expectations or forecasts of those who promoted their restoration.

We can all sit back and accept the situation and say nothing can be done. We have the yob culture and we must live with it. But do we? Surely we can try to alleviate the situation? That is where WOW comes in. It may be a small scheme doomed to failure. It may take off. WOW is asking for £5 per month to fund a scheme to educate youth on canals but primarily along the hazard canals. My first reaction on reading this was 'no chance' - the malaise is now so established it would take millions of pounds to turn it round so that the minority of youngsters (and it is a minority) that are causing all the hazards can be converted. In my view this is a brave try worthy of support but at £60 a year to participate may exclude many who feel that is either too much or just cannot afford that amount. After all, the Membership Subscription to IWPS is only £4 per year and you get '174' quarterly and can see some tangible result in the restoration at Bugsworth. I would have thought it better to pitch the supporter fee lower and get more supporters but then that is a matter of opinion. I for one wish WOW well.

WOW is a partnership between the Inland Waterways Association, The Waterways Trust and British Waterways. For further information visit or write to The Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, CH65 4FW for a leaflet.

Ian Edgar MBE

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Editorial by Don Baines

Health and Safety Matters

We have always been safety conscious at Bugsworth. I remember, when I first arrived on site in 1979, the late Mavis Whitehead making sure volunteers were always ‘signed in’ on working days and any injury, no matter how minor, was duly recorded in the Accident Book. Later, as the Health and Safety Act came into being we monitored its progress and in particular its application to volunteer societies. It soon became obvious that, just like any company or organisation, we too were required to conform to the Act’s requirements. It was for this reason, and the fact that I had been through the pain of taking the laboratories I was then in charge of through their assessment, that I was reasonably well prepared to do the same for Bugsworth. Together with Ian Edgar and the help of Brian Haskins, then with British Waterways, I composed the two documents on H & S and COSHH requirements, and prepared Risk Assessments covering all of our activities. The first editions of these two documents, published as A5 size booklets, were issued to all ‘on-site’ working volunteers in 1998, as have the two subsequent revisions.

Earlier this year I had a conversation with Jon Axe, who organizes "the Muck and Shovel Brigades" for the Droitwich and Lapal Canal Trusts, on the subject and later presenting him with a copy of our booklets. A short time later he came back to me for permission to use our H&S booklets for their volunteer working groups, " seeing as we had covered pretty well everything they did and it would save them a lot of time and effort." What a nice compliment! Subsequent to Jon’s request I have been asked by Mike Woodhead (newly-appointed Volunteer Co-ordinator at the Waterways Trust and former Bugsworth volunteer) to send him copies and a set to David Bell at BW. Of course they wanted an "e-version" e-mailed to them! As I normally work in WordPerfect (a far superior word processor to most other brands including Word) this presented a bit of a problem seeing as they use Word which cannot import and convert WordPerfect files. No problem; open WordPerfect, open the document and immediately save by clicking "Publish to PDF" which converts the file to .pdf format readable by anybody with Acrobat Reader loaded. So, any IWPS member who wants an electronic version of the Health and Safety booklets, send me an e-mail.

What surprised me, whilst reading through the magazines of other canal restoration societies, is the number of them only just getting to grips with the subject and looking for volunteers to do the job. Best of luck to them, it’s a big task but an entirely essential one.


What the devil is PUWER? You might well ask. It stands for "Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998." Apparently, this regulation which came into force in 1998 has had a concession allowing four years grace to enable organisations, companies etc to comply and which expires on the 5th December 2002. Incredibly it is only now in September 2002 that WRG (plant) has chosen to circulate its own groups and canal societies with this startling revelation. What does it mean to IWPS?

PUWER applies to all work equipment from hand tools to heavy presses and requires that "work equipment is so constructed or adapted as to be suitable for the purpose for which it is used or provided", "it is maintained in good repair," "is inspected regularly and so recorded," etc. etc.

The most important implication of the regulations for the IWPS is the requirement that mobile work equipment, for example dumpers and tractor mowers, are fitted with ROPS (Roll Over Protection Systems) where there is a significant risk that the equipment can roll over trapping the driver. ROPS can be a complete cab or a relatively simple roll bar so designed as to limit the machine to rolling onto its side and not completely overturning. Further, if a ROPS is installed then a seat belt must also be fitted to prevent the driver being thrown out and crushed by the roll bar!

As a result WRG has, with the sole exception of an excavator, withdrawn its entire fleet of dumpers etc. from service until such a time as they are replaced or modified accordingly. How are they to fulfil their commitments to next year’s work programme without them or at what cost if they hire in?

Fortunately, the IWPS does not have any WRG equipment on loan and since we have only one dumper and a tractor mower in service we can adopt a more pragmatic approach to the problem. Consequently, many hours have been spent studying PUWER 1998, HSE information sheets and HSE’s interpretation advice circulated to Local Authorities.

The words "where there is a significant risk that the equipment can roll over" are of great importance in assessing whether or not we too have to go into panic mode and withdraw our equipment from service at such short notice. The answer is, of course, that, no, we don’t have to. We can show that we have conducted a risk assessment in accordance with the Health and Safety Act and concluded that, since Bugsworth Basin is almost entirely made up of flat, smooth grassed areas, well made roads and towpaths, and that the machines are not operated on steep slopes outside their design specification, there is minimal risk of roll-overs occurring. There is, however, one significant risk we have considered and that is the danger of a dumper or mower finishing up in the canal due to skidding or the wharf edge wall collapsing. There is a clause in PUWER 1998 which says that if the fitting of ROPS and seatbelts significantly increases the risk to the operator then they need not be fitted. Personally, as one who spends a lot of time driving the tractor mower often along the towpath and wharf edges, I don’t like the idea of being strapped in should me and the machine finish up in the cut. We have well documented procedures in place controlling the use of this equipment and we feel we have the situation well covered.

Of course, the replacement of this equipment is another matter. There are much more strictly applied requirements for compact dumpers than for ride-on mowers and should we replace our dumper then it would be one with ROPS fitted. Replacing or supplementing the tractor mower is another problem - even new machines, of the size and type we use, are not supplied with ROPS nor are they offered as optional extras. Since we are presently pursuing the acquisition of a new mower I have entered into correspondence with the potential suppliers regarding this subject and eagerly await their responses. Watch this space.

PS - received the first reply from a leading supplier of tractor mowers - totally ignored my question about ROPS - sent a catalogue - No ROPS on offer.

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The following piece reprinted from THE SUN, Monday September 9, 2002, shows another frightening aspect of canal related Health and Safety:


Gun attack for 'speeding'

A cruiser skipper was shot in a canal rage attack because he was "speeding" at 2mph. John Wootton was hit in the leg by an airgun pellet fired from another craft.

Marksman Chris Sale, 47, went overboard when the cruiser passed his narrowboat home, a court heard. He thought holidaymaker Mr Wootton and his family were going too fast - and hurled abuse while gesticulating wildly.

Then he picked up the air rifle and let fly on the Trent and Mersey Canal near Stafford.

Prosecutor Vivienne Starkie told local JPs: "Mr Wootton ignored the abuse and increased speed once he was past the three moored narrowboats. He felt what he thought was a slap on the thigh. He had been shot with an air rifle.

Mr Wootton, from Berkshire, was with his wife and three sons, aged between eight and 14. He told police he was doing one to two mph. Sale, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, told cops he fired in the "general direction" of the cruiser.

Richard Scholes, defending, said: "The cruiser was travelling faster than 2mph. It caused Sale's boat to rock violently. He decided to warn Mr Wootton his behaviour was unacceptable. He accepts it was foolish".

Sale admitted common assault and was given a 12month community rehabilitation order. He must pay £75 to Mr Wootton, who was bruised.

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The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) announced that IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch has won the Association's annual Branch Achievement Award for the branch's work in 2001. Richard Drake, IWA National Chairman, presented the award to Julie Arnold, Chairman of IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch at the Association's recent Annual General Meeting, which was held in Chester. IWA's Stoke-on-Trent Branch received the award for its outstanding work. In 2001, the branch organised a boat gathering in conjunction with the 'canal town' Stone to mark the town's 750th anniversary of its market charter. The branch also attended many other events with the branch sales and display stand. The award judges were also mindful that the branch had jointly organised a successful gathering at Leek earlier this year to campaign for the Leek Arm of the Caldon Canal to be restored in the centre of the town. The branch has also raised the awareness of navigation matters on the Caldon Canal, Trent & Mersey Canal and Macclesfield Canal and works closely with the local canal societies to further this work.

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Tractor Appeal Fund

Further to our Chairman’s appeal for donations of unwanted equipment etc, to the Tractor Appeal Fund, I have the following to offer:

For Sale

One used electric Flymo, Model DLE 900 watt. Donated by IWPS member, Ernie Brame, the machine, described as having had one careful owner, is in good working order and comes complete with tools and accessories (even the Instruction Sheet is included).

£20 only
secures this good buy.
Can be seen in the IWPS shop at Bugsworth Basin

I still have an IBM PS2 (386) Personal Computer available for anyone who wants a simple machine to use for word processing or doing those simple accounts. This too is in good working order and comes complete with colour monitor, keyboard and mouse. Must be worth £50 (o n o) to help this good cause.

Contact either Ian Edgar or myself about these items.

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Copy for Newsletters - Please note that the deadline for publishing the next newsletter is 1st October 2002 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" 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 or graphics, to me at

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Continuing the theme of restoring the Cromford and High Peak Railway as a means of transporting boats from Whaley Bridge to Cromford (or the return) I received the follow-up from Michael Handford:

"....Thanks for printing my challenge over the Cromford and High Peak Railway.

Your son-in-law’s father is missing the point and getting involved in the detail before examining the principle. No-one doubts the major technical difficulties but he says the videos ‘show just how difficult it was to operate’. Exactly. Does it have to be rebuilt incorporating the same obstacles or have we moved on since then? Does it have to be steam? Can inclines be made longer? Can curves be less tight? Of course they can!

O ye of little faith. Incidentally I think it’s ‘crackers’ to restore the Rochdale Canal. Think of all the obstacles - a supermarket, two motorways and a mile and a half of solid concrete in/across the bed plus over ninety locks and a huge sum to restore it.

It is easy to look at now and miss a bit of imaginative/lateral thinking.

Good job we had Aickman and didn’t rely on those who said restoration of canals was ‘crackers’!....."

Support for Michael’s vision also came from Allan Pickering, editor of "Buoys Own" (magazine of Black Buoy Cruising Club) who printed the following article in the September issue:


'ONE SEVEN FOUR' (The magazine of the Inland Waterways Protection Society Ltd.) always carries interesting articles usually to do with happenings in the Peak Forest District. The August issue runs true to form and I have put a copy in the Clubhouse for other members to read. The following information is taken from this issue. Ed.

Michael Handford writes to suggest that the restoration of the Cromford and High Peak Railway, and its subsequent use to transfer boats from Whaley Bridge to Cromford, is not so far fetched as it at first seems. He cites other restoration schemes which were considered impossible a few years ago but which are now either accomplished or well on the way to being accomplished. It would be a daunting task as the following facts demonstrate :_

The railway was opened in 1831 and was 33 miles long.

The line included 9 inclined planes up which wagons were hauled by stationary steam engines.

The above enabled the railway to climb from the valleys of the Rivers Derwent and Goyt to the southern uplands of the Peak District 1266 ft. above sea level.

Hopton incline of 1 in 14 was the steepest adhesion worked gradient to be worked by steam locomotives in the British Isles.

5. There were many tight turns, one of which at Gotham swung through almost 90 degrees on a radius of 55 yards.

The scheme seems impossible but so did the restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, The Kennet and Avon Canal, The Chesterfield and many others.

As Michael says, remembering 'South Pacific', "if you don't have a dream, how you going to have a dream come true ?"

Having just descended the incline from Middleton Top, a train of narrowboats is shunted into position alongside the restored Cromford Canal ready for relaunching.
Who knows? Stranger things have happened!
Original photo, Derrick Joanes

Don Baines - Editor 174

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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
Edward ROULEY m Head 52 Coal Miner Whaley Bridge, D
Sarah m Wife 43   Bugsworth, Derbys
Joseph u Son 19 Coal Miner Bugsworth, Derbys
Anna u Daur 17 Cotton Weaver Bugsworth, Derbys
Mary u Daur 15 Cotton Weaver Bugsworth, Derbys
James u Son 12 Scholar Bugsworth, Derbys
Sarah C   Daur 2   Bugsworth, Derbys
Dwelling: Bugsworth Basin
George PEARSON m Head 55 Grocer and Draper Taxel, Cheshire
Ann m Wife 53   Combs, Derbys
John u Son 20 Quarryman Bugsworth, Derbys
Elizabeth u Daur 18 Assistant in Shop Bugsworth, Derbys
George u Son 16 Assistant in Shop Bugsworth, Derbys
Henry u Son 12 Scholar Bugsworth, Derbys
Dwelling: Bugsworth Basin
Thomas BARBER m Head 42 General Labourer Bugsworth, Derbys
Hannah m Wife 43   Bugsworth, Derbys
John KIRK u Stp son 22 General Labourer Bugsworth, Derbys
Mary BARBER u Daur 17 General Servant Bugsworth, Derbys
Ann u Daur 15 Cotton Weaver Bugsworth, Derbys
Charles   Son 12 General Labourer Bugsworth, Derbys
Joseph   Son 9 Scholar Bugsworth, Derbys
?Salay   Daur 7 Scholar Bugsworth, Derbys
Martha   Daur 5 Scholar Bugsworth, Derbys
Dwelling: Bulls Head
Anthony CARRINGTON1 m Head 41 Licensed Victualler Chapel-en-le-Frith 
Nancy m Wife 41   Fernilee, Derbys
Jane u Daur 17 Work at Home Dom Servant Bugsworth, Derbys
Ann u Daur 15 Work at Home Dom Servant Bugsworth, Derbys
Anthony u Son 13 Scholar Bugsworth, Derbys
James   Son 10 Scholar Bugsworth, Derbys
Ellen   Daur 8 Scholar Bugsworth, Derbys
Ralph C   Son 7 Scholar Bugsworth, Derbys
John   Son 5 Scholar Bugsworth, Derbys
Mary   Daur 3 Scholar Bugsworth, Derbys
Abner ARDERN u Other2 15 Ag Labourer & Wagoner3 Bugsworth, Derbys
Dwelling: Bugsworth Basin
James HARTLEY m Head 40 Labourer at Lime Burner Kiln Ireland
Rachel m Wife 52   Chinley, Derbys
George Bennet u Stp Son 22 Coal Miner Chapel-en-le-Frith, D
John u Stp Son 17 Coal Miner Chapel-en-le-Frith, D
Dwelling: More Gate
Joshua PRESTWICK5 m Head 49 Boat Man (Blank)
Elizabeth m Wife 49   Horwich End, Derbys
John W u Son 22 Boat Man Bugsworth, Derbys
Hannah u Daur 20 Cotton Weaver Bugsworth, Derbys
Joseph u Son 18 Boat Man Bugsworth, Derbys
Mary u Daur 16 Cotton Weaver Furness Vale, Derbys
Jane u Daur 10 Scholar Whaley Bridge, Chesh4


1 Anthony Carrington and his children were collateral antecedents of Lord Carrington (1919 - ). Rt Hon the Lord Carrington held several high Offices of State during his outstanding career as a Statesman, including First Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for Defence and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. In 1983 he was appointed Secretary General of NATO, a post he held until 1988.

2 It is not clear what ‘Other’ means here. The words ‘Boarder’, ‘Lodger’ or ‘Visitor’ were often used in this context even when the person concerned was related to the head of the household. ‘Boarder’ or ‘Lodger’ were also used to describe an orphaned relative who had been taken in by an Aunt or Uncle.

3 The term ‘Wagoner’ could here refer to Abner Ardern being a Wagoner on the Peak Forest Tramway. Apprentices working on the tramway were colloquially known as ‘Nippers’ even though this term was in widespread use to describe any boy or youth.

4 Curiously, Whaley Bridge is most often quoted as being in Derbyshire but occasionally it is quoted as being in Cheshire. Apparently at one stage in its history it was in Cheshire.

5 This surname is probably ‘Prestwich’.

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BOOK REVIEW by Derek Brumhead


As a contribution to the New Mills Festival in September, Robin Allan gave a talk on the Derbyshire author Crichton Porteous, who has written novels and guide books about the Peak District. One of these books, a biography published in 1954, is about a character who lived all his life in and around Chapel-en-le-Frith, called 'Chuckling Joe,' born in 1873 and died about 1949. Robin had brought some of the books for display and 'Chuckling Joe' was the first -and only - one I picked up. The pages fell open at a chapter called 'The Tramroad', which turned out to be a description of the working of the Peak Forest Tramway and its incline at Chapel. However, the description, although of interesting detail, is very odd in that it describes the movement of 'goods' up from Bugsworth to Chapel, and makes no mention at all of the raison-d'etre of the tramway, the carriage of limestone down from Dove Holes !

An unusual feature in Joe's young days was a tramroad, as he called it. Before the railway arrived, the inhabitants had been dependent for most heavy goods on a canal that came into the hills by a winding way, and with many locks--sixteen in a row up one rise - and ended at a village a little to the west. From this canal someone, before Joe was born, had conceived the idea of running a line through to another village much higher up, and to certain limestone quarries. This line passed under the main street fifty yards beyond the last houses of Townend [Chapel en le Frith], not very far from Warmbrook Farm.

Naturally this tramway fascinated young Joe, and continued to do so as he grew up, for the chief motive-power was horses. There were a warehouse, a big yard, and row of stables just below the main street, for it was an important unloading place for local supplies and also for several villages in a long dale to the east which had only roads in and out. Here, too, the more or less level line from the canal 'port' took a sharp climb, so steep that horses could not face it.

But perhaps this line is worth describing in some detail, as a record of the primitive transport with which for 120 years Joe's, and a number of other villages, had to manage. At the 'port', goods were shifted by hand-cranes out of barges into the tramway trucks. Each truck weighed sixteen hundredweight and would carry up to two tons. As many as forty trucks were sometimes run together (in a 'gang'), the total weight being normally about 120 to 150 tons.

From the wharf the gang set off for the village hauled by five horses in line attended by a man and youth, who took them the two miles to a half-way trough, where the horses were unhooked and rested. Here there would usually be a down gang waiting, brought there of their own weight, a man in charge as brakeman; or if no gang had arrived one soon would, and after it would come a boy from the village with another five horses. Now the man who had come up from the wharf took over the down gang as brakeman, and left the lad who had gone with him to return with the horses, while the man and youth from the village hooked up their five horses and took the gang 'forrard on' the remaining two miles. When the tramway was in its heyday three gangs were taken down each day in this way and three were brought up.

At the village junction shunting took place, those trucks for the farther villages being made up into fresh gangs, an old, wise horse being retained for this work. When a gang was ready, this horse towed it to the foot of the climb, known as 'the Incline', where the trucks were hooked on to a wire hawser. At the top was another marshalling area, another warehouse, and another row of stables--for eight horses. This was Top o' th' Plain [sic]. The outstanding building was the control cabin, of wood, on tall stilts, like an early lighthouse. The man on duty there had a clear view to the foot of the slope, and all over the marshalling area just below him. Between the stilts was an iron wheel, ten feet in diameter, with a grooved edge, and set on a perpendicular axle. Around the groove ran the steel hawser. When the bottom gang was ready a huge white board on a long pole was turned broadside as signal, then the control man gave a sign to his mate, who removed the chocks holding back a loaded gang at the top, and over it went, its weight hauling up the gang on the other line. In fog a big bell was jangled as signal. If the big wheel was spinning too fast, then the man in the cabin could screw a brake down on the rim and delay the wheel somewhat by friction.

Each gang was taken on from Top o' the Plain by a four-horse team in-line for a mile or so to another half-way point, the highest of all, the gang rolling two farther miles after that by gravity. All the horses used--twenty-five to thirty regularly in the seven miles--were retired from ordinary railway delivery duties through city streets, their feet knocked up by the rough setts of those days. When hauling a gang, they trod on earth between the narrow lines, there being no sleepers, each rail being spiked on to squared blocks of gritstone set firmly in the ground at twelve to eighteen-inch intervals. I have thought that it must have been rather nice for old horses jaded by city labour, this life along the line, for it passed three-quarters of its length through valley fields, and the remainder along the lip of a tree-deep gorge, as attractive as any in Peakland. Certainly the men who worked the line liked their employment, for Joe says they very seldom left, and there was much disappointment when the line shut down.

There were perils, of course. Joe often rode up to Top o' th' P1ain sitting on the edge of a waggon in a gang and says he never thought anything about it then; but he has often wondered since at the risk, for he remembered the hawser snapping on several occasions, both gangs then crashing down to the bridge over the main road. Under this bridge there was only a single line, the gangs being hooked up and unhooked on a short level on top side. Immediately the old horse that did the assembling was released, it departed unbidden into its stable, a cave cut out of rock at the side, like an air-raid shelter. There was a similar cave for the two men who worked at the bottom, so that neither ever got struck down when wagons ran away.

Other men, however, seen to have risked greater danger every day, on the lengths where the gangs ran by gravity. Fully laden, they could get up great speed. The brakeman rode standing on the end of a waggon chassis, holding on to a waggon edge. By each pair of wheels hung a short chain with an iron pin on the end. When a gang was beginning to speed too much, the man had to bend down, and thrust this pin between the iron spokes into a socket, the wheels thus being locked. Think how adroit the man had to be. Think if he slipped or lost balance, or failed to time his thrust rightly, or the chain snapped! Also it was seldom enough to brake one pair of wheels or one waggon, and he had to move along the rocking gang to the next… perhaps perform the same operation on five or six wagons. Moreover, a wheel might not be left skidding very long or it would get red hot and wear badly, so that the man had to make his way hand over hand back, jerk the pin and peg through different spokes, or trip another wheel. To release the peg he had a short iron bar he used as lever, but obviously there must have been considerable risk in this operation, too. Yet Joe did not recall any employee being killed, and only remembered one accident, a brakeman getting an arm broken. 'It were great ta watch them, they could do it like snuff.'

Towards the end, the Board of Trade obliged the company to provide small iron platforms on each waggon with a guard rail for the brakeman, but the actual wheel-locking remained as perilous as ever.

Another friend, not Joe, remembered a boy, in mischief with several pals setting some wagons going and trying to peg a wheel. Overbalancing or being hit, he fell on the track and was cut in two.

The extension of the railway line seriously lessened the amount of freight carried on the tramway, and eventually made it uneconomic. When first I got to know Joe the line remained intact, but dead. There was grass between and over the rails, and it was pleasant to stroll in peace where once all that traffic had run. Then eventually most of the buildings were taken down, the stone being used elsewhere, the rails were removed, and only the gritstone blocks were left. After more years the land even was offered sale, and was bought in short lengths by many different persons, so that now in many places crops grow where once trundling gangs passed half-a-dozen times each day.

In October 1941 I was out with Joe when he pointed to a man going laboriously on two sticks and said: 'E were th' last man as worked on th' old tramroad. 'E were there till th' lines were took up.' I believe Joe added that the man had been one of the horse-drivers, though I am not sure.

The last man to work the control cabin--he did the job for thirty years - died about the beginning of the second world war. Even in that war a part anyway of the tramway served a useful purpose. In the seven miles there was one tunnel, 150 yards long, with a single track penetrating a high bluff half-a-mile north of the village. The length which included this tunnel was bought by a big industrial concern and the tunnel used for storage of valuable papers from air attack, the ends being strongly sealed. Opened again after the war, the tunnel has since been used for safe-keeping of highly inflammable chemicals. But the most lasting relic of the tramway is likely to be in the village some distance from the defunct line. It is a strongly-built, double-fronted house on a corner very nearly opposite Joe's boyhood home.

'It were built wi' sixpences', said Joe one day as we passed; and I learned that the builder had for many years been the carter at the village junction when the tramway was in its most prosperous period. 'Th' sixpences were th' tips 'e get fer deliverin'. 'E built it when 'e retired.'

This photograph from the late Jack Brady’s archive shows the tramway marshalling yard just to the east of the Navigation Inn sometime around the mid 1920s and contemporary with the later time described in the "Chuckling Joe" article.

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Waterhouses Locks on the Hollinwood Branch of the Ashton Canal

by Peter J Whitehead

The Hollinwood Branch left the main line of the Ashton Canal at Fairfield Junction, just above lock 18, and proceeded on the level for some 2½ miles in a generally northerly direction to Waterhouses. Here it climbed the four Waterhouses locks (locks 19, 20, 21 and 22), the middle pair forming a staircase where the top gate of lock 20 was also the bottom gate of lock 21. Immediately above these locks the Fairbottom Branch left the Hollinwood Branch. This branch was about 1 mile long and it acted as a feeder from the river Medlock. The Hollinwood Branch extended for about another 1¾ miles and, after climbing three more locks (locks 23, 24 and 25), it terminated at a basin close to Manchester Road, Hollinwood. The summit pound was only about six chains long and this was too short to enable it to act as a reservoir for the rest of the branch.

Water for this branch came from the nearby Hollinwood reservoir and it fed the summit pound. Water from surrounding streams supplied this reservoir, which had an original capacity of about 12½ million gallons1. However, it was found that this was inadequate and in 1812 it was decided to supplement this by building a pumping house containing a beam pumping engine2. This was sited at the top of Waterhouses locks in the angle between the Fairbottom and Hollinwood Branches and it raised water from the bottom pound of the Hollinwood Branch, which was fed from the main line of the Ashton Canal. Each time a boat passed through these locks about 35,000 gallons of water was used and the pump replaced this in about half an hour3.

1 - By canal standards this reservoir was tiny. For example, it was only 2% of the combined capacity of Combs Brook and Todd Brook reservoirs (635 million gallons), which supplied the Peak Forest Canal.

2 - The quantity of water that could be extracted from the river Medlock may have been legally restricted but whatever the reason it was obviously insufficient to make up the shortfall of Hollinwood reservoir.

3 - A high-level wooden trough across the pump-house yard carried water back to the top of the four locks through the Fairbottom Branch 200 yards away at Fenny Fields bridge. A gin stood in the yard and the bearing for the upper end of this was attached to the trough. It is likely that this was provided for emergency use in the event of the engine failing or being stopped for maintenance purposes. It was fitted with six arms, so six horses (or men) could have provided the motive power.

By the mid-1950s the disused pump house was in a poor state of repair but the pumping engine was still in a reasonable condition, having been regularly maintained by staff from the Gorton Yard4. At this juncture, vandals made a concerted effort to destroy the monument and both the pump house and engine were completely wrecked. In the early 1960s the engine was removed for scrap and the pump house was demolished.

4 - The Canal Depot was situated on the Stockport Branch of the Ashton Canal at the eastern end of Gorton Yard, or Gorton Tank as it was better known.

The beam pumping engine at Waterhouses should not be confused with the nearby and better known ‘Fairbottom Bobs’, whose fate had a happier ending, albeit in the USA. This was an early atmospheric beam pumping engine of the Newcomen type dating from around 1760. This had been built to pump water from ‘cannel’ coal mines5 and it was in regular use until 1834. Steam for this engine was supplied by a ‘wagon’ boiler6 and it is said that it was ingeniously assisted by two waterwheels powered by water it was pumping out of the mine7. The name ‘Fairbottom Bobs’ arose from the bobbing motion of the engine’s wooden beam. It was reported that a cord was attached to this beam that led to a ‘ricker’ in a nearby field where it acted as a bird scarer8.

5 - Cannel is a bituminous coal containing much volatile matter that burns brightly. The word derives from the Middle English word ‘candel’. Thus in English dialect a bright candle was referred to as a ‘cannel candle’.

6 - Wagon boilers were the next stage of development after haystack boilers. They were rectangular in shape to increase the heating surface and this section also made them easier to manufacture. Neither the haystack or wagon boiler was suitable for steam pressures in excess of 10 pounds per square inch. Both types were in widespread use with Newcomen and Watt engines.

7 - 5,000 acres round Old Ashton. Evidently the Victorian quest for perpetual motion was being pursued in the 18th century.

8 - 5,000 acres round Old Ashton.

Surprisingly, after its useful life ended in the 1830s it survived more or less intact for about one hundred years and in 1929 it was acquired by Henry Ford I. He had it dismantled and shipped to Michigan where it was restored and placed in the Henry Ford Museum at Dearborn. It is understood that there is a replica of this engine in the British Science Museum at Kensington, London.

Prior to 1929 it had been recognised that this engine was worthy of preservation but local attempts to do this foundered when representatives of the Stamford Estate refused to cooperate. Somehow, Henry Ford got to know about it and without hesitation they agreed that it could go to the USA.

Further details of the Fairbottom Bobs engine visit the following web sites:


A rare photograph of the pair of staircase locks at Waterhouses on the Hollinwood Branch of the Ashton Canal, 1920s.

Acknowledgment: Mrs Sarah Whitehead of Springhead, Oldham

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by Pete Yearsley

The walks programme continues to go well with visits to the Calder and Hebble, the Chesterfield and Scotland’s Millennium Link being well supported.

Calder and Hebble Navigation

Our walk on the Calder and Hebble navigation started at Brighouse after a car shuffle from our destination at Sowerby Bridge. Gaining the towpath we walked up to Brighouse Basin and inspected the area before returning and heading west past Brookfoot and Ganny locks to Cromwell Bottom nature reserve. Here we diverted from the towpath for a guided walk round the reserve which centres on gravel pits with a very chequered history and is bounded by the canal and a loop of the river. Much of interest was seen including damsel flies of various hues, sky larks and an ancient straightening of the old river navigation called the Tay cut. From here we rejoined the towpath and progressed to Elland where lunch was taken at the Barge and Barrel.

This turned out to be a leisurely affair with several ales from the pub’s micro brewery to be sampled, and the kitchen being rather overwhelmed by the influx of walkers.

Replete, we set off again climbing up through pleasant countryside to Salterhebble locks where we spent some time investigating the electric guillotine bottom gate of the bottom lock and the remnants of the Halifax branch at the top lock. Leaving this pretty spot we headed on to Sowerby Bridge between the ever-steepening sides of the valley. Reaching the basin at Sowerby Bridge we were just in time to watch a hire boat from the excellent Shire Cruises setting out up the Rochdale canal so we took the opportunity to observe its progress through the new Tuel Lane tunnel and lock before returning to the car park to thank Donald and Josie Smith and Barbara Walker for organising such a super walk.

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Chesterfield Canal

Our August walk took us to the Chesterfield Canal and started with an interesting bus ride from Renishaw to Chesterfield where the walk commenced. Meeting Chesterfield Canal Society stalwart John Lower by the Trebor Mints factory we saw the site of the 1777 terminus basin before joining the path along the River Rother which forms the top section of the waterway. We stopped at the visitor centre at Tapton to take on ice-cream then carried on down this restored stretch, a testament to the tenacity of the canal society who have been instrumental in getting new locks, new bridges and a new tunnel built to return this four-mile section to navigation. On this length several water voles were spotted, this increasingly rare little mammal being seemingly untroubled hereabouts. Lunch was taken at Staveley, an ex-mining town which is now home of a big chemical plant. Perhaps this is why the locals prefer fizzy beers instead of ‘jolly good ale and old’, for there was ne’er a drop to be had in any of its many pubs! (Nor did any of the pubs serve grub on Saturdays and a group of us sat in the almost deserted market square scoffing fish and chips from the local emporium - one of the very few businesses which were open at all. - Ed)

Moving along, after more ice-cream, we walked the section to Renishaw which, with a couple of exceptions, is infilled and returned to agricultural use. John Lower explained the various strategies for overcoming obstacles such as the replacement of the embankment and aqueduct over the Doelea brook and the railway crossing near Eckington Road Bridge.

Quickly changing hats from walk guide to salesman, John Lower magically produced his stock of raffle tickets for the Chesterfield Canal Society's grand restoration draw

Emerging from the footpath through fields of wheat we came to the restoration of the narrow section which was cut in 1891 to allow the railway to use about half a mile of the original line. We then went through the A616 bridge to observe a newly-dredged section at Spinkhill which had been filled with foundry waste. Here we thanked John Lower for his guidance and anecdotes and Dave and Izzie Turner for arranging a very enjoyable walk.

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North to Scotland

For our weekend away in October we ventured north of the border to view the restored Forth and Clyde and Union Canals, officially known as the Millennium Link.

The Saturday dawned clear and bright and some fourteen souls set out from the Falkirk High station on a car shuffle to the entrance lock on the River Carron in company with Tom Lawton of the Forth and Clyde Canal Society. Some time was spent in this area as Tom explained where previous lines of the canal went, and how long-term plans to extend the channel of the canal along the River Carron towards Grangemouth will need another lock, thus explaining the present sea lock’s number of lock two. Walking out past a monument which names all the partners in the Millennium Link, we passed the new lock three before turning right and joining the original channel. We then followed the canal through the nether parts of Falkirk, the route climbing gradually through a series of restored or re-sited locks and rebuilt bridges with Tom regaling us with tales of life along the canal. The Rosebank Distillery, disused now but in BW’s care with plans for office and residential use was seen as was its bonded warehouse, saved from demolition to become a Beefeater restaurant. Up the final few locks with the Antonine Wall beside us we reached lock 16, Port Downie and the Union Inn. Here a flight of eleven locks climbed away from the great basin to the Union Canal a quarter of a mile away. The locks and basin are now infilled but the Union Inn still thrives and it was here a very pleasant lunch break was taken.

Falkirk Wheel viewed from the back side showing the drained basin and the lock beyond.
Photo: David Kitching

Another group of walkers told us that the swing bridge higher up the canal into the Falkirk Wheel site was closed so we diverted onto the roads to access the wheel site. What can you say about the Wheel? Unique, visually stunning, an engineering marvel. Built on the site of a tar distillery, the world’s only rotating boat lift takes boats from a holding basin by the Forth and Clyde 80 feet up onto an aqueduct carrying the Union Canal, which then dives through a tunnel under the Antonine Wall and into a new section of canal. On our visit the wheel was closed and much of the higher ground taped off as the wheel was undergoing maintenance and slipways were being put into the basin to accommodate amphibious craft on a circular Mill-Wheel experience!

After some negotiation Tom sorted out permission from BW to pass through a prohibited area so we could view the tunnel mouth and cross the Antonine Wall, which we accomplished, emerging above the new section of Union Canal. The massive staircase lock which signals the end (or start) of the 32 lock-free miles was inspected before we set off along the length of new canal. The original line is rejoined by passing over a new aqueduct by Port Maxwell. This was an arm which ran alongside the lock flight terminating at the point which gave swift boat passengers the shortest distance to walk down to the Forth and Clyde on their journey from Edinburgh to Glasgow.

Our walk concluded by walking through the 696 yard Falkirk Tunnel to see the "Laughing and Greeting (crying) Bridge", so-called because of the faces on the keystones of the opposing arches. They are said to be canal contractors, one ‘greeting’ because he lost money cutting the tunnel and the other laughing because he had to cut an easy lock-free channel. A return through the tunnel brought us up to the station and our cars for a reshuffle run.

The Union Inn was the venue of the evening meal which was enjoyed by all, dinner being followed by a superb presentation by Donald Mackinnon of the Forth and Clyde Society which told of the history, decline and re-birth of the canal.

Next morning we met at Lathallan after car shuffling from Philipstoun to walk the Union Canal in the company of Jim Lonie of the Linlithgow Union Canal Society. We ambled through pastoral countryside under several bridges re-constructed to the designs of Historic Scotland till we came to Slamannan Basin. This was an interchange basin twixt canal and railway where coal was shot into barges and passengers caught the train to Glasgow. A little further we encountered the best kept secret on British canals - The Avon Aqueduct. Standing 810 feet across the valley on twelve arches we inspected this magnificent structure from below courtesy of a set of amazing steps down the valley side. Its alleged height above the river is 85 feet but it certainly looked more than that from the vertiginous towpath. The route into Linlithgow was bounded by golf courses and new housing and we arrived at Manse Basin, the headquarters of the L.U.C.S. in time for lunch. As we arrived, three trailable steamboats were leaving the basin for an afternoon cruise.

Intrepid IWPS venturers gathered at the end of the end of the Avon Aqueduct on the Union Canal
Photo: David Kitching

After exploring various hostelries in town, we re-grouped at the basin to visit the small museum and tearooms and watched the trip boat set out on a cruise to the Avon aqueduct. As we left Linlithgow we remarked on how well used the canals were. During the weekend, as well the boats mentioned above, we had seen the two hire boats that ply the canal, the base for one of the Seagull Trust boats, as well as lots of walkers, amblers, runners and friendly cyclists who mostly rode bikes with bells. We reached our destination at Philipstoun where after thanking Jim we car shuffled for the last time.

Our thanks must go to Ian and Sarah Edgar for putting together such a splendid weekend and to our hosts from the Forth and Clyde and Linlithgow Union Canal Societies.

Ian Edgar adds the following: Thanks must also go to Roddy Beatson who shared the groundwork in preparation for the walks.

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Next year there will be another programme of walks with visits to Hampshire, North Yorkshire and several points between being actively considered.

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Manisty Mudness

Through the efforts of Paul Sillitoe, a rare chance to visit Mount Manisty occurred in late September. Limited by numbers for security reasons, an invitation only party were escorted through Stanlow Oil Refinery and onto the MSC ferry to the far shore. After a brief examination of the shipping berths we dropped onto the foreshore heading towards the peak of the Mount at the western end. It had been our intention to follow the pipeline inspection path, but since the pipeline has been de-commissioned the path has become lost under much impenetrable elder (and brambles).

The end of the trail! Having achieved not much more than 400 yards from the ferry point in the first hour, a conference was convened and the unanimous decision made to abandon the rest of the two-mile walk to Mount Manisty.

After much valiant chopping and thrashing it was agreed that we could go no further so we had a picnic lunch on the foreshore then headed eastward to Stanlow Point. From this sandstone promontory, jets taking of from Liverpool airport could be heard and seen but little else disturbed the stillness.

Moving further east we came to the course of the River Gowy and the sluices for its syphon culvert under the Ship Canal. A short walk along the canal bank took us to a piece of land which has been recently cleared of twentieth century ? buildings. Beyond these we found remains of the 12th century Cistercian Abbey in the form of coursed red sandstone blocks. A brief inspection of the derelict workshops and houses was then undertaken before returning to the ferry and our escort out.

Despite not reaching our original objective an interesting time was had by all not least the bird watchers amongst us who saw Little Egret, and hundreds of Shelduck and waders.

Many thanks to Paul Sillitoe for penetrating the red tape and enabling us to do it.

Described by Pete Yearsley as "John Wesley’s Pulpit looking out to Ireland" this structure of unknown purpose stands on the mud bank of the River Gowy. In the background is the sluice of the syphon culvert under the Manchester Ship Canal and beyond is Stanlow Refinery.

News from the IWA


Robin Evans, currently British Waterways' Commercial Director, has been appointed as its next chief executive, to succeed David Fletcher when he retires in December. Although engaged in the moneymaking side of British Waterways at present, Robin Evans' background is with heritage organisations, his previous employers, for nineteen years prior to joining BW in 1999, being the Historic Royal Palaces, The Landmark Trust and the National Trust.

John Fletcher has announced that he intends to retire as chairman of IWA's North West Region following his appointment as national chairman with effect from November 2002. The region committee has appointed Margaret Fletcher to take over the role of regional chairman when John retires from the post.


Lancaster University is holding a conference on 'Canals and Inland Waterways in the North West: present and future'. On Saturday 9th November. The programme includes lectures on the Ribble Link, Lancaster Canal northern reaches, Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal and features an address by John Fletcher, IWA's North West Region Chairman. Places are available at the conference for £15.00 excluding lunch (which can be bought on the campus site).

Details of the conference are available from Or 01524 593770

Grand Union Canal - Leicester Section

British Waterways' plans to redevelop the area around Foxton Locks on the Leicester Section of the Grand Union Canal have reached a step nearer fruition following agreement between British Waterways and its current tenants at Foxton Locks, Tony and Mary Matts who run Foxton Boat Services, to allow for the relocation of their business.

Subject to gaining planning permission from Market Harborough District Council, a new boatyard will be built alongside the Market Harborough Arm close to Foxton Bottom Lock.

Foxton Boat Services is currently located in buildings that British Waterways plans to redevelop into a new restaurant, pub and shop with improved access for disabled visitors. The site currently attracts 200,000 people each year. Under the arrangements, Tony and Mary Matts' lease which expired earlier in 2002 will continue, allowing the Bridge 61 public house and Foxton Boat Services to trade until the start of redevelopment work.

The cost of this first phase of improvements to visitor facilities at Foxton Locks is estimated at £1million and work is expected to begin in 2003. British Waterways has promised to continue to consult with the local community and user groups as it develops details of its plans for the site.

In the meantime, work will begin to open up the site of the Foxton Inclined Plane and better interpret the remains of the boat lift, a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Following wildlife habitat surveys, liaison with the Forestry Commission and English Nature, and subject to consent from Harborough District Council, work will begin in October to clear some of the trees at the bottom of the plane. British Waterways has also commissioned consultants to produce an interpretation plan to help people better understand and enjoy their visit to the Foxton Inclined Plane.

British Waterways has previously announced that its longer-term vision is to restore the Foxton Inclined Plane Boat Lift. The overall cost of rebuilding the Lift is estimated at £9 million and is to be achieved through a detailed programme of works phased over the next five years. Once rebuilt, the Lift is expected to attract 70,000 extra visitors to Foxton each year, creating 20 new full-time jobs and injecting £1million a year into the local economy.

The Waterways Trust has launched a new initiative to raise funds for the restoration of Foxton Inclined Plane, which was last used in 1912.

The fundraising campaign aims to raise £500,000 towards the estimated £9 million restoration costs. The Waterways Trust is asking supporters and the general public to become sponsors of Foxton Inclined Plane by giving a regular monthly donation of £5. In return for their donation, sponsors will receive regular newsletters with updates on progress, a limited edition print of Foxton Inclined Plane and priority invitations to events organised by The Waterways Trust.

The Trust are distributing information leaflets nationally and locally and hope the campaign will attract around 2,000 donors, who over the next five years will contribute £5 a month each to the Appeal target. Further details are available from the Trust on 0845 0700 0710.

Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal

British Waterways is holding a series of exhibitions in Bolton, Bury and Salford to inform local people about its plans for the restoration of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal. British Waterways staff are on hand to explain what is planned and are giving out questionnaires.

British Waterways and Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society have jointly paid for a leaflet "The Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Restoration". The leaflet is being widely distributed locally and shows a map of the line of the canal, lists the benefits of restoration, funding, feasibility and includes "Why restore the canal?" As restoration progresses more such leaflets are planned, so that people living in the locality are aware of what is happening to the canal. Further information is available from: and

Manchester Ship Canal

A recent request from a boat hirer to make a passage on the Manchester Ship Canal from Manchester to the River Weaver was declined by the Canal Company's harbourmaster. Informal enquiries made by IWA's North West Region Chairman, John Fletcher, indicate that the Canal Company will only be persuaded to consider an application for transit from a hire boater, if the craft owner is agreeable, the hirers themselves can demonstrate appropriate experience, and they are accompanied by a private boater who also has specific experience of cruising the Manchester Ship Canal, together with all the other conditions which the company imposes on boats that transit the canal.

Shropshire Union Canal

One of the major stoppages due to take place over the winter months is at Shelmore Embankment, near Norbury, on the Shropshire Union Canal. It is due to be closed from 4th November 2002 to 11th April 2003, although there is a chance of opening up, depending on how the work goes, for a short window over the Christmas holidays.

The Embankment was constructed between 1829 an 1835 and has had a history of problems. The embankment is suffering from low freeboard, ongoing settlement, leakage and a low Factor of Safety against slope failure. The settlement is considered to be due to a combination of the consolidation of the embankment fill, consolidation of the underlying strata and a loss of fines due to leakage.

A recent report by British Waterways' engineers revealed that although an economic repair of the structure was possible, it would not arrest the ongoing settlement. BW's chosen solution is to:

Install six-metre-long steel sheet piles behind the existing waterway wall in the areas with stability and leakage concerns, to reduce leakage and improve the Factor of Safety. Piling operations will be done using two piling rigs working from both ends of the site to reduce the duration of the project.

Install six-metre-long steel sheet piles in front of the existing waterway wall along mooring areas. In addition to the stability and leakage concerns in these areas, BW is concerned about the integrity of the waterway wall. BW is also considering an alternative option to pile behind, and remove, the offside waterway wall in the mooring area. This option would require part of the canal bed to be relined, but would avoid narrowing the channel. In addition to the additional expense, this option carries more risk of failure.

Increase the height of the waterway walls using reinforced concrete to give 500mm freeboard. This would provide a design life of approximately twenty years if the settlement continued at the current rate (approximately 10mm per year). Fill will be placed behind the wall on the towing path side to raise the embankment levels.

The above constitutes the major engineering works. In addition, minor works will include towing path improvements, improvements to visitor and residential moorings and tree management works on the upper third of the embankment slopes. This work may be phased to reduce the visual impact.

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