The Inland Waterways Protection Society Ltd 

Campaigning    Restoration    Preservation    Development 

Newsletter "174" August 2003


Bugsworth Basin Report New leaflet and Display
BW Plan for the Future
Waterways Trust
A Tribute to the Life of Thomas Brown Exhibition at New Mills Heritage Centre James Brindley - a 20th Century Anecdote
Historical and Photo Archive on cd-rom
Revd Dr William Simpson
Trafalgar Marine Services
Book Review
Burslem Port What is a Ship's Pilot? News from the IWA
Whaley Bridge Water Weekend Vandalism Portobello Engineering
Sales Pages change of web address

This was the scene in 1977 after the IWPS caravan had been moved to the Central Peninsula - Martin Whalley is opening up for the day.

From left to right the volunteers are: at the back, Gordon Johnson, Robin Coleman, Nigel Foster and Mark Tiddy; in front of Mark is Izzie Gerrard; the two lads are the Johnson brothers, Anthony and Richard; with his back to the camera is thought to be Albert Parker and behind Martin is Chris Burdett.

Photograph: Ron Toothill

Bugsworth Basin Report

by Ian Edgar MBE   -     Chairman and Hon Site Manager

Well, with this issue of '174' I had hoped to be able to announce the work to cure the leaks at Bugsworth had already started but alas this is not so. However the planning of the work is now well underway. I am really amazed at the preparation and planning work that has to be done to ensure a safe and efficient site once work does start.

The first task which has to be completed, before any work can commence on the leak repairs proper, is for the new habitat for our water voles to be in place. This will be on the right hand side of 'The Wide' looking towards the By-Pass. It is hoped that this work will take place in September when site cabins and some plant will arrive and other enabling works (like track protection etc.) can be completed. Work proper is now scheduled to start early October but archaeological recording work under the direction of our Alan Findlow will start probably mid-September.

Planning and Design Review Meetings have been held with British Waterways, Mott Macdonald (the Consultants) and BW Dew (the Contractors). Such matters as disposal of dredgings (around 2000 c.m. or enough material to cover a 100m square patch of ground 200 mm deep) have had to be urgently addressed and the most economic disposal arrangements sought. Ideally this material can go to local agricultural land and I am presently working with BW and Mott Macdonald to find a suitable site. The present plan is not to put any of the dredged material back to the canal due to expected poor quality.

The presence of a major sewer going through the site has to be taken in to consideration and a CCTV survey of this is planned. The footpath will have to be closed as well as the rest of the Basin below Silk Hill Bridge. Bridges on to the site have to be assessed and suitable precautions taken to protect them from damage by the heavy plant which will be used on this major job. With the major part of the work being undertaken in the winter months disposal of possibly large spasmodic amounts of water by pumping or channelling to the box trunk has to be planned. We tried to avoid winter working but that turned out to be not possible. We therefore have to make the best of the situation.

Off-site constraints have to be assessed. This means the impact of the work on the village roads and school (for instance) have to be taken in to consideration to ensure the minimum disruption for the village. Although this is going to be a very big job with a lot of disturbance we must be sure we are considering the people who live there as best we can.

In the meantime our small band of regular volunteers continue to cut the acres of grass, repair the results of fortunately occasional moronic vandalism and try to keep the site as welcoming as possible for our many visitors.

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It is several years since we had a volunteer team dedicated to keeping the gardens on the floodbank in order. Over the past years they deteriorated to such an extent that we had to have a major clear out. This has now proved very beneficial and with the expert attention of local volunteers Tony and Jen Hunt the gardens are now much improved and a real credit to the Society and the village. When next in Bugsworth go and see the floodbank which is a blaze of colour. New plants are being added all the time. The gardens will not be affected by the major leak repairs.

A sincere thank-you to Tony and Jen for their fine work. We have received many compliments.


Villagers commented to our volunteer team grass cutting on the 'village green' as to why we were doing it and not the usual Derbyshire County Council professional mower. Unfortunately we had to tell them the Parish Council, after 15 years, were now no longer able to fund the cutting. Everybody knew, of course, including Councillors, that in the event of the Parish Council dropping out, volunteers would do the job. We would not let the site deteriorate but we cannot, because of our limited equipment and time, do the job as well as the County Council, nor as often. It took the County Council one man one hour whereas it takes three man-hours for us to do it (one man on the tractor mower for one hour for the level top area, one man on a hover mower for two hours for the banking and to strim the edges.) This is on top of our volunteers being already hard pressed to keep up with the rest of the site.

We obviously appreciate the 15 years the Parish Council have funded this work and only regret they have considered it necessary to withdraw the one area of practical assistance they give to the restoration.

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We are indebted to Chapel en le Frith Parish Council for a donation of £240 to help restore the small garden between the new and old routes of Silk Hill near the Lime Kilns. This area provides a colourful facility, especially in the summer, for residents and visitors to relax. Sometimes known as 'Bennett's Folly', this area was planted by a manager for Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick when they were consultants for the construction of the By-Pass.

From that time the IWPS volunteers have maintained the area but over the years, much like the floodbank, the garden has become overgrown and drastically needs cutting back. Volunteer work has been more or less cutting the grass on the lawns and margins. The rejuvenation work will be done by volunteers in the Autumn with the main benefits being noticeable next year.

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I mentioned in the last '174' that I had hoped to include a copy of our new leaflet. This was not possible due to an unexpected printing problem the complexity of which it would take too much space to explain! A copy of the new leaflet is enclosed with this Newsletter. Aimed at spreading the news about Bugsworth Basin this first printing of 5000 copies will be placed in local libraries, Tourist Offices, Schools, pubs etc. as well as in the IWPS leaflet boxes at Whaley Bridge and Bugsworth. These leaflet boxes, accessed with a BW Key have proven very successful with a very good level of donations including several £1 coins but no notes yet! The boxes are replenished twice a week.

There is no doubt we will have to reprint and will need a sponsor. If any of our readers has any ideas then please contact me. This is a very professional leaflet for a high quality sponsor.

The new display area in one of our 20' shipping containers is now open when volunteers are on site and is proving very popular. Some work still has to be done. We are working on a Peak Forest Tramway Points System set down on the floor and will also have parts of a Peak Forest Tramway Wagon on display.

We are extremely grateful for the Awards for All Grant of £4550 for this project. Without this grant such a professional job could not have been done. Even so we went over budget, the excess of a few hundred pounds being covered by specific donations for the display project and/or IWPS Reserve funds. Our out-turn report for Awards for All has now been approved.

Come and see the new display on one of the days on our Working Party Programme.

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This took place 21st and 22nd June and was a tremendous success. Organised by Whaley Bridge Town Council with the major funding coming from British Waterways, the IWPS were part of the organising body and we had our own tent with display and sales manned by Gordon & Linda Anderson. Over £280 was taken over the two days. IWPS also provided a trip boat which operated Saturday and Sunday with another provided by British Waterways. A charge of 50p per passenger was made to cover the short journey from Whaley Bridge Basin to Bings Wood Junction with the main line in to Bugsworth. Half the proceeds were for IWPS funds and the other half to cover the costs of British Waterways' employees manning the BW boat. The hire charge for the IWPS boat was covered by Whaley Bridge Town Council and the four hour journey each way from Bollington and back was undertaken by Andy Eadon and his son Thomas. The weather was glorious both days which certainly helps. It was also gratifying that some of the local traders, who had in previous years been indifferent to the event, actually turned up this year and did very worthwhile business. Those I talked to indicated a wish to return next year.

As far as 2004 is concerned we do not yet know what will happen as Bugsworth Basin will be open then and the boat trips could be between Bugsworth Upper Basin and Whaley Bridge Basin. If IWPS is to support both an event to celebrate the re-opening of Bugsworth Basin and Whaley Water Week-end (W3) then we will be severely stretched. We will do out best to support both events with, as one would expect, the priority being at Bugsworth.

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Our readers will no doubt remember that the original plan understood by both the IWPS and BW was for The Waterways Trust to support IWPS and BW in obtaining funds for the leak repairs. Although this was clearly stated in TWT Annual Report 2000/1 TWT were actually not involved in securing the £800.000 required for the restoration works. All this funding was secured by the partnership between British Waterways, the IWPS, High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council. BW have been the prime mover and have also put in funds other than those obtained by grants from others as well as technical and other work in kind..

Roger Hanbury, Chief Executive of TWT, indicated that TWT would support further works at Bugsworth, i.e. buildings etc. once the basin was watertight and permanently operational. However this is now in doubt, as are other funding prospects of TWT. At the Northern Canals Association meeting in Sleaford, 29th June, Roger informed the meeting of some unpleasant truths and perhaps unpalatable news for some. TWT is going to have to focus more on the Waterways Museums at Braunston, Ellesmere Port and Gloucester which will have to have major re-vamps to try and get the visitors numbers up. The public are now demanding a different Museum experience if, unlike other museums which are free of charge, they are to attract a paying customer. Knowing full well what our Awards for All project cost (£4550) even several million pounds will not go far. So, more emphasis on the museums and less on restoration projects.

We are however grateful to Roger and TWT for maintaining his promise of match funding for various bids we have made for Landfill and Aggregate Tax support. This is generally 10% or 11% of the project cost which is still a fair amount of money for a voluntary society such as IWPS Ltd. to find.

I think we are all in for a difficult time ahead in securing funds from an ever-decreasing pot. Proposed changes to the National Lottery cannot be interpreted as yet (or at least I cannot) as to whether they will benefit or hinder canal restoration. We all wish Roger and TWT success in what they are trying to achieve.

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Through my letterbox I recently received a most impressive brochure mapping out the future for British Waterways under their new Chief Executive Robin Evans.

We all have to admire what has been achieved by BW over the past five years under their outgoing CEO Dr. David Fletcher. Some quotes from the plan are worthy of note:

'Partnership with the Voluntary Sector

We work with the voluntary sector on a whole range of projects and value the insight we gain. Volunteers ranging from the Waterways Recovery Group to members of canal societies and trusts continue to play a valuable role in waterways restoration and regeneration. We will continue to work with them to move forward our Tranche Two Restoration Schemes (Bugsworth is the last remaining in Tranche One and to all intents and purposes for BW completed - IE). Much of our day-to-day work (from hedge-laying to organising festivals) is done with the help of volunteers. Where appropriate we plan to work with volunteers on a local level to deliver many of our projects.'



We know the best way to achieve success is by working in partnership with people and organisations with common aims. We will continue to develop partnerships with a range of voluntary, public and private partners.



We particularly value the input of volunteers and the role they have played in the past 50 years to keep the idea of waterway restoration alive. Our restoration and regeneration work boosts local economies (the single most important element in the Regeneration of Whaley Bridge is provision of a new bridge in to Bings Wood Industrial Estate and the second is the re-opening of Bugsworth Basin - Consultants Report - IE) and we (BW-IE) estimate the total investment in waterway regeneration projects to date is in the region of £2 billion).

Clearly the whole waterways scene is changing and we must change with it. Maybe we as volunteers will see our input diminishing as our projects are completed and the next stage of development moves on. I believe there will always be ways in which volunteers can work with BW. How we do that will vary from waterway to waterway.

Copies of 'OUR PLAN FOR THE FUTURE 2003-2007' are available on request from Janet Giles, Marketing & Communications, British Waterways, Willow Grange, Church Road, Watford, WD17 4QA

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We were sorry to hear of the passing, on April 27th at the grand age of 104, of Dr. William Simpson who was affectionately known in Buxworth as 'Willie'. Willie was Minister at Chinley Independent Chapel and then Brierley Green Chapel until his death. A great character with a sense of humour Willie had great trust in his maker. His habit of leaping out from the pavement to ask for a lift to visit one of his flock shocked many an unwary driver but locals and us early volunteers learned to look out for Willie and anticipate his actions. Even if not on the route of the unfortunate driver the benevolence of Willie was such that he was delivered to where he wanted to go and every driver had his blessing. In the early days of the restoration Willie often passed by and gave his encouragement and blessing to our endeavours. Certainly a character who will be greatly missed.

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On a recent IWPS Walk on the Trent & Mersey Canal we were introduced to David Dumbleton who clearly had an enormous commitment to restore the Burslem Arm which at that time ( and still is) completely filled in and surrounded by derelict buildings and cleared land. David's enthusiasm was infectious and it was clear that although the difficulties would be great the regeneration of the area surrounding the Arm could be based on 'Bringing Boats Back to Burslem' which is the slogan of Burslem Port. Since that visit clearly great strides have been made and David writes:

'After over two years of delay in the interpretation of European Funding rules by the UK the Burslem Port Project has now taken a major step forward. A series of major urban regeneration schemes in Stoke on Trent are now on course for approval and we hope to gain consent and funding approval for our own scheme in parallel with those others. Accordingly we have enhanced our own architectural plans and these were launched to considerable acclaim on June 4th. We anticipate that approval, if it is to be given. will be received within 12 months'.

The other projects to which David refers include the 'Stoke Corridor' through Middleport which also has the backing of BW. We wish David well in his promotion of this project. It is compact and should, in my opinion, attract funding. The spend to restore the arm will be moderate in comparison to many other canal restorations. Restoration will act as a catalyst to lever outside funding to develop large areas of presently derelict land around the Arm.

Full details of Burslem Port can be obtained by writing to David Dumbelton, 32 The Lea, Trentham, Stoke on Trent, ST4 8DY or e-mail at 

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Most Canal Societies have their magazines in the same format as IWPS and most canal societies mail their magazines to us in exchange for '174'. This means we get a large number of re-usable envelopes which we are starting to re-use for our mailings. Some of you will get your '174' in a re-used envelope. This is one way of bringing down the substantial costs of '174' and doing our bit for the environment.

Ian Edgar MBE

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Editorial by Don Baines

Due to quantity and quality of this month’s input to 174, I have limited the editorial content

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 and can be accessed by clicking here.

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Copy for Newsletters - Please note that the deadline for publishing the next newsletter is 1st October 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 Baines - Editor 174

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CD-ROM - Historical and Photographical Archive

The Historical and Photographic Archive cd-rom priced £12 is now 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 to reserve a copy.  Alternatively you can send a cheque for £12 made payable to PFCC Ltd to Don or Ian at the address shown in Officers

Don Baines - Editor 174

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Chesterfield Canal 

by Dave Turner

A Walk along the restored section - Worksop to Norwood

Saturday 7th June saw our return to my favourite canal walk, the heavily locked section of the Chesterfield Canal between Norwood Tunnel and Worksop. When I first walked this section in the early 1960's most of it was to all intents and purposes unnavigable, although the really determined might have forced a passage from Worksop as far as the redundant colliery basin at Shireoaks. Two years later a couple of dropped road bridges and a grant from the local council to burn the lock gates and push in the chamber walls made Worksop the definite head of navigation.

Kiverton Park station car park was full to overflowing when we boarded the 11.06 train for the run down to Worksop. About £2.50 for a ten minute ride seems a bit much but it did save us the trouble of messing about with cars to get to the starting point by Town lock. The walk took us past 32 locks in total but this is the only one that has always remained navigable. The road bridge crowds in on the bottom gates making the lock difficult to operate and a bulge in one wall gave it a certain notoriety in years gone by. The next few locks were restored a few years ago as phase one, the Nottinghamshire section, restoration and include 'Stret' the narrowest narrow lock in the country. Nearly all of the 8 locks in the Nottinghamshire section have had width problems and unfortunately this was not picked up on restoration. British Waterways have since carried out remedial work to ensure a minimum width of 7 feet at water level and above but this is of little comfort to boat owners whose craft old and new are the full 7 feet across the base plate.

Rhodesia was the site of the first dropped road bridges, two of them within 100 yards, whilst overhead is the Worksop by-pass whose construction without blocking the canal was one of the first major victories of the Chesterfield Canal Society. The next road crossing, adjacent to Shireoaks level crossing, was always going to be a difficult bit of restoration because of the difficult levels involved and was only overcome by lowering this section of canal. A brand new lock, Boundary Lock, had to be built to achieve this. We stopped here in Shireoaks for the lunch break, the Station Hotel supplying drinks and very small puppies as entertainment, the butchers supplying sandwiches and the chip shop........ Most took advantage of the sunshine to sit out on the grass watching the antics of a variety of ducks. Followed by ice cream from the convenience shop!

A glance at the map and most people will write off the western half of the Chesterfield as another industrial or housing estate blighted canal. In fact it is just as green as the eastern part, picking its way infallibly via the most rural and prettiest hamlets and countryside. Turnerwood is just such a hamlet arrived at after crossing the aqueduct over the river Ryton into Yorkshire and ascending the Turnerwood flight of 7 locks. Strangely, Turnerwood Bottom Lock and Turnerwood Top Lock are not at the bottom or top of the flight and Turnerwood Double Locks are not on this flight at all but are part of the Thorpe flight further up the valley! The canal widens out to form a loading basin for the former stone quarry outside the cottages. A leak here into someone's cellar (where have we heard this story before?) had prevented the canal reopening on the 1st June.

The 15 lock Thorpe flight is made up of two trebles, two doubles and five single locks and comprise some of the oldest locks in the country. These are certainly the oldest staircase locks still in operation. Together with the Turnerwood flight they are all listed structures which gave Rotherham Metropolitan BC, the local authority, a big say in their restoration which has ensured a very sympathetic result. This is why the lock sides have not been paved, the gates are of unpainted English Oak (except for a white patch at the end of each balance beam) and more appropriate paddle gear has been chosen than was used in Nottinghamshire. The other odd thing about these locks is the very shallow rise the average is about four feet and the least only three feet three inches.

Two miles of summit level with several listed bridges but hardly a building to be seen returned us to Kiverton Park. Half of the 28 walkers continued the 300 yards to discover the blocked portal of Norwood Tunnel now the main focus of the Chesterfield Canal Trust and British Waterways restoration hopes. Within three weeks of doing this walk Izzie and I were able to return by boat and cruise right up to the tunnel and attend the opening ceremony part way back down the locks. Ours was the first ever working motor boat to make the journey. Coming up the flight we gave a ride aboard 'Bath' to two ladies in their nineties who live at Turnerwood and had last taken a boat ride on this section of canal before it was closed in the early 1930's. If anything they were more pleased by its reopening than I was.

Haggonfield Lock No 46 (formerly the fourth derelict lock from Worksop) This lock is believed to be the site of the first width problems on the canal which in the last 50 or more years of trading resulted in boats being build to a smaller beam. Strangely it is not one of the locks which still cause problems in this way.

Cinderhill Lock at the bottom of the Turner Wood flight. This is one of the deeper locks on this section although by normal narrow lock standards still quite shallow at 6' 7''. The black sign on the towing path says no foot boards on the bottom gates from here on. After restoration the first boat through was a BW dredger, the retracted stabilising legs of which fouled the foot boards which had to be removed. The next 20 locks are all shallow with about 4' rise and fall which is the cause of the problem. 
Photos: Don Baines. Captions: Dave and Izzie Turner

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By Derek Brumhead

Scenes from the past: 45. Manchester London Road to Hayfield, via Reddish, Bredbury, Romiley, Marple & New Mills, and including the " Hyde Loop".

Ian R Smith & G K Fox, Foxline Publications, Bredbury, pp 136, 2003, ISBN 1 870119 73 8, £15.95.

The railway to Hayfield from Hyde Junction (from where it branched off the Manchester-Sheffield line) was fully opened in 1868 and it was run as a joint line between the Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway (later known as the Great Central Railway) and the Midland Railway. There were good economic reasons for such a line serving the towns, calico print works and cotton mills in the Goyt and Sett valleys. It became a popular commuter route to Manchester (there were once eighteen trains a day to Manchester from Hayfield !) and, of course, it served thousands of ramblers at weekends and holidays on their way to Kinder. A late victim of the Beeching cuts, it closed in 1970 (on the same day as the Rose Hill-Macclesfield line), but as is noted in this book the closure was largely unnecessary and a matter of regret even today.

The Foxline series of railway photographic books, 'Scenes from the past', has now reached its 45th volume, although there are actually over 50 books, since some volumes are in two parts. We have been waiting patiently for a volume on the railway to Hayfield and it will be no surprise to those who know this series that we are not disappointed.

Of the 136 pages describing the line from London Road [Piccadilly] to Hayfield, including a 10 page introduction, 30 are devoted to the New Mills- Hayfield section. Greg Fox, of course, has an unrivalled encyclopaedic knowledge of railways of the Manchester region and in addition has many friends and colleagues, railway photographers, on whom he can call for historic photographs which many of us will not have previously seen. There are some astonishing prints in this book of pre-war and post-war scenes along the New Mills-Birch Vale-Hayfield route, which it is impossible to do justice here. Perhaps the most astonishing are those taken along the former line in the vicinity of the present leisure centre and health centre on Hyde Bank Road. When the railway was closed in 1970 and converted to the Sett Valley Trail, a deep cutting here was filled in from the spoil of the demolished embankment which carried the railway over High Hill Road about one mile away, a view changed completely beyond recognition. There are wonderful scenes of the ramshackle Birch Vale Station with its small goods yard, and amazing scenes of Hayfield dating back to the first decade of the last century There are also plans of station layouts of the utmost clarity.

Every photograph (and there are over 300 !) is accompanied by an authoritative and interesting commentary. This textual material is thoroughly researched and meticulous in detail, not only for the information regarding locomotives and stock, but for vital historical information to do with the physical remains of the buildings and the placing of each scene in the context of route development and company involvement. Such information is not easily otherwise obtainable, if at all. The layout of this book is therefore, like its predecessors, a satisfying combination of evocative scenes and detailed railway history.

Those who know the other books of the series planned and published by Greg Fox will not be surprised to learn that this also bears his mark of meticulous writing, layout, cartography and editing. He has been well served by his printer with clear typography and photographic reproduction. One must not also forget the generosity of the photographers who allow their work to be used and make books like this possible.

Art Exhibition at New Mills Heritage Centre

Wallace Spence, watercolour artist of canal scenes in Derbyshire and Cheshire, is holding his annual exhibition at New Mills Heritage Centre from 15 July to 26 August. Original paintings and prints are for sale. The Centre is open every day except Mondays (open Bank Holidays). Telephone: 01663 746904 and visit its website on .

What is a ship’s pilot?

From the IWA Hertfordshire Branch Newsletter

The following questions were posed and answers given during a recent lecture, to the IWA Hertfordshire Branch, by a Medway Pilot.

What is a Pilot? - He’s a conductor or guide who is responsible for taking a ship safely into its berth.

Why are you called Pilots? - In medieval times we were called lodesmen from a lodestone (a magnetite or compass).

What sort of background do you have? - All pilots need considerable seagoing experience and I worked as a captain for eight years on a ship which ran from Sheerness to the Falklands.

What is a pilots greatest problem? - The weather! We must take all factors into account - wind, depths (there is a hydrographic service available), weather conditions and navigational information. The pilot then decides if it is safe to go.

What about the berthing process? - With very large ships you start slowing down about 10 miles away, (some braking distance)!

Can you practice off water? - Yes. There’s a ship simulator at Southampton.

Are there any female pilots? - Currently just one at Southampton!

How much tolerance is allowed in berthing? - On "normal" ships 60cm (2 feet, for those not yet converted). For the "biggies" 90cm (3 feet)! "Every berthing is a controlled collision"!

Jennifer Thomas, IWPS Southern Correspondent.

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News from the IWA

Railways and Transport Safety Bill

The Railways and Transport Safety Bill, which will introduce new regulations aimed at improving safety on railways and on coastal and inland waterways is progressing through its committee stages. So far as inland waterways interests are concerned, the main effect will be to introduce alcohol limits similar to those presently in force on the roads. There remains some ambiguity about how many crew on a private pleasure boat might be affected the proposed new law, but the following quote from the Minister for Shipping, David Jamieson MP, during one of the committee hearings offers the best guidance yet:

"Probably one person would be in charge of a recreational vessel, and we want this part of the Bill to catch that person. I do not think that we would want others on board the vessel - people having a good time and playing no part in the navigation or steerage of the boat to be similarly included. However, there may be occasions when more than one person is responsible for the safe passage of the vessel. Those other people would be held responsible."

Red Diesel

With effect from April 2003, boatyards selling red diesel now have to register with H M Customs & Excise, which will undertake checks to ensure that those selling 'controlled oils' are suitable to do so. The measure is designed to crack down on fraudulent use of red diesel, but may have the side effect of persuading some retailers to give up the sale if its profitability is only marginal.

As a 'Registered Dealer in Controlled Oils', retailers are required to check that red diesel is only sold to people who have a legitimate use for it. Where any individual sale exceeds 100 litres, and the supply is not made direct into the fuel tank of a boat or vehicle permitted to use diesel, the supplier is required to record the customer's name, address, terms of payment, quantity and type of oil supplied and what the customer states it is going to be used for. In some circumstances, a vehicle registration number and VAT registration number may need to be recorded.

Boat Safety Scheme

Following several boat fires and the recent deaths near Warwick, the Boat Safety Scheme office has initiated an assessment of solid fuel stoves within craft on the inland waterways. A boat surveyor, who is also an examiner under the Boat Safety Scheme, has been commissioned to carry out an industry wide survey on accidents and incidents relating to solid fuel stoves.

The navigation authorities have a poor record on the collection of accident information, generally only those with fatal results being reported. In the first instance the assessor is attempting to determine roughly how many accidents or incidents occur in a year. He would be grateful to receive details or experience of fires, fume inhalation or damaged stoves causing problems along with the date and type of boat. These can be sent, through IWA Head Office, to John Baylis, who is IWA's representative on the Boat Safety Scheme Committees for him to pass on, in confidence, to the assessor.

British Waterways' Waterway Standards

BW has announced that it intends to carry out a major revision of the waterway standards that it developed during the 1990's, which currently cover navigations and environs. It aims to publish a consultation paper during October 2003, and will allow at least twelve weeks for feedback.

BW's proposed terms of reference for this work are:

1) To examine the current waterway standards, last updated in November 1999, and to determine their relevance to current waterway user requirements, the relevance of the contract standard and the ease of measuring and monitoring the standard levels.

2) To examine the need for additional standards to meet the requirements of a wider customer base.

3) To distinguish between standards related to physical attributes of the waterways and those related to service provision, and to recommend suitable minimum and target service level delivery standards.

4) To consider ways to make the link between maintenance programmes, budgets and waterway standards so that outputs for the customer can be related to the inputs and business plans.

5) To develop standards that are consistent with BW's desire to retain the Charter Mark

6) To improve the standards for the benefit of our customers and visitors

BW has indicated that it would welcome written comments, by 31st July (to be sent to Sally Ash at Willow Grange), as a pre-consultation stage, on:

a) the proposed terms of reference

b) any specific ideas and suggestions that user groups would like the

BW project team to consider in preparing the consultation paper.

Marinas on Inland Waterways

Following representations from British Marine Federation, British Waterways has announced that its waterside business activities would benefit from greater transparency to counter claims of unfair competition. BW, with assistance from British Marine Federation, intends to develop a Code of Practice about how it should operate its waterside business interests. This Code of Practice is due to be issued for consultation shortly with interested parties.

BW has also announced that it intends to establish a separate, wholly owned subsidiary company as one way of establishing greater clarity in its waterway-related business activities. The marinas that BW operates would then be transferred into this subsidiary company, which would trade in the same way as any other private operator, with the equivalent of business rates and connection fees being paid to BW. Thus BW should be able to demonstrate that such operations are producing a profit, which can be put towards improved maintenance

and development of the waterways.

Anderton Boat Lift

The Anderton Boat Lift Operations Centre was formally opened on 28th April by HRH the Prince of Wales. The Lift was closed to the public and for use by boats on the day. The Operation Centre cost about £1 million to construct and equip, and includes an exhibition about the Lift, children's entertainment, a gift shop and café - and is open daily from Easter to the beginning of November.

During the speeches at the opening ceremony, both HRH the Prince of Wales and Robin Evans, BW's chef executive, were at pains to highlight the volunteer contribution to the restoration of the Lift. The Prince took a ride down the Lift and took the helm of the boat, Edwin Clark, for a trip on the Weaver once it had descended onto the river, and subsequently docked the boat for passengers to embark without any assistance or guidance other than asking where to moor up.

Droitwich Canals

Announcements made during April indicate that the £9.5 million funding needed to complete restoration of the Droitwich Canals is near to being put in place. The Heritage Lottery Fund has given first stage approval for a grant of £4.5 million and Advantage West Midlands, the regional development agency, gave its first stage approval of £2.8 million funding in January 2003. Wychavon District Council and Worcestershire County Council promised contributions of about £1 million each many months ago.

British Waterways, on behalf of the Droitwich Canals Restoration Partnership, is now preparing detailed bids for the second stage of the Heritage Lottery Fund application, the likely outcome of which is likely to be known in about November 2003. A final decision from Advantage West Midlands is due before this announcement.

To complete the funding package, the voluntary sector will need to provide up to in £296,000 equivalent in labour costs, once the grant offers have all been confirmed. The largest single cost of the restoration project is likely to be £1.3 million to build a new A449 trunk road crossing.

Droitwich Canals Trust, the other member of the partnership in addition to BW and the two local authorities, has been actively involved in promoting the restoration of the canals since it was formed by local IWA members in 1973 and, with support from Waterway Recovery Group, has already completed a substantial amount of restoration work including the summit pound and locks on the Barge Canal and the re-opening of the Junction Canal locks with funding from a £100,000 grant from IWA last year.

The restored Droitwich Canals should generate an additional income of about £2.75m per annum within the local economy, with about 330,000 visits per annum to the canals and to Droitwich Spa within five years. This would make it the fifth most visited tourist attraction in Worcestershire.

Once complete, the canals will be the final part in a 21-mile cruising ring, along with parts of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and river Severn. The new cruising waterway would contribute substantially to the regeneration of Droitwich Spa town centre with the development of a 2-acre canalside site and marina, which is likely to increase local property values by up to 15%.

In addition to providing a boost for the local economy, the canal restoration will create just over six hectares of new reed beds and habitat improvements to benefit otters, birds, water voles and amphibians. There are over forty structures of significant heritage importance along the canals, all of which the partnership plans to sensitively restore or conserve.

Driffield Navigation

A report by Atkins Consultants on the status of Driffield Navigation, and the feasibility of its restoration to navigable use over the full length of the waterway, has been completed. The report was commissioned by East Riding of Yorkshire Council, on behalf of the Driffield Area Partnership and Driffield Navigation Trust, and funded from the Single Regeneration Budget.

The report concludes that Driffield Navigation should be restored to navigable use to Riverhead in Driffield, requiring the restoration of all locks and the replacement of Snakeholme, Wansworth and Winhill bridges with lifting structures. However, the report also concludes that West Beck should not be restored, at present, and that boating on this section should not be encouraged.

The Navigation originally opened in 1770, ran from Driffield to Fisholme and consisted of four timber-floored locks: at Driffield (Sheepwash - now Town Lock), at Whinhill, at Wansford and at Snakeholme. Later improvements added another lock at Struncheon Hill. The last cargo carrying boat reached Driffield in 1945 marking the end of trade, and consequentially maintenance. By the late 1960's, passage beyond Brigham Bridge was impossible. In 2002, a new bridge was installed at Brigham and boats can now reach Snakeholme Locks.

Because the Navigation was built for the public good, rather than for profit, commissioners, who were supposed to appoint replacement commissioners as the need arose, administered it. With the decline of the navigation, the commissioners failed to make the necessary appointments and the last commissioner died in 1972. However, in 1978, the Charity Commission appointed new commissioners under the 1767 Act.

In order to reopen the navigation to Driffield, repairs are required to the locks at Wansford, Whinhill and Town Lock at Driffield, and to the staircase locks at Snakeholme. Wansford Road Bridge needs to be replaced by a swing or lifting bridge that would be electrically operated, and the bridges over Snakeholme and Whinhill locks need to be replaced by hand-operated lifting bridges.

The biggest challenge to reopening the navigation is dredging of silt to allow passage by pleasure boats. If this were laid on an international football pitch, the pitch would be 13 metres (43 feet) deep in silt. Sites for disposal of this silt have yet to be identified.

The estimated cost of full restoration of the navigation is about £6.4 million, and operating and maintenance costs would be about £32,000 and £84,000 per annum respectively. The restored Navigation would provide a valuable resource for residents and businesses in Driffield and surrounding villages, but the report estimates that economic benefits to the area would be worth only about £310,300 additional income per annum.

Once open, the Navigation could be used by craft similar to those that use the river Ouse through York, although the two waterways are separated by the tidal Humber, which is usually considered as unsuitable for inland boaters without substantial waterways experience.

Peak Forest Canal

A stone memorial tribute celebrating the life of Dr Cyril Boucher has been installed near Marple Aqueduct on the Peak Forest Canal, and was jointly unveiled on 14th April by IWA national chairman John Fletcher, local MP Andrew Stunnell and representatives of Cyril Boucher's family, British Waterways and local waterway users.

Dr Cyril T G Boucher was IWA's honorary consultant engineer for many years, but is probably better known for his inspirational role in ensuring the restoration of the Peak Forest Canal and as a guiding influence on many other waterway restorations in the North West and elsewhere in the country.

Cyril Boucher was a civil engineer, craftsman and university lecturer - and made lock gates in his basement at home. The basement also served as volunteer accommodation for those who travelled great distances to work on the canal. The gates Cyril made were of good quality and used on the restored canal for many years. Much to the outrage of local BW management at the time, the balance beams to the gates bore the carved logo of the Peak Forest Canal Society. The same logo is included on the memorial stone. The Society's work parties eventually evolved into Waterway Recovery Group North West.

The interpretative memorial was funded by contributions from the Etherow Goyt Partnership (part of the Mersey Basin Campaign), British Waterways and IWA's North West Region.

The Peak Forest Canal was an important connection between Dukinfield Basin, near Manchester, and the quarries of the Peak District. It opened throughout in 1804 but had fallen into disuse in the 1960's. IWA and the Peak Forest Canal Society, of which Cyril Boucher was a leading member of both, led a vigorous campaign to restore both the Peak Forest and Ashton Canals and to keep the Rochdale Canal open through Manchester.

The canals were reopened in 1974 and sparked the subsequent restorations of the Huddersfield Narrow and Rochdale canals - and much else of the recent revival of waterways in the North West. Cyril made a point of walking the Rochdale Canal from end to end for over twenty years whilst restoration was under way.

River Trent

The demolition, by British Waterways' contractors of Longhorse Bridge, which carried the Trent towing path across the river from Sawley to Shardlow, has served as a timely reminder that failure to undertake proper maintenance of historic structures can lead to disastrous consequences. Although the cast concrete bridge was built by the Trent Navigation Company in 1932, it was unique as the last surviving bridge of its type on the river.

British Waterways considered that the bridge was unsafe and therefore had to be demolished. BW had been aware of the bridge's deteriorating condition for several years and had announced plans that the bridge would be replaced at a local user groups' meeting just over a year ago, although the date for the bridge's demolition was only made public in mid-April 2003 with the issue of a navigation stoppage notice. IWA argued that demolition should be delayed so that at least parts of the structure could be preserved. English Heritage declined to list the structure. The canal towing path in Derbyshire is a Conservation Area, but unfortunately the bridge falls just outside the

boundary, although it was a continuation of the canal's towing path. Despite IWA's representations, BW insisted that the bridge had deteriorated to such an extent that it could not be saved and that it had begun to represent a hazard to the public.

IWA agrees that the bridge was unsafe and that something had to be done. However, the Association felt that to completely demolish the bridge was in contravention of BW's heritage commitments. IWA argued that at the least the main arch should be saved and re-erected on the land alongside the bridge as a memorial of the work done by the Trent navigation Company. This land is alongside fishing lakes, part of the flood plain and if re-erected at a low level the bridge would not have posed a health & safety danger. BW says that it hopes to save some of the more interesting parts of the bridge and will consider if they can be preserved.

The Trent Navigation Company ran the navigation on the River Trent from Gainsborough to Burton-on-Trent up to nationalisation of the waterways in 1947, although the section from Shardlow to Burton was disused by this time. After the First World War, Nottingham City Council re-built seven locks between Nottingham and the tideway, as a job creation scheme to improve traffic to Nottingham. Other bridges and mooring wharfs were often built in reinforced concrete, but this bridge and the locks that were built in mass concrete are the only survivors.

The Right Tool for the Right Job Appeal

IWA's appeal to raise funds for WRG equipment 'The Right Tool for the Right Job' has now exceeded £25,000 since its launch in February. Funds are continuing the flow steadily in - although there is still a long way to go to reach the £75,000 target.

At the Aston Locks reopening weekend, in April, a 'Race Night' organised by Brian Bayston of IWA's Warwickshire Branch, and supported by over 100 WRG supporters and members of IWA's Shropshire and Border Counties branch and WRG raised £3000 pounds. This was partly in donations on the night and part in corporate 'matching' sponsorship of the organisers, including Vodafone and Barclays Bank PLC. This was further increased by a donation from IWA's Shropshire and Border Counties' branch, bringing the total to £3500.

Many other IWA branches have also been generous in their donations, which have come from their own fundraising efforts. For example IWA's Northampton Branch made sufficient surplus at its annual May boat rally in Northampton to donate £1000 to the appeal.

The Waterways Trust

Following a trustees' meeting on 12th June, The Waterways Trust has announced a series of changes arising from an in depth review of its policies and activities. These moves reflect principally the changed circumstances following completion of the Rochdale Canal, Anderton Lift and Ribble Link projects in which the Trust had a significant involvement, and income targets not meeting ambitious expectations.

The principles agreed by trustees as a framework for the Trust's future are:

* To develop its fundraising programme, concentrating on projects where the Trust as a charity believes it can make a difference. General fundraising is to be continued where it can be shown to be cost effective.

* To further co-ordinate the management of the museums under the new Director, to improve their performance as visitor attractions, and realise the museum's full potential as designated collections of national importance.

* To focus the Trust's waterway restoration facilitation activities on a more limited range of projects, which will be closely tied to the availability of resources.

In order to reduce its cost base, the Trust will relocate its head office from Watford to the National Waterways Museum in Gloucester Docks by the end of August, with some administrative staff reductions. This move will save costs and provide increased support for the Museum and Gloucester-based archives operations.

Graham Clark, the Trust's Commercial and Finance Director, will leave the organisation. A replacement finance officer will be appointed in Gloucester. Tav Kazmi has been seconded to British Waterways in London and Antony Tiernan, the Trust's Public Affairs Manager will work out of BW's offices in Watford.

The Trust will soon advertise for candidates to join the board of trustees, one to succeed Sir Neil Cossons who comes to the end of his term as a trustee and chairman later this year, another with chartered accountancy or other suitable qualifications to become honorary treasurer, and also a legal specialist.

The Trust is also to set up two new committees of trustees. A Management Committee has been set up to support the executive and oversee the management of the Trust, and a Museums and Archives Management Board will be established to oversee the management of the Museums and Archives. This Board, as a formal committee of the Trust, will be developed from the present Museums and Archives Division Committee which has representatives from the Boat Museum Trust, National Waterways Museum Trust and British Waterways.

The Trust has reaffirmed its commitments to managing high quality visitor attractions based on the nationally important collections in its care, to improving the conservation of the objects and records, and public access to them. The Trust has appointed or reaffirmed a site manager at each of its three museums who now has direct responsibility for all aspects of the visitor experience, including display of the collection, trading activity, and staff management.

The Trust has also announced that within this management framework it wishes to see much greater involvement for volunteers who already provide vital support to the care and conservation of the collections and records. One post (Visitor Services Manager) has been made redundant at Ellesmere Port. Site management responsibilities are Tracey McNaboe at Ellesmere Port, Alison Smith at Stoke Bruerne, while Mike Brooksbank, director, is also acting manager at the National Waterways Museum at Gloucester.

The curatorial function will be centred at Ellesmere Port where the Trust faces its greatest curatorial challenges. Tony Conder will be leaving the organisation, as he does not wish to move to Ellesmere

Port. The post of curator reporting to the director will hold responsibility for conservation of the collection, curatorial priorities, and funding, working with the fundraising team. A qualified curatorial post will be retained at Gloucester as part of the site team. The detail of these changes remains the subject of consultation with Trust staff affected. There are no changes to the management of the waterways archives in the Trust's care.

Cotswold Canals

British Waterways, on behalf of the Cotswold Canals Partnership, submitted a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant towards the first phase of the restoration the Cotswold Canals, at the end of June.

This phase is planned to restore the 12km (7-mile) Stroudwater Navigation, from Saul Junction, close to Gloucester, to Stroud, and a further 4km (2 miles) of the Thames & Severn Canal from Stroud to Brimscombe, is likely to cost about £40million and to take up to five years. British Waterways says it has secured sufficient local support and match funding for the restoration of this first phase, enabling it to submit a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for around half the funds needed.

Stroud District Council has committed £1.25 million to the project through direct funding and securing developers' contributions. The Council's Cabinet has recently recommended that the Council should make a further £1 million available to the project.

Recent research predicts that restoration of the Stroudwater Navigation and Thames & Severn Canal will be a catalyst for both urban and rural regeneration, would bring 1.7 million new visitor days to the area each year, generate £6.8 million per year for the local economy and create 200 permanent new jobs in tourism alone.

The promoters plan to undertake the project in phases:

* The restoration of the Stroudwater Navigation and 4km of the Thames & Severn from Stroud to Brimscombe Port and the establishment of a walking trail across the entire 58km (36-mile) length.

* The restoration of the Thames & Severn Canal from the Thames at Inglesham to the Cotswold Water Park via Cricklade.

* Connecting the Cotswold Canals to Swindon through the North Wilts Canal.

* Restoring the Thames & Severn Canal from Brimscombe to Sapperton Tunnel west portal and from Sapperton Tunnel east portal to Lechlade.

* Restoring the 21/4-mile Sapperton Tunnel

The project is backed by a strong community partnership made up of British Waterways, The Waterways Trust, The Cotswold Canals Trust, Stroud District Council, Cotswold District Council, North Wiltshire District Council, Gloucester County Council, Wiltshire County Council,

The Environment Agency, Cotswold Water Park Society, the South West Regional Development Agency, Learning & Skills Council, South West Tourism, Company of Proprietors Stroudwater Navigation and IWA.

Last month The Waterways Trust launched The Cotswold Canals Appeal inviting members of the public to back the restoration with a donation. It is hoped that the Appeal will secure a public contribution of £750,000 towards the cost of the restoration. For more information on the appeal, or to make a donation 0845 0700 710 or write to The Waterways Trust, FREEPOST NWW8200A, Ellesmere Port, CH65 4ZZ.

Fens Waterway Link

IWA has contributed £2,000 towards an implementation plan to construct The Fens Waterways Link. The plan will progress the project to a position where funds can be secured to start constructing the new waterway.

The Fens Waterways Link is a partnership project to develop a new navigation link in the Fens for broad beam craft, connecting Boston, Lincolnshire with the Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire. It will enable most inland waterway boats to travel between the northern waterways, via the Trent, Fossdyke and Witham navigations, and the Nene, which in turn connects with the Great Ouse and the Middle Level.

Once the Bedford to Milton Keynes Waterway is complete, broad craft will be able to reach the Grand Union Canal and other southern waterways. This new circuit would encompass the cathedral cities of Lincoln, Peterborough and Ely. It will create 87km of extra navigable waterways in the low-lying Fens and make a further 160km more accessible to increased numbers of people.

The Environment Agency - supported by local councils, development agencies, East Anglian Waterways Association, and IWA - collectively Fens Waterways Regeneration Strategy Group - has previously commissioned two pre-feasibility studies, which identified the preferred ring to link the cities.

These studies identified major engineering issues along the route at Padholme and Peakirk Pumping Stations, Fulney Lock, Guthram Gowt, Hermitage Lock, Salter's Lode, Fenton Lode and Denver Sluice. Other important considerations are the restoration of the South Forty Foot Drain, and the conservation of the Great Ouse and Nene Washes, both recognised by the European Union as sites of environmental significance.

Initial studies have indicated that the project is a major opportunity for development and regeneration. Increased tourism and more diversified employment opportunities are expected, as well as improved management of flood risk and a more integrated navigation system in the Fens.

The initial phase of the Implementation Plan is due to be completed by the end of 2003 and work to improve recreational and tourist facilities should then begin. Construction of the entire link could take as long as twenty years.

The project is being part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, East Midlands Development Agency, Lincolnshire County Council & the Environment Agency. Other Funding Partners include Boston Borough Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, East Anglian Waterways Association, Fenland District Council, South Holland District Council and IWA, with significant support from Fens Tourism.

Rochdale Canal

British Waterways has closed of the Rochdale Canal between Tuel Lock at Sowerby Bridge and Lock 65 at Failsworth until about 18th July. This follows the failure of three lock gates dating back before the 2001/02 restoration. BW has accelerated a detailed inspection of all similar gates along the canal because it is concerned for public safety, and will undertake this work immediately.

The inspections will be undertaken in a phased programme involving the dewatering of nineteen locks to allow tests on timber below the waterline, including dealing with statutory nature reserves. Where locks can be safely brought back into use, this will be notified locally as the phased works progress.

Stratford-upon-Avon Canal

Major works by British Waterways and construction firm AWG are underway on three Grade II* listed aqueducts on the South Stratford Canal. Conservation works started on Edstone Aqueduct at the end of May and an archaeological dig is taking place at Wootton Wawen Aqueduct. 22 weeks of work has also started at Edstone Aqueduct. These works will include: 2000m# of shot blasting and 8000m# of painting (four coats) to the cast-iron trough twelve metres above the ground, over 200m# of brickwork repairs, the construction of a new towing path and drainage system on the aqueduct. Handrails are being repaired too.

There will also be new car parks with improved access and signage making the aqueducts easier to visit, as well as an extensive events and education programme to involve local communities over the next twelve months. Activities currently being planned include a community arts project, a series of guided walks by archaeologists, engineers and bat experts and a heritage open weekend to celebrate the project. Due to the works, public access is not currently available to Edstone aqueduct; however there are diversion signs in place from the towpaths and the works can be seen from the diverted path.

At 146 metres long and twelve metres high, Edstone Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in England. It was built in 1814 and carries the canal over a road, railway lines, a small river and meadows.

Wootton Wawen Aqueduct was built in 1813 and is a Scheduled Ancient Monument. It has had many structural alterations due to damage caused by being hit by vehicles.

The original Yarningale Aqueduct was built between 1812 and 1816 but, following a flood in 1834, the aqueduct was washed away. It was replaced in just 26 days!

The total value of the work on the three aqueducts is about £1.2 million, of which the Heritage Lottery Fund has funded £500,000. This will ensure the full restoration of all three aqueducts to almost new condition.

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James Brindley - a 20th Century Anecdote!

By Jennifer Thomas - IWPS southern correspondent.

You will all know where the statue of James Brindley is at Etruria (in the garden of an Old Folks Complex for safety), overlooking the T & M and Caldon Canals. But do you know how ‘he’ got there?

Private enterprise and apprentice skills founded and created the statue, but the IWA undertook its transportation.

Enter: s.b FMC’s President, with its borrowed butty and the privately owned FMC’s Vulcan, both resplendent in fresh red, black and white livery.

Location: St Catherine’s Dock, London

Crew: Friends of President in traditional 1909 gear

Publicity: Radio Stoke, doing live broadcast.

‘James’ arrived, wrapped in plastic on the back of the foundry’s lorry, equipped with a simple, single-sling, skip hoist. The drop from bankside to hold was 12ft. This caused some anxiety as the hoist was temperamental and the boat, not only elderly, but wooden bottomed and awaiting a new one! Hastily the crew arranged a complex layered cradle of scaffold planks and were prepared to swim if the boat listed!

The hoist was on a good day and ‘James’ was slowly lowered into position, the cradle removed. After secure lashing, ‘James’ made his way majestically across the inner dock to its very public berth alongside Vulcan. (It’s a sight I’ll always remember - flat calm, a swan in attendance, a triumphant whistle from President and a wake that trailed back to the lorry where the men were waving).

All was well you’re thinking - well no it wasn’t.

An unusual problem presented itself. During the loading, the heavy plastic covering was ripped and then stripped away so the lashings could be extremely secure. It’s considered to be unlucky for a statue to be seen before its public unveiling, so where in the middle of a dock on a Saturday morning do you find covering? The heavy tarpaulins were President’s covers so couldn’t be cut or used.

If you’re the sweet-talking chairman of ‘FOP’ then you wipe your boots, doff your cap and enter the most prestigious hotel in the area (redevelopment has some advantages after all!). "Help yourself to as many sheets as you need from the laundry, only please take the torn ones!" Problem solved! We had three heavy cotton doubles, more than enough.

Picture the scene: James now swathed in white cotton, his noble head gazing at the water, anticipating his final cruise; his final journey would last a month and, Thames apart, travel along his canals to Etruria. (One expected a regal wave he was so majestic.) However, back in St Catherine’s and on show whilst waiting for the tide and the PLA escort, the live crew were waiting for a cuppa. Yes, yours truly was on duty! Vulcan’s galley had a very useful sliding window, useful, that is, when boats are a breasted pair. Even more useful as a preferred option for a tray of teas’ delivery when the alternative is ducking under bulkheads, clambering up steep steps and across sterns in a long skirt and wooden clogs. I called through to the crewman, "take this for me please and I’ll pass the biscuits afterwards." No response, he didn’t even turn round.

Someone hollered from the stern for the teas and I called back that I was passing them through the window.

And that’s when the penny dropped. The unco-operative crewman was .....James Brindley!

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A Tribute to the Life of Thomas Brown of Manchester (1772 – 1850)

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

by Peter J Whitehead

The Ashton, Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals

Little is known about the life of Thomas Brown and the following events have been pieced together in attempt to illustrate some of his achievements. It is now known that in the 1790s and into the early 1800s that his career was inextricably linked, initially with the construction of the Ashton Canal and its several branches, and then with the construction of the Peak Forest Canal and Tramway. He acted as the surveyor for both the Ashton and Peak Forest Canal Companies and then as the resident engineer for the latter company working alongside Benjamin Outram who had been appointed as the consulting engineer. In particular, the Minute Book of the Peak Forest Canal Company makes a number of references to him.

It was his work as a surveyor and engineer that brought his name to prominence and it is for these two roles that he is best remembered. In the 1830s, more than thirty years after his appointment as the surveyor for the Ashton Canal Company, the newly incorporated Macclesfield Canal Company appointed him as their resident engineer but the real enigma is what did he do in the intervening years? New evidence shows that primarily Thomas Brown was a businessman who was engaged in the everyday business of working coalmines, quarries and lime works. He also had interests in trading in stone, various minerals, clay, sand and earth. On the financial side he dealt in real estate and the stock of corporations (i.e. local authorities) and companies, such as railways, canals and docks. For instance, besides being the surveyor for the Macclesfield Canal Company he was also a shareholder. He also possessed considerable personal estate as well.

On the 30th August 1791, the Manchester Mercury carried a notice about a Bill for the proposed Rochdale Canal that included a branch to or near Oldham from Manchester by way of Newton (Newton Heath), Moston, Failsworth and Chadderton. As a consequence of this, a fortnight later on the 13th September 1791, another notice was carried announcing a parliamentary petition for an independent Manchester to Ashton-under-Lyne and Oldham Canal and that there was to be a meeting as soon as particulars were prepared. On the 18th October and again on the 1st November 1791 the Manchester Mercury referred to this meeting and affirmed that the idea was well received and that £21,000 was subscribed on the spot. On the 22nd November the Manchester Mercury reported that the amount required was raised and that plans and estimates were being prepared. It is now known that Thomas Brown was responsible for this work.

Similarly, the Peak Forest Canal Company appointed Thomas Brown as their surveyor but, unlike the Ashton Canal Company, they also appointed him as their resident engineer to work alongside Benjamin Outram who had been appointed as their consulting engineer. He surveyed the route for the proposed Peak Forest Canal and in 1793 he deposited his plans for it, which included a tramway as far as the nearest limestone deposits at Loads Knowl1. The canal was to commence at Dukinfield, from the Tame aqueduct of the Ashton Canal, and the line was through Dukinfield, Newton, Hyde, Werneth, Bredbury, Romiley, Marple, Disley and Whaley to terminate at Chapel Milton. From there a tramway was to complete the line to Loads Knowl. There was also to be a short branch canal to Whaley Bridge. His plan showed that the proposed canal and tramway cut through 183 plots of land that would require compulsory purchase. It also identified the location of minerals such as building stone, flag, slate and coal. Stone and flag, in particular, could be used during the construction stage and all the minerals could be exploited afterwards as sources of revenue in addition to the primary one of transporting limestone and lime.

From the outset there was always a good working relationship between the Ashton and Peak Forest Canal Companies and this was exemplified in January 1803 when it was announced that,

'---- Proprietors of the Ashton and the Peak Forest Canal agree and approve the principle of association together for the common good'.

However, the Ashton Canal Company was not prepared to extend this friendship too far when, on the 3rd October 1803, it was determined that boats belonging to the Peak Forest Canal Company were to pay the Ashton Canal Company ¼d for every lock passed through when assistance was given by a lock keeper. More critical in this friendship, was the failure of the Ashton Canal Company to appoint Thomas Brown and Benjamin Outram as their two engineers. The exact reason for this lapse will probably never be known but it would appear that it was not economic.

On the 31st July 1792 the Ashton Canal Company placed an advertisement in the Manchester Mercury.

'The Company of proprietors want an engineer to superintend the cutting of a canal, and contractors to execute the work. The cutting is to be let in several lengths. Applications are invited.'

While the company did not appear to have any difficulty in attracting contractors to cut the canal, it was unable to find two engineers. It is possible that their hard-pressed agent, James Meadows Senior, was called in to cover for both roles and that Thomas Brown and Benjamin Outram may have advised on a purely ad hoc basis. It is not even known whether or not they were ever offered appointments, or if they were, then why did they refuse?

In 1793 progress on cutting the Ashton Canal was progressing but key staff was still required. On the 27th August 1793 the Ashton Canal Company placed yet another advertisement in the Manchester Mercury.

'The Company are in want of an engineer to superintend the cutting of the Canal and several branches. The cutting of the Canal from Clayton to Heaton Norris (Stockport Branch) and from Taylor's Barn, Reddish to Beat Bank, Denton (Beat Bank Branch), is to be let in several different lengths.'

This advertisement was a cry for a resident engineer but they had not got a consulting engineer either. As far as the latter was concerned, it was as late as 1798 when this particular problem seems to have been finally resolved. At this juncture the Ashton Canal Company was actively promoting good relations with rival canal companies and they were looking forward to collaboration with the Peak Forest, Rochdale and Huddersfield Canal Companies. The outcome of this was that Benjamin Outram was finally appointed as their consulting engineer. This appointment took effect around the middle of 1798 and on the 21st June 1798 their Minute Book states,

'The works of the canal have been in many instances improperly managed for want of the assistance of a proper engineer.'

The first reference to Benjamin Outram appears in their Minute Book in September 1798 but there is no mention of Thomas Brown.

Marple Lime Works and Hyde & Haughton Colliery

Concurrently with his canal building activities, Thomas Brown was probably collaborating in other private business ventures and the first mention of this is with the partnership of Messrs Wright and Brown. The precise nature of this partnership may never be unravelled but a little more light has now been shed onto it.

It has been established that the 'Wright' in this partnership was Strethill Wright the Younger of Knutsford, Cheshire. Strethill predeceased Thomas and the latter left bequests to his widow, Elizabeth, and daughter, Mary. However the use of the word 'Younger' denotes that there was a 'Senior' and it may be that Wright Senior was once Thomas Brown's business partner as well. To compound matters, in the early years of the 19th century there was another Messrs Wright and Brown and this partnership was based at Macclesfield. Directories describe them as attorneys and they had premises at Market Place. Further investigation of directories showed that in 1816/17 the attorney David Brown had premises at Market Place and that the attorney John Wright had premises at the nearby Jordangate. From this evidence it was concluded that there was no connection between the two partnerships and that having the same name was merely a coincidence.

Samuel Oldknow was a proprietor and major shareholder in the Peak Forest Canal Company and he built a lime works (and a water-powered corn mill), at Marple, close to the top lock, in order that he could receive supplies of limestone along the Peak Forest Canal. Coal to fire these kilns was supplied from Hag Bank at Disley and, as this was prior to the construction of the Macclesfield Canal, this was carted in along poorly maintained roads. Coal was also mined around Marple and registration details from 1837 onwards demonstrate the presence of 'collier' as an occupation in the area. Oldknow's interest in his lime works was, however, to wane and by 1805 it was reported that his business there was in decline. By 1808 the situation had worsened and Oldknow blamed the poor trading conditions on the Napoleonic war.

'---- the war as it were swept away the means of effecting great designs.'

By 1811 Oldknow had had enough of it and he decided to move out of the lime burning business. Consequently, he leased his lime works to Messrs Wright & Brown and this included the canal basin by the top lock, works tramway, lime sheds and other assets. Note that he did not sell the lime works so he would have still received a chief rent from it. Oldknow died in 1828 and, as he was in deeply in debt to the Arkwright family, the whole of his estate around Marple and Mellor became their property and this would automatically have included his lime works and neighbouring corn mill. At a later date the corn mill was converted to a mineral mill and merged with the lime works to become one enterprise.

It is unclear for how long Messrs Wright and Brown worked Marple Lime Works but in 1834 a John Clayton & Company was working them. The name 'John Clayton' produces yet another quandary that cannot be satisfactorily resolved. Following on from the death of Strethill Wright, Thomas Brown refers to a William Clayton as being his business partner but William Clayton was also in a partnership with a David Shaw Clayton. Were John, David Shaw and William Clayton related to each other or was this just a coincidence? If the three men were related, then it is possible that Thomas Brown still had an interest in Marple Lime Works during the time that John Clayton & Company worked it. To compound matters it is also understood that John Clayton was the half-brother and successor of Samuel Oldknow.

His Good Relations with the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canal Companies

It has been possible to explore the kind of relationship that Thomas had with the Proprietors of the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals. It is clear that they held him in high regard and this is reflected in presentations that the two companies made to him. The Peak Forest Canal Company presented him with two silver tureens, complete with ladles, and the Macclesfield Canal Company presented him with four silver side dishes, complete with covers. Additionally, George Hyde Clarke Esquire (Captain Clarke of Hyde), who was a prominent shareholder of the Peak Forest Canal Company, presented him with a silver cup.

The land around the Peak Forest Canal in Hyde was rich in coal deposits, particularly to the south of the canal down to the river Tame and up the other side of the valley into the village of Haughton, which is now part of Denton. Initially there were many shallow pits and drift mines in this area but as these became exhausted deeper shafts were sunk to exploit even richer seams and three coalmines in particular were prominent among these deeper pits. One was Hyde & Haughton Colliery, adjacent to the Peak Forest Canal at Hyde change bridge, the second was Kingston Colliery, close to the river and the third was Broomstair Colliery on the far side of the river at Haughton. It is now known that Thomas Brown and William Clayton worked Hyde & Haughton Colliery (Hyde Lane pit). At that time a Joseph Holford was the Manager and a Charles Ogden was the Collector. There was formerly a large gravel pit close by this colliery and it is a matter of speculation as to whether or not Messrs Brown & Clayton had an interest in this as well.

His Personal and Real Estate and related matters

With regard to Thomas Brown's holding of personal and real estate this consisted of a variety of land and buildings either owned individually or jointly with William Clayton.

In the late 1820s Thomas resided at Sidney Street, Chorlton Row (off Oxford Road), and by 1841 he had moved to 16 Ardwick Green, Chorlton-upon-Medlock.

His country residence was 'Mow Hole', Disley, Cheshire.

In Manchester his property and land included:

Land at a place called 'the Horrocks'. (The whereabouts of this is unknown).

Land situated near London Road. (Close to the canal basins at Ducie Street).

Land at Granby Row. (Off London Road).

A dwelling at Canal Street. (By the side of the Rochdale Canal between Minshull Street and Princess Street).

Three dwellings in Acton Street. (This was near Granby Row and it no longer extant but Back Acton Street survives).

Three dwellings at Back Pump Street. (This was near Granby Row and it is no longer extant but Pump Street survives).

Two dwellings in the court behind Back Pump Street.

Two shops situate in and adjoining London Road.

In Heaton Norris, Lancashire:

Land and buildings that had been converted into a Boiler Yard. The location of this is unknown, other than it being at the side of the Stockport Branch of the Ashton Canal. The Ashton Canal Company (and its successors) paid Thomas an annual rent of £2 0s 10½d for this.

In Hyde, owned jointly with William Clayton:

Hyde & Haughton Colliery.

In Haughton and in Manchester, owned jointly with William Clayton:

Lands, tenements, rents, monies and real estate. (The nature, extent and whereabouts of these are unknown).

Minerals, et cetera:

Mines, quarries, minerals, stone, clay, sand or earth previously opened or worked or not. (The nature, extent and whereabouts of these are unknown but it is possible that some of them were along the route of the Peak Forest Canal).

Stock holdings:

Corporations, Railways, Canals and Docks. (It is known that he was a shareholder of the Macclesfield Canal Company but whether or not he owned shares in the Ashton and Peak Forest Canal Companies is unknown. However, it is highly likely that he was a shareholder in both companies but this can only be ascertained by an examination of the Acts of Parliament for their construction).

His appointments as a Canal Surveyor and Engineer

The links between five neighbouring canal companies in the Manchester area cannot be separated, even if their proprietors had wanted it to be that way. These were the Ashton, Peak Forest, Macclesfield, Rochdale and Huddersfield Canals. Even prior to their construction they were linked because of a limited number of surveyors and engineers who were capable of doing the work. With this in mind, it is possible to examine their relationship with each other.



Consulting Engineer

Resident Engineer


Thomas Brown

James Meadows Snr (possibly)

then Benjamin Outram

James Meadows Snr (possibly)

Peak Forest

Thomas Brown

Benjamin Outram then Thomas Brown for the construction of Marple Locks only

Thomas Brown


Thomas Telford

Samuel Taylor of Manchester

S Cawley of Macclesfield

William Crosley Jnr

Thomas Brown


John Rennie then

William Jessop /

William Crosley Snr

William Jessop

William Crosley Snr

then Thomas Bradley and Thomas Townsend then William Crosley Jnr after his father’s death in 1796


Nicholas Brown

(No relation to Thomas Brown)

Benjamin Outram then Thomas Telford who advised on the completion of Standedge tunnel

Nicholas Brown

Thomas Brown and Benjamin Outram worked together on the Peak Forest Canal and it is reputed that they designed Marple aqueduct 'Grand Aqueduct' together. Benjamin Outram and William Jessop were partners in Benjamin Outram & Company, which changed its name to the better-known Butterley Company in 1806.

Of the men associated with the construction of these canals, William Jessop was undoubtedly the most experienced engineer of his generation . He also worked with Thomas Telford on the Ellesmere Canal. Telford was 13 years his junior and there was some dissonance in his relationship both with Jessop and fellow junior engineers. In spite of this, Telford was to go on to become a great engineer in his own right.

William Crosley Senior is known for not being able to persuade William Jessop to be the surveyor for the Rochdale Canal Company and subsequently John Rennie, a London surveyor and engineer, was appointed to the post. Rennie oversaw two unsuccessful attempts to get Bills for the construction of the Rochdale Canal through Parliament in 1792 and 1793. William Crosley Senior actually carried out the survey for the deposited plans under the direction of Rennie but after that Rennie seems to fade away from the scene. Afterwards, Jessop went over the line of the canal with Crosley and it appears almost as though his subsequent appointment as consulting engineer was by default; so much did the Rochdale Canal need his services.

From the foregoing it will be seen that these men all knew each other and they frequently worked together but it also becomes clear that Thomas Brown never gained the eminence of his contemporaries in canal construction. It may be that he had no wish to do so because of his other business interests and commitments. Taking the era of 'Canal Mania' to lie between 1789 and 1805, a good measure of a consulting engineers eminence was the number of times that appearances were made before Parliamentary Committees. In this respect, relative appearances were William Jessop (27), John Rennie (16), Robert Whitworth (7), Samuel Bull (6), Robert Mylne (6), Benjamin Outram (4) and Thomas Telford (1).

The career of Thomas Brown with regard to Canal Construction - a Timeline




Thomas Brown surveys the route of the intended Ashton Canal and its several branches and from this he prepared plans and estimates.


Thomas Brown surveys the route of the intended Peak Forest Canal, the Whaley Bridge Branch and the Peak Forest Tramway. He deposits his plans with the Clerk of the Peace for Derbyshire. The canal is to terminate at Chapel Milton and from there a '---- Railway or Stoneroad ----' is to be built to Loads Knowl, near Dove Holes.

The plans foresee two flights of locks, one at Marple and the other at Whitehough, beyond Bugsworth. There are to be three canal tunnels, namely at Butterhouse Green, Hyde Bank and Rosehill, and a railway tunnel at Stodhart. There will be a number of aqueducts, including the 'Grand Aqueduct' over the river Mersey (now the Goyt) at Marple and a smaller one over the Goyt near Bugsworth.

May 1794

The cutting of the canal commences with the laying of the first stone, without ceremony, of the 'Grand Aqueduct' at Marple. Benjamin Outram and Thomas Brown drew up the design for this and the contract for its construction is placed with William Broadhead, Bethell Furness and William Anderson. It will have pierced spandrels, to reduce its weight, and the Welsh bridge builder, William Edwards, influences its design2.

07 July 1794

Thomas Brown is formally appointed as the resident engineer for the canal and tramway. His job specification combines the roles of surveyor and superintendent of works.

July 1795

On the advice of Benjamin Outram and Thomas Brown, the Peak Forest Canal Company agrees to reduce the length of the canal and increase the length of the tramway. This resolution is taken to avert the problem of an adequate water supply to the summit pound at Chapel Milton and to avoid the construction of Whitehough locks. The company agrees '---- to make the canal as far forward towards Chapel Milton as possible ----.' (This happened to be at the village of Bugsworth, that is, at the same level of the canal as at Marple top lock).

16 Jan 1798

Notice in the Manchester Mercury.

'Wanted on the Peak Forest Canal. A person completely qualified to act as a toll collector at Bugsworth, Nr. Whaley Bridge. Apply by letter or personally to Mr. Thomas Brown, the Surveyor, at the Canal Office, Marple I.S. and George Worthington, Clerk to the Company, Altrincham.'

(The inference here this is that Thomas Brown was living at the Marple office while he supervised construction of Marple locks).

Aug 1803

Richard Arkwright loans the Peak Forest Canal Company £24,000 to complete Marple locks.

(Samuel Oldknow initiated this).

Thomas Brown is engaged as the engineer for the construction of the locks3. (This means consulting engineer).

08 Nov 1803

Notice in the Manchester Mercury.

'Lock Building. To Stone Masons. To be let at the navigation Inn, Marple, the building of 16 locks, between the upper and lower levels of the Peak Forest Canal at Marple. The locks are to be chiefly of ashlar stone, which is to be provided at the expense of the contractors from quarries now open for inspection. Plans and specifications may be seen and all particulars will be given on application to Mr. Brown on the premises on the 7th, 8th, 14th, 15th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd of the present month.

Marple, Nr. Stockport, Nov. 7th 1803.'


An Act of Parliament for the Macclesfield Canal becomes effective and cutting and building commences. Thomas Telford takes no further interest and William Crosley Junior and Thomas Brown are appointed as consulting and resident engineers respectively. The line of this 26-mile long canal is from Marple Junction on the Peak Forest Canal to Hall Green, north of Kidsgrove, where it joins the short Hall Green Branch of the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Among the many proprietors (shareholders) are Richard Arkwright, Thomas Brown, James Meadows Junior, Samuel Oldknow and Martha Oldknow

Thomas Brown - the Man

Although no details of his education are known, the foregoing shows that Thomas Brown was a naturally gifted man whose abilities ranged from mathematical and surveying skills, through civil engineering and supervising to that of a businessman. However, some aspects of life are beyond human control and so it was with Thomas Brown whose long life was tinged with some sadness and misfortune. It is practically impossible for us to look back from the 21st century and think in the way that people did in those days. One thing that is certain though is that people in those days were more stoic about adversity and they derived comfort from a strong religious belief.

Thomas was born in 1772 but his place of birth is unknown. Available evidence points to him being born in Manchester area, possibly at the village of Ardwick. Details of his parents are unknown but it is known that he had at least one brother who predeceased him. The reason for his long association with Disley, Cheshire, is also unknown but it is likely that he bought a country residence there in order to better attend to his duties in connection with the construction of the Peak Forest Canal. This was to stand him in good stead when he was appointed as the resident engineer for the Macclesfield Canal because this too passed through Disley.

He married his wife, Elizabeth, around 1799/1800 but no details are known about her. She died at the age of 55 years in 1830, leaving Thomas a widower for the next 20 years until his death in 1850.

Four of his children, Thomas, John Hancock, Frances and Francis, died in infancy but a daughter, Elizabeth, and two sons, William and Richard Hancock, survived him.

His son, William, was of deep concern to him and, to use modern terminology, he was 'special needs'. Thomas was apprehensive about William's welfare so he left a substantial amount of money,

'---- for the maintenance, clothing, board, medicine, attendance and general comfort of and upon my son William Brown for and during the term of his natural life ----.'

William died in 1862 at the age of 56 years.

Thomas was also anxious about his son Richard Hancock. The 1841 census shows that Richard, who was then in his thirties, was occupied as a clerk. He evidently had few of his father's abilities and was unmarried. By 1848 the situation appears to have deteriorated somewhat and

'after the decease of my same Son (Richard Hancock) upon trust for such person and persons (other than and except Harriett Williams now of Chorlton-upon-Medlock aforesaid Public House Keeper) and for such estates ----.'

Thomas then goes on to say,

'Provided nevertheless that in case my said Son (William Hancock) shall at any time before or after my decease intermarry with the said Harriett Williams then the trusts lastly before touching the said sum of ----.'

These words leave readers in no doubt about Thomas's opinion of Harriett Williams and how he was going to deal with the situation if Richard ever married her.

Thomas held his daughter, Elizabeth, in high regard and she married Joseph Scott Moore, a Dublin Solicitor. He trusted and respected his son-in-law sufficiently to appoint him as a Trustee and Executor of his Will. The other Trustees and Executors were James Meadows Junior and Alan Royle. The former was the Agent for the Ashton and Peak Forest Canal Companies and, in 1846, when these were taken over by the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company he was appointed Secretary and Clerk of the railway company to become their General Manager in 1848. For unknown reasons he resigned shortly afterwards to return to canals.

Thomas was also concerned that his grandnephew (and Godson), Thomas Brown, should have as good an education as possible and he made a bequest for this specific purpose. The young Thomas was the son of a John Brown. It is likely that John Brown had other children besides Thomas and their education was also taken care of. Thomas Brown also had another nephew, James Brown, but is not known whether John and James were brothers or cousins.

Thomas was a man of good taste with a liking for the arts and books. His favourite was a large painting '---- commonly called 'Tom Jones' which was heretofore the property of the Father of my late Wife ----.' In addition to this he had other paintings as well as silver, china and glass. He referred to his surveying equipment as '---- my mathematical instruments ----' and he directed that these were to be sold. Obviously no-one in the family was following in his footsteps. Among his books were the Repertory of Arts, Beauties of England and Wales, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Volumes of Mechanics Magazines and Volumes of Blackwoods Magazines.

His household staff was not forgotten either and he left his servant, Catherine Newton, and cook, Dinah, the sum of £10 each.

Thomas Brown and his Family - a Summary

Thomas Brown

Born 1772, died 24th Jan 1850, aged 78 years.

Born in the Manchester area, possibly in Ardwick, and died at 16 Ardwick Green, Chorlton-upon-Medlock. He died of Chronic Bronchitis and the informant was Thomas Heaton, of the same address, who was present at the death. He was buried at St Mary's Church, Disley4, on the 30th Jan 1850, Entry No. 248 on Page 31 of the Burial Register.

Elizabeth Brown, his wife

Born 1774/75, died 7th August 1830, aged 55 years.

Place of birth unknown. Died at Manchester, buried at St Mary's Church, Disley, on the 11th August 1830. Entry No. 814 on Page 102 of the Burial Register.

Thomas Brown, their son

Born October 1801, died 12th Sep 1802, aged 11 months.

Places of birth and death unknown, buried at St Mary's Church, Disley.

Frances Brown, their daughter

Born 1802/03, died 11th Mar 1808, aged 5 years.

Places of birth and death unknown, buried at St Mary's Church, Disley.

John Hancock Brown, their son

Born May 1804, died 4th Aug 1805, aged 1 year and 3 months.

Places of birth and death unknown, buried at St Mary's Church, Disley.

William Brown, their son

Born 1805/06, died 6th Sep 1862, aged 56 years.

Places of birth and death unknown, buried at St Mary's Church, Disley.

Francis Brown, their son

Born Dec 1808, died 2nd Jan 1809, aged 1 month.

Places of birth and death unknown, buried at St Mary's Church, Disley.

Elizabeth Brown, their daughter

Dates of birth and death unknown.

Places of birth and death unknown.

Richard Hancock Brown, their son

Born 1806/1811. Date of death unknown.

Places of birth and death unknown.

Unknown Brown, brother of Thomas Brown

John Brown, his son, and nephew of Thomas Brown

Thomas Brown, son of John Brown and grandnephew (and Godson) of Thomas Brown

James Brown, grandnephew of Thomas Brown

Manchester and Salford Directories, 1828 to 1830

These directories list Thomas Brown as a surveyor with premises in Essex Street (St George's, Hulme) and residing at Sidney Street, Chorlton Row (off Oxford Road). He variously referred to himself as either a surveyor or as being of independent means. There are earlier references to him in 1817 and in 1819/20 but in both cases no occupation is given. In the former the address is 51 Quay Street and the latter is 18 Velvet Street.

1841 census, 6/7th June

Piece HO 107/580/7, Folio 8. Enumeration Districts 13 and 15 covered Ardwick Green (South).

16 Ardwick Green (South), Chorlton-upon-Medlock




Born in Lancs.

Richard Hancock Brown




Sarah Billingham


Female Servant


Ann Jones


Female Servant


Sarah Hadfield


Female Servant


Thomas Brown was not listed, so it is reasonable to assume that he was either working away or at Disley.

Piece HO 107/580/19, Folio 7. Enumeration District 34

Green Hill, Chorlton-upon-Medlock




Born in Lancs.

James Meadows (Junr)


Canal Agent


Sarah Meadows




Louisa Meadows




Sarah Ellen Meadows




Esther Kinder


Female Servant


Mary Hitchins


Female Servant


The census return for James Meadows has been included because he was a colleague and friend of Thomas Brown and also one of his Executors.

Manchester and Salford Directories, 1851 and 1861

Even though Thomas died in 1850, he was still listed in the 1851 directory. This showed that he was living at 16 Ardwick Green, Chorlton-upon-Medlock and that James Meadows Junior had moved to 13 York Place, Oxford Street and had become the Agent for the Rochdale Canal Company.

The 1861 directory lists two Browns living in the same part of Chorlton-upon-Medlock. One was a Mr Thomas Brown residing at 16 Monton Street, Green Heys, and the other was Thomas Brown, Agent, residing at 14 Green Hill Street, Green Heys. It is tempting to suppose that one of these was the grandnephew and Godson of Thomas. The title 'Mr' signified a person of higher status so, if this was the case, then Mr Thomas Brown is the most likely.

The Surname 'Hancock'

Two of Thomas's children, John Hancock and Richard Hancock, were given this surname as a forename so it was of importance to him. All that is known is that 'the' John Hancock lived in Liverpool and that when he died he left Thomas a large silver cup.

The Will of Thomas Brown

The Will of Thomas Brown, late of Chorlton-upon-Medlock, Manchester, in the County of Lancaster, Gentleman deceased, was proved at London with three Codicils on the 8th February 1850.

It was necessary to prove Thomas's Will at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury in London because he held property in more than one diocese in which case it had to be proved by an archbishop, rather than by a diocesan bishop. Even so, following its proving, it went before the Diocese of Chester to prove the value of his property at Disley. Only then, on the 25th February 1850, was Probate finally granted to James Meadows, Joseph Scott Moore and Alan Royle the Executors.

His Will is deposited at Lancashire Record Office.

The Village of Disley in the County of Chester

An early occurrence of Disley as an English place name was in 1285, in the form Distislegh. By 1288 it was Distelee and in 1308 it was Disteslegh. By the beginning of the 19th century it was known in its present form of Disley. Other variations are Distley, Dysley Dene and Dystelegh-Stanlegh. For administrative purposes the village was in the Hundred of Macclesfield and for church purposes it was a Chapelry of the Parish of Stockport (Stopford).

Sir Piers Legh of Lyme founded the Church of St Mary-the-Virgin. Building work commenced in 1510 and it was completed in 1524. A 'Humble Petition' presented by the inhabitants of Disley Dene and Sir Peter Legh resulted in the consecration of St Mary's as the parish church on the 23rd July 1558.

Disley is on the A6 trunk road about 2½ miles south of Marple and close by is the famous Lyme Hall. The river Goyt and the Peak Forest Canal lie to the east of the village and the Macclesfield Canal lies to the west.


Acknowledgements and thanks are due to the following for sources of information.

Lancashire Record Office.

Greater Manchester County Record Office.

Cheshire & Chester Record office.

Macclesfield Local History Library.

Stockport Local Heritage Library.

Manchester Central Library, Local Studies Unit.

The Genealogical Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Manchester Register Office.

The Family History Society of Cheshire for assistance with the interpretation of Thomas Brown's Will.

Manchester District Probate Registry.

The late Jack Brady, former Chairman of the Peak Forest Canal Society Ltd, for extracts from the Manchester Mercury and photographs.


1. Derbyshire County Record Office, Deposited Plan of the intended Derbyshire Canal. The name Peak Forest Canal seems to have been adopted either in late 1793 or early 1794. The Seal of the Company of Proprietors of the Peak Forrest Canal came into use in May 1794.

2. The three arches of the aqueduct were 'keyed-in' during 1799 and it opened on the 1st May 1800.

3. The contract for the construction of Marple locks was awarded to a company called James & Fox and the flight was completed on Saturday, 13th October 1804 at a cost of about £27,000. Samuel Oldknow's boat, Perseverance, was the first to lock down to the Grand Aqueduct but before he could do so he offered the workmen posset (hot milk curdled with ale) to complete the locks on time. Marple locks have a rise of 209 feet, which means that on average each lock is 13 feet deep. This makes them the deepest locks on the narrow canal system in England.

It is reputed that when the locks opened they had been fitted with some kind of compressed-air equipment to work the paddles. The design of this is unknown but, apparently, it failed almost immediately and had to be quickly replaced by standard mechanical paddle gear. This was an innovative idea, well ahead of its time, and it bears the hallmark of the American engineer, Robert Fulton, who in partnership with Charles McNiven was awarded a contract to cut part of the Lower Peak Forest Canal, subsequently known as 'Keen's Cutting'.

Fulton also suggested that the Grand Aqueduct should have been constructed with cast-iron arches and that Marple locks should not be constructed but substituted with an inclined plane instead to enable tub boats to be hauled up and down. Unfortunately, Robert Fulton's ideas were ahead of the technology of the day.

4. Grave Reference: A A 103. The first 'A' is the Plot, the second 'A' the Row and '103' is the Grave Number. It is easy to find, being close to the church entrance.

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Typical of the mindless vandalism we frequently suffer at Bugsworth Basin. Ian Edgar surveys the boundary wall between the basin and the Black Brook; the previous day vandals had pushed about a metre’s length of wall into the river. Overnight they had returned and the demolition had grown to 4 metres - yet another few hundred pounds required to affect the repair!





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