The Inland Waterways Protection Society Ltd 

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Newsletter "174" November 2003


Bugsworth Basin Report Tractor Fund Used Stamps Liverpool Link
River Weaver Opened Up Runcorn Locks Retirement Whaley Bridge
Editorial Robin Evans Visit Mysterious Structures Historical Archive cd-rom
Aire & Calder Walk Robert Satterfield News from the IWA Vandalism
News from the IWA Portobello Engineering    

Contractors arrived on site, September 15, 2003, and promptly set about laying a protective roadway across the Central Peninsula to enable building another clay bund to start. Here a local contractor delivers another load of clay bound for the bund across the Wide necessary so that building a new habitat for our small colony of water voles can begin.
Photograph: Don Baines

Bugsworth Basin Report

by Ian Edgar MBE   -     Chairman and Hon Site Manager

Well, work has actually started! What a relief that was after so many problems and setbacks. There are still problems to be encountered we are sure and still some under review. Bugsworth is a very difficult site but in a recent conversation with the Site Foreman I asked him if this was one of the most difficult canal sites for him. 'No way' came the reply, 'I have had others far more difficult'. In some way I felt re-assured by this.

The new vole habitat at the far side of 'The Wide' is now in place and has been constructed under the direction of the British Waterways ecologist Jason Leach and in accordance with English Nature requirements. Many of the willow trees have been removed to construct the clay bund behind which is a lower lagoon type construction. On the top of the bund is a line of rolled coir material in to which different species can be planted. A wide selection of plants from other parts of the basin have been replanted in the new habitat. Two high willows have been retained which, in my view, may be a mistake since with the surrounding trees not now providing a screen barrier they may not be able to resist the winter winds which tear up the Blackbrook Valley. I bow to expert opinion which says they should be OK and to keep as many trees as possible (even willow in the right places) is in line with all partners in the Bugsworth Project. I am aware of the havoc caused last winter by the fallen willows alongside the Blackbrook, one major fallen willow still having to be removed. Hopefully we will have the services of Waterway Recovery Group Forestry to get this out. Although this tree is across the river it is not a blockage (and therefore not a flood hazard) the Environment Agency will not remove it. It is our problem and because most of the weight is supported by the flight of steps we cannot just leave it.

The completed habitat ready for any displaced voles to move into. The normal water level for the canal will be just below the top of the coir rolls forming the top of the lower bank. A shallow pond will form between the two banks to provide the favoured burrow entrance just below the surface for the voles then to tunnel into the soft upper bank.

The contractors working on site are BW DEW and to date they have done an excellent job taking fully into account the old structure and the need to protect it against damage by modern machinery. A new road system of crushed limestone (MOT) laid on Terram is still being constructed and nothing has gone off the road to damage our grassed or archaeologically important areas. Access is being rigorously monitored so that any activity is within confined areas of work and nowhere else. The next phase to be undertaken (starting 13th October) is to clean off and record the archaeological features like the setts and flags etc. of the warehouse floor, and the crusher yard etc, so that they can be removed and then replaced exactly as they were following making the channel watertight. All this work has to be meticulously done by hand.

IWPS Archaeologist, Alan Findlow, ably assisted by BW-Dew staff, Joe, Richard and Hughie, prepare the area alongside the Lower Basin Arm for detailed archaeological recording. Photo Don Baines

Our volunteers continue to maintain the parts of the site not affected by the leak repair works. Much has still to be done in cutting back tree and shrub growth around Seven Holes Weir (Caravan Field) which has been neglected this past year due to other pressures on volunteer time. This area will be targeted as a major effort as will the area of overgrown hedges etc, opposite Canal House. There is still some painting to be done on Bridges 58 & 59 (again left undone due to other pressures) and the Bridge Number Plates virtually destroyed by vandals have to be replaced.

The Interpretation Boards which have suffered some vandal damage will also be refurbished this winter thanks to the support of High Peak Borough Council who will cover the process cost. IWPS volunteers will take down the boards and will this time add another layer of impact resistant plastic to counter the next initial vandal attacks. This layer is comparatively cheap to provide and nowhere near the cost of re-laminating the boards at around £140 each.

Our new display in one of our 20' containers, by no means completed, is nevertheless attracting a lot of visitors. Leaflet distribution via the boxes at Blackbrook House Bugsworth Basin and at Whaley Bridge Basin is going well with members of the public leaving an acceptable level of donations. We have had to service these boxes at least weekly during the season but we expect from now on, at least until next Spring, the use of the boxes will slow down. Accessed only by a BW Key take up is for the most part by boaters or those walkers etc. who possess a BW Key to get in to canal side toilets etc.

The negative side of all this is that whilst the Upper Basin does not leak the wharf walls are in very poor condition and it is unlikely there will be sufficient funding available to do this work as well. Repair work in the Upper Basin has not been ruled out as funding may be found somewhere but we have to accept the fact that maybe when we re-open next Spring the Upper Basin may be stanked off and not included. That will be unfortunate but may be inevitable. We shall have to wait and see how the funding works out.

The IWPS Bugsworth Basin Sub-Committee is still working on our 10-Year Vision Document which sets down our ideas of what the Society would like to see at Bugsworth following re-opening next year. Other then the Upper Basin mentioned above the waterway track restoration will then have been completed but we cannot just walk away and leave the Basin. We must plan for the future maintenance (and an over-200 years old structure will need plenty of that) and cater for the many needs of the thousands of visitors (not only boaters) who will certainly come. The completion of the restoration will beneficially affect the immediate area immensely. A very exciting time and a very different challenge to what we have been used to.

Just because the Partnership (British Waterways, High Peak Borough Council and IWPS Ltd.) has raised and is spending now around £lm on the Basin does not mean there is no work for volunteers. On the contrary, as our work is taken in to account for match funding as well as furthering the restoration in other areas, volunteers are absolutely essential. Maybe the big muck-shifting sagas of previous years are a thing of the past but there is still plenty of other work to do. Please come and help.

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Disposal of some items of equipment, scrap metal etc. and individual donations have increased the fund to some extent but we are still awaiting the outcome of several grant applications. Our requirements do not slip easily into many of the options available for funding so it is down to us to try and influence grant makers that providing this expensive item of equipment will help volunteers to improve our environment etc. Determination of bids can and does take many months so, although we are still looking for opportunities to raise the £3000+ still needed to get the ideal machine for the purpose we have had to accept that we will not be buying this year. To buy now and not use it during the winter would only be using up the warranty period. Next Spring is probably the likely time of purchase as long as the various grant makers can be persuaded to look kindly on our submissions.

Tractor Fund Sales Items
IWPS has the following donated items for sale in support of the new tractor fund:

Hewlett Packard Deskjet Plus Inkjet printer. Power supply and Parallel Interface cable supplied. Prints black only. In good working order. Good value at £10 for anyone who only needs a simple printer.

Prestige Pressure Cooker - Unpackaged but complete - Never been used - £10

Sunbeam electric juicer - new and unused - £5

2 x Folding Garden Chairs (NEW) £8 each or both for £15

Delivery by arrangement.

Contact: Ian Edgar phone 01663 732493, email 

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Just a reminder to our members and readers that we are still collecting large size British and Foreign commemorative stamps. For every such stamp received we get 5p which can go in the general Fund or the Tractor Fund according to the wish of the donor. Initially the flow of stamps was very encouraging, then it went down to a trickle and now I have not received any for several months. Maybe this is because fewer stamps come in on our mail or because more mail is franked. On the other hand people may have forgotten. Please send the stamps to me. All will be acknowledged and I will tell you how much has gone to IWPS funds.

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Members will be aware of my roots in Liverpool and my enthusiasm for what is going on there with regard to waterways. The Liverpool Link is forging ahead and now British Waterways have announced that they have taken over the South Docks from English Partnerships. This is great news and I have written to Derek Cochrane ofBW expressing my delight. If anybody can make the regeneration of the South Docks work it is Derek and his team. Derek has responded in equally enthusiastic terms and also mentioning the BW total commitment to Bugsworth Basin which is a totally different project in size and form. It is just this wide experience of British Waterways for narrow canals, wide canals and coastal and ocean going vessel facilities which will enable them to succeed.

The 30 hectare site includes 2 miles of riverside walkway and a 350-Berth marina which will be able to accommodate both narrow and wide canal craft as well as sea going yachts.

One of the problems about re-generation and re-use of huge historic old buildings such as the Albert Dock Warehouses ( which are a major attraction in the South Docks) is sustainability. Initially there is great enthusiasm with a large number of first-time visitors but the attraction will only survive if a large number of those visitors come back again and continue to return. I must have been to the Albert Dock seven or eight times and I was depressed to see the increasing number of vacant traders premises each time I went. Whether this is influenced by high rents I do not know but certainly visitor numbers (obviously low on some of my later visits) will have a devastating effect on the profitability and viability of the whole site.

The South Docks water space is certainly under-used with little promotion. A trip boat operating part of the time with a few moored craft. British Waterways with knowledge and experience gained on other sites will be able to reverse the decline and develop what is a wonderful water space. Bring in the narrow boats off the rest of the system via the wide Leeds and Liverpool Canal via Stanley Locks and the Liverpool Link and BW will have a winner.

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We hear from British Waterways that over 100,000 visitors came to The Anderton Lift so far during 2003. Most important for navigation is that there were 1600 private boat passages on to the Weaver where prior to the opening of the lift the only boats using the river where those that were based there. British Waterways have now accepted the fact (no doubt waiting to see what sort of a problem they had or how successful the lift would be in bringing leisure boating to the river) that more visitor facilities have to be provided for their customers. The Weaver is a BW waterway and has enormous potential. Although a wide commercial waterway freight traffic has dwindled to almost nothing. Investment now could upgrade the River and at the same time not preclude creating opportunities for freight traffic.

Other figures for the Anderton Lift given by Allan Powell, Service Manager, Wales & Border Counties, British Waterways at the Northern Canals Association Meeting 12th October were:

25,000 Boat trip passengers - a 'trip' is either up or down the lift with a short 'photo opportunity' away from the lift on the Weaver.

300 Groups

15% children

85% adults but a high proportion being senior citizens (the so-called grey army?)

An approximate analysis of these figures would indicate an operating income of around £540,000. On top of this of course is the income from sales of souvenirs, catering etc. but these operations are costly in terms of resources. Allan is under no illusions as to what has to be done to ensure the future of the lift. People have to enjoy the experience to want to come back, perhaps with other family members. BW must target school parties and educational facilities for these have been identified as a potential substantial earner. How that stacks up considering the present cutbacks in Local Authority education spending and compressed budgets remains to be seen. We wish Allan and his team well in their endeavours under the new management regime. Certainly I for one saw a great deal of enthusiasm there.

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Latest news is that plans are afoot to add an additional road bridge across the Mersey at Widnes where the river narrows considerably. The existing road bridge alongside the West Coast Mainline Railway bridge replaced a Victorian Transporter Bridge and was inadequate when it was built. It was widened from one lane (each way) to a four lane some years ago. Now it is totally inadequate for the needs of the area and is an horrendous traffic bottleneck.

The implications of this is that following long lobbying by the IWA Chester & District Branch it could be that one of the flights of wide Bridgewater Canal locks at Runcorn could be incorporated in the massive scheme. This would open up the restoration of the long closed Runcorn and Weston Canal which would give access to the River Weaver. A new circular route would be created - Bridgewater Canal, Trent & Mersey Canal, Anderton Lift, River Weaver, Runcorn and Weston canal. The under-used Runcorn Docks could be modernised and surplus water area turned over to recreational use including for narrow boats which would not need to go on tidal waters. The spin-off for British Waterways would be that such an attractive route would bring in the hirers and the use of the Anderton Lift (and more importantly people through the visitor facility) would rocket.

There were two flights of locks at Runcorn arranged in a 'Y' formation with the base of the 'Y' being the Runcorn Arm of the Bridgewater Canal under Waterloo Bridge. This cast iron bridge still survives although the road to the existing bridge is laid on the adjacent canal between the Bridge and the locks. The right of the 'Y' flight of locks were filled in but identifiable when I worked Runcorn docks in the late 1950s/early 1960s. The other line on the left of the 'Y' were derelict but with some gates in a poor state and filled with rubbish. These were infilled in the early 1960s (as far as I remember). These locks are wide and deep and compare favourably with the Devizes Flight on the Kennet and Avon Canal although there were no side ponds (again as far as I can remember).

I despaired of ever seeing these locks in use again and I doubt they would ever be restored under a 'stand-alone' scheme. But as part of a massive road system and if the will of the local authority and other governing bodies is there (as it appears so to be) then the cost of incorporating restoration would, in my opinion, be negligible as compared to the cost of the whole project.

Halton Borough Council will create an Action Area Plan including the Docks. There is a lot of preliminary work to do yet before there can be any progress on a waterway restoration link. With that new road bridge there is more than a glimmer of hope for restoration but with the experience of the Rochdale and Huddersfield Canals, and now the Manchester Bolton & Bury which is forging ahead surely restoration of the magnificent Runcorn Locks must go ahead in time. Bring in the Sankey Canal on the opposite side of the Mersey then the whole restoration scene in the area begins to look very rosy indeed.

The IWA Chester & District Branch are to be congratulated on their perseverance and campaigning. It must have seemed a lost cause at times but it looks now that we may have the locks and connecting canal restored in 5 years?

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This tribute is, due to unfortunately timed copy dates etc, somewhat late but it is nevertheless heartfelt. Peter was the Engineer in charge of the BW Region covering Bugsworth Basin in 1984 whilst the By-Pass was being built. It was because of his farsightedness that the IWPS was able to fully engage the opportunities presented by the Government's Manpower Services Commission and the Job Creation Scheme.

Due to an unfortunate mix ( for Tarmac the Contractors) of bad ground, poor design and wet weather the embankment of the new road slipped and totally filled the recently volunteer dredged entrance canal which then became known as the 'Ganges Delta', most of the slippage material being sand. Peter reckoned the clout of British Waterways and the experience of colleagues in the North West Office of BW acting for the IWPS would result in a successful claim on the contractors insurers. If my memory serves me right we came to a position where the IWPS/BW claim was for £14,000, the Loss Adjusters countered with £8000 and the claim was settled at £11,000. I well remember Peter saying to me - 'Get the money paid to the IWPS because if it went in to the BW coffers we might not get it out again!' Another positive aspect of the whole affair was that I still retained a very positive and amicable relationship with Tarmac and their Site Manager (the late Martin Durkin). Indeed Tarmac gave me many tips on what to do! Tarmac got themselves in to such a mess that they were, I believe, well pleased to have us volunteers get them out of the mire.

That money went partly on new equipment but more importantly on materials and support for the MSC Scheme which built the Horse Transfer Bridges Nos. 58 & 59. With the Society not having that money in the Bank we would not have been able to honour our obligations to the MSC and, without funding being available for normal contractor construction, those bridges would not have been built. The slippage in to the Entrance Canal was finally cleared by volunteers working two Summer 7-day Work Camps. Following re-profiling of the embankment by Tarmac and planting of selected trees and scrubs under the direction of Martin Whalley there was no further slippage and no further dredging was required prior to the re-opening in 1999.

Peter helped us in many ways and we really enjoyed working with him. Being a skilled engineer, Peter's advice to Don Baines who designed Bridges 58 & 59 was much appreciated. I well remember sitting next to Peter in 1999 on the opening boat in to Bugsworth and seeing masses of welcoming people on those Bridges standing so huge and dominant. 'Ian, I’m glad we checked the specs. on those bridges and beefed up the beams! They look really great.’

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At the request of High Peak Borough Council I was requested to attend one of the meetings of the above Partnership which mainly comprises the Borough Council, British Waterways Whaley Bridge Town Council, and Whaley Bridge Amenity Society. The brief of the Partnership is wide ranging but broadly it is to determine how Whaley Bridge can be regenerated and improved for the benefit of residents and business interests.

Consultants have been appointed and have produced a draft report on which I have commented on behalf of the IWPS. This report identifies what in my opinion we already knew in that there are three elements which, if implemented promptly, will make tremendous improvements to Whaley Bridge:

Construction of a new bridge across the Goyt to the Bingswood Industrial Estate to take heavy goods and other traffic away from. the narrow streets of Whaley Bridge. This route would be via the recently constructed canal bridge to the Tesco store. Presently, because of the appalling access to the estate via the town and especially over a sub-standard existing bridge across the river, further developments on the Estate have been halted with consequent reduction in employment potential for local people. The removal of heavy traffic off the A6 through the town would improve the potential for a new use of the Canal Transhipment Warehouse which is the historic core of the town.

The Canal Transhipment Warehouse is Listed but is generally in poor condition and presently vacant except for a small portion used as a base for the trip boat 'Judith Mary'. Substantial expensive restoration work needs to be done. Until the heavy traffic on the adjacent road system is removed there will be little incentive for the building and the rest of the site to attract an innovative tenant with the funding to invest in a quality scheme. Very unusually the land around the building and which is used as a public highway is in fact in the ownership of British Waterways who are not a highway authority. BW therefore have no responsibility for maintenance so the roadway is in poor condition and made good in an ad hoc manner as and when the surface actually demands attention.

The re-opening of Bugsworth Basin next year will be the first positive steps to a regenerated Whaley Bridge. It is already well known that the opening of Bugsworth Basin in 1999 led to a substantial improvement for the Whaley Bridge traders. Whaley Bridge is ideally situated to contribute to and benefit from Bugsworth Basin as a service centre.

The first steps have been taken in applying to The Derby & Derbyshire Economic Partnership for a grant to cover the design of a new River Crossing Bridge. An expression of interest has also been lodged as a prelude to an actual bid for funding for the construction of the bridge when the design stage has been completed and costs known. These applications have been created and submitted by High Peak Borough Council.

I will be representing the IWPS at future Partnership meetings and hope that mutually beneficial schemes can be developed together. Working very closely as I do with both the Borough Council and British Waterways I can see opportunities coming which may well enhance our ability to get funds for both projects. Certainly British Waterways see Whaley and Bugsworth as linked by their development potential.

What is clear however is the importance of the Partnership working closely with British Waterways. BW holds the key for all three elements (Tesco Bridge, Warehouse and Bugsworth Basin) to proceed. Being new to the Partnership I was dismayed at the apparent breakdown in communication between BW and the rest of the Partnership. There must be co-operation and an understanding of the position of each party. Commercial awareness also is so important.

Ian Edgar MBE

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Editorial by Don Baines

Visit by British Waterways Chief Executive to Bugsworth Basin

On the 16th September, it was my pleasure to take the recently-appointed Chief Executive of British Waterways, Robin Evans, on a guided tour of the Bugsworth site. He could not have arrived at a more opportune moment; it was a beautiful warm, sunny afternoon, a time when Bugsworth is at its very best; and the omnibus contractors, BW-Dew, had arrived on site. On a fact-finding mission he was accompanied by John Warrington, Principal Project Manager at BW, and Christine Wall from BW’s Warrington office.

Starting at the Head of Navigation (outside the Navigation Inn) we proceeded down the crane wharf and onwards around the site with myself pointing out the salient features and emphasising the input and effort put in over the years by the many volunteers who had worked on site. To add impact to the presentation I provided Robin with a set of before and after photographs, pre 1978 and similar views on the open day Easter 1999, with the basins full of boats. He asked many questions about who were the IWPS, how had it come about and how it had become involved in the restoration. At the end of the visit, to use his own words, he was "totally gobsmacked by the place." Looking out across the site from near Silk Hill Bridge, basking in the late afternoon sun, his comment was: "Just look over there, the green of the hills, the trees and the wonderful industrial archaeology."

Subsequently I received a very complimentary letter from him from which I quote:

"....I was hugely impressed by the scale of the basin, what still remains of the original structure and of course by the on-going work over the years of the IWPS.

Thank you for taking the time to show me around and thank you especially for your enthusiasm, energy and commitment. The basin will be a major asset of the waterways in the future and we look forward to working with you on the next phase of the development...."

Compliments for all in IWPS, indeed. It looks like we will have plenty to keep us occupied in the future when the present repair works are completed and boats are once more to be seen moored at Bugsworth.

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Congratulations to Derek Brumhead who recently flew solo and now has his private pilot’s licence.

Derek seen here with the Piper Cherokee after going solo

Perhaps we can get Derek to fly low over Bugsworth to take some aerial photographs of the site, something we would very much welcome to enhance our archive collection.

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Mysterious Structures at Bugsworth

During surveying work by David Jessop, of consultants Mott Macdonald, he photographed four recesses in the river wall above the weir. He sent the pictures to IWPS asking if we knew what they were. As very few of us have ever seen them from river level they represent something of a mystery. To all intents and purposes they look just like the garde-robe chutes seen built into the walls of medieval castle, not that I am seriously suggesting that they are anything of the sort. Making such flippant suggestions can often result in structures, features, etc, becoming forever known by that name.

These two pictures from Dave Jessop show the recesses in question. There have been several suggestions as to what they might be but nobody has yet come up with a plausible answer.

However, looking in Dr Adam Hart-Davis’s book "Thunder, Flush and Thomas Crapper" I came across the picture, right above, and this description.
About 10 miles north-west of Hexham, in Northumberland National Park, there is a lovely privvy built in the early 1800s at the remote Lower Roses Bower Farm, reputed locally to have the longest drop in England. The stone hut is perched 40 feet over a sheer drop into the Warks Burn. 
(Text and picture reproduced by the kind permission of Dr Adam Hart-Davis)
Despite the remarkable similarity I am not for one minute suggesting we had a little row of privvies perched along the edge of the Black Brook.

Knowing that Peter Whitehead had investigated these recesses back in the 1970's I put the question to him, "What did he think they were?"

Back came the following:

".....Thanks for the interesting photo of a surviving Crapper lavatory. It looks very similar to facilities built into the walls of some medieval castles where the waste was disposed of outside the castle walls through a small openings in the stonework. These were provided at 'convenient' points around the walls. In other castles 'aristocratic' human waste dropped into an underground 'chamber', which unfortunate serfs were obliged to clean out at regular intervals. It is recorded that the situation was particularly unpleasant after the Lord had thrown a banquet, especially so if this was extra lavish due to the presence of Royalty. It is a little known fact that in those days there were Royal Bottom Wipers as well. What the serfs used for lavatories though does not appear to have been recorded.

The water closet was invented by Joseph Bramah, who patented it in 1778, but this was little used because proper sewers were practically non-existent and there was no regular water supply either. It is hard for us to realise that the situation was more primitive than it was in Roman times but this is a fact.

In the 18th century and well into the 19th century corporations and employers alike were under no legal obligation to provide any facilities so they did not. This resulted in frequent cholera epidemics and high mortality rates. Bugsworth village and basin would be no exception to this. It would not even be as advanced as the more 'enlightened' Corporations who provided night-soil men or rakers to remove human waste overnight. This was then taken to a Sanitary Works for disposal. One such was built at Holt Town in Manchester and this was conveniently sited by the river Medlock, Ashton Canal and railway. The railway sidings were known as the Sanitary Sidings. This facility, therefore, provided three methods of disposal.

At Bugsworth village and basin, human waste would be disposed of my two methods. At appropriate times of the year farmers would remove some of it for use as a fertiliser and the remainder would find its way into the Black Brook one way or another.

A related problem faced in those days was the high mortality rate, especially among children where it was typically between 20 and 30%. The disposal of infant bodies was a problem to destitute families and a nearby river was sometimes used as a method of disposal. The river Medlock in Manchester was certainly used for this purpose and possibly the Black Brook was similarly used. This begs another question? Were bodies ever disposed of by burial in the lime ash where it would be more hygienic? Poor families never mourned the loss of a child in those days, they simply got on with life. For this reason children were treated as persona non grata by their parents up to the age of about seven years and consequently they were not shown much love and affection. They were simply fed, watered and clothed and the latter was often difficult. Once a child had passed the critical age of seven years it stood a chance of surviving and attitudes towards it might change but goodness knows what psychological damage had occurred meanwhile. In cases where the mother died during childbirth, or shortly afterwards of child-bed fever, the widower would be married again in a remarkably short period of time and the cycle would start all over again.

All these social aspects of the history of Bugsworth village and basin haven't even been thought about let alone studied.

Regarding the age of the retaining wall, with its recesses, it is probably unwise to ascribe a date to its possible construction just because of the proximity of the New Drop retaining wall, which dates from the late 1830s. It is not known what the topography was like before the New Drop was constructed. For example, one map shows a warehouse at the site of the entrance to the Middle Basin Arm.

All that can be said is that the wall, with its recesses, is an important archaeological feature whose integrity must be preserved...."

In an earlier email Peter came back with the following possible explanations as to what purpose the recesses served:

"....I discovered those recesses way back in 1975 but no-one, at the time, was interested in discovering their function. Many times I have tried to reason it through but it has always been inconclusive.

Knowing that the Black Brook is in an artificial channel at this point, my first reaction was that the retaining wall started life as an intended water-powered mill and that the recesses would have been windows. There was then a rapid change of mind and the openings were then walled up to form the recesses that we know today.

My next theory was that they were formerly sluices used to fill the canal for its opening in 1796. It is known that Combs Reservoir was not operational when the canal was opened, so from where did all the water come from? It had to come from the Black Brook itself. Somehow, a temporary dam could have been constructed across the artificial channel, downstream of the recesses, to produce a head of water sufficient for it to be diverted into the newly constructed channel. But was the right-bank of the new channel high enough?

My third theory was the reverse of this. During construction of Bugsworth Wharf and the Middle Basin, which was the natural channel of the Black Brook, the river may have been temporarily diverted through the sluices into the partially completed artificial channel. However, without the means to survey, the foot of the sluices may not be at the right level for this.

A fourth theory is that they were simply a folly to improve the architectural appearance of the wall and served no purpose whatsoever.

I prefer my second theory but it cannot be tested. Brainstorming may produce yet more theories..."

Whatever the truth of the matter, the function of the recesses still poses a question.

In D J Hodgkins’ article "The Peak Forest Canal - Lime and Limestone, 1794-1849" published in the Derbyshire Archaeological Journal, Vol CVII, 1987, the following statement was recorded with respect to the tramway and quarries in 1797: "The Company rented from Kirk, six workmen’s cottages with proper conveniences and gardens twice the size of the cottages." What quite was meant here by "proper conveniences" is open to interpretation but it does make you think!

So, what are your ideas on the subject? Perhaps your explanation could get to the bottom of the matter. And, I don’t want any comments about ‘privvy councillors’ either!

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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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IWPS Walks

A Walk on the East Side - The Aire and Calder by Andy Screen

This article appears by courtesy of Towpath Action Group

In August, the Inland Waterways Protection Society took a trip over the Pennines for a walk around the former mining areas that lie alongside the Aire & Calder's Wakefield Branch. The original navigation from Castleford to Wakefield was a canalised River Calder dating back to 1702, with a few small cuts made along the way. When the need for greater capacity arose, it was decided to make much more substantial cuts, and the Calder Cut, made in 1839 between Broad Reach and Whitwood, was the principal result; unfortunately most of the remains of the original river cuts are now rather inaccessible, though one, the so-called Lee & Watson's Canal at Bottom Boat to the north of Stanley Ferry can still be partly walked, although that wasn't on our itinerary today.

We met at the large car park just off the common at Heath (OS Landranger Sheet 110; SE356198), a small community just to the east of Wakefield, that has more than its fair share of substantial old properties, and which, with improvements to the nearby A655 is now an extremely quiet spot; the common was saved from the vicissitudes of the Enclosure Act by local naturalist Charles Waterton in the 1840s. Old Heath Hall, built in the very early 17th century by George Ramsden and demolished by the Halifax Corporation in 1890, was home to a group of Benedictine Nuns who fled France inn the 1790s as a result of Revolution-inspired religious persecution. They settled in well but their need for privacy was not assisted by the Hall's land extending right down to the river - out on their afternoon constitutionals, they were apparently repeatedly spied upon by locals rowing on the Calder, and eventually upped sticks in 1821 for a less public abode in Lancashire. Nine of the nuns who died while in residence at Heath are buried in the churchyard at Kirkthorpe. The newer (?) Heath Hall which still stands close to the road was built for the Smyth family, who may or may not have been related to Maria Smythe, the catholic wife of the Prince Regent (later George IV) who had welcomed the nuns to England, and provided them with temporary accommodation in London moving their move to Yorkshire.

We walked north through the 'village' and after passing a well-worn sandstone wall that had taken on a Gaudi-esque look we cut left down a path through Kirkthorpe Wood towards the river. Turning left at a finger post, we dropped down to a new path, part of the pit reclamation process and then darted under a railway bridge to make our way to a massive 1990's footbridge over a loop of the river (Sheet 104; SE353212). It is not totally clear why the bridge, which post-dates the Calder Cut by about 150 years, was built with such obvious capacity to allow large craft to pass beneath, as there seems precious little reason why any craft would ever use this short section up to a weir. From the top of the bridge you can clearly see Broad Reach Lock, which takes traffic from Wakefield off the river, and onto the Cut. A short walk on and you are at the older stone bridge over the Cut itself, with a good view of the lock and of the extra pair of gates immediately below the bridge, which we surmised were constructed for when a train of Tom Puddings was waiting to lock down.

From the top of the stone bridge over the cut, the walker has a good view of Broad Reach lock which takes traffic off the river. Photo Don Baines

Although you can drop down to the towpath from here we followed the waymarked trail directly away from the Cut to loop round by the river, getting a splendid view of the aforementioned weir as well as more reclamation still in process on the hill to the north. The weir was the reason for building the old cut which left the river about 200 yards above the weir and then dropped down through Kirkthorpe Lock to rejoin at the other end of this 'loop within a loop'. The trail comes out at Harrison's Bridge on the Cut again (SE353217), and here you can choose to walk up the tarmac track on the east side, or the towpath proper on the west side. Either way it is a straight-as-a-die route up through the old Park Colliery site, to Ramsden's Swing Bridge which is now left almost permanently open following the construction of a high and narrow footbridge going over the top. A track bears diagonally away from the canal towards the Ship Inn, our designated lunch stop, but as we had plenty of time, we continued up the towpath, passing a rather plasticky family pub now called the Mill House, which is part of the Stanley Ferry 'estate'. It was originally called the Ferry Boat, after one of two pubs that used to stand either side of the road immediately to the south of where it crosses the river.

The two aqueducts over the river were clearly visible, the westernmost on the straight line of the cut is the original, built in 1839 with a wrought iron trough and cast iron arches, while the concrete one alongside was built in 1981 when there was a perceived danger from large craft to the listed structure of the original. I believe that the original was out of use for a while, but now both are in service. We walked round the former Lofthouse Basin, now a small marina, noting the rise in the road where a tramway used to run down to the basin from Lofthouse, across the river bridge where you get a good view of the 1839 aqueduct, and past the open doors of the Stanley Ferry workshops where BW staff were busy constructing lockgates. A little further on the road narrows to cross the canal on a bridge, and from here you get a good view of the two aqueducts 'head on'. [A right of way follows the south bank of the Calder from the road, giving access, ultimately, to Lake Lock and Bottom Boat. This was the site of another of the early lock cuts that later evolved into a canal saga that is a story on its own; the aforementioned Lee & Watson's Canal - for more on this read Hadfield's Canals of Yorkshire & North East England].

The original aqueduct at Stanley Ferry - built in 1839 - here conceals the parallel 1981 concrete aqueduct built behind. Photo Don Baines

We retraced our steps back along the road to the Ship Inn where the Ruddles flowed and the wholesome and inexpensive food was enjoyed, despite a rather long wait for it - thankfully we were not in a great hurry. Back to the road bridge and here we rejoined the towpath which is now on the east side, though old maps suggest that there might have been a towing path on both sides. The deep cut which characterised the route up from Harrison's disappeared somewhat with just a thick area of bush alongside the path as we made our way past Birkwood Lock with its traffic lights, and round the bend towards Kings Road Lock. However, well before the second lock, at the site of Lindley's Turn Bridge of which absolutely no evidence remains, a well-hidden stile takes a footpath away from the cut (SE366242), and along the edge of fields to Top Farm and Birkwood Road. Here another path goes straight on, through Hilltop Farm and then down past Newland Park to a metalled road - Newland Lane. Walking up the lane towards the railway, the chimney of a former brick-works stands on the horizon.

The lane crosses the former railway and there is then a path sharp right (SE378222), which follows the railway down to the extremely attractive Goosehill Pond - an original feature it seems, rather than a water-filled pit - and then up a flight of steps. Here you turn right (not obvious as it looks semi-private) to cross the old railway again on another bridge and then follow the resurfaced path that heads towards the river - there are nice views over to Kirkthorpe to the left, with the church slowly emerging from behind the hill.

After passing a 'works' footbridge over the river, which is well fenced off, the path heads back towards the railway, under which it passes close to the church. The old Kirkthorpe lock cut is barely 100 yards away (SE360213) from this underpass, but the land is fenced off and the vegetation so thick that it would probably be well-nigh impossible to find anything, even if it were legally permitted. There is a staggered crossing through the little hamlet by the church, and then the path rises up through Kirkthorpe Wood, with occasional sights of the Half Moon - a loop in the river permanently cut off by the building of the 1838 Leeds-Manchester railway - to join the path we had started on. As the sun beat down on us through the last few hundred yards into Heath, it was with extremely good fortune that the local ice-cream van was parked on the common in front of the Kings Arms to offer us a well-deserved fortification for the journey home.

Andy Screen

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Robert Satterfield - a Manchester Merchant and Bugsworth Lime Burner

by Peter J Whitehead

Bugsworth lies at the terminus of the Peak Forest Canal in Derbyshire and in the summer of 1976, while the Middle Basin Arm was being restored, a large cast-iron notice was discovered lying against the wharf wall on the east side of the arm. It bore the legend:

Robt Satterfield

Manchester No 10

This notice had either fallen from the wall of the lime shed that once spanned the head of this arm or it had been dropped there when the shed was demolished. The conclusion that could be immediately inferred from this was that a merchant called Robert Satterfield, based in Manchester, once used the lime shed to transfer lime under cover from the New Road kilns and that inter alia he was also leasing these kilns in order to burn lime.

An examination of the Minute Book of the Peak Forest Canal Company showed that the name Satterfield was mentioned in connection with kilns and lime burning at Bugsworth. Cursory research suggested that Robert Satterfield may have lived in Ardwick, Manchester, and that he had premises and a wharf somewhere in the Ducie Street area. The most likely location for this was either in, or adjacent to, a rectangle of land bounded by Ducie Street, Piccadilly/London Road, Store Street and Junction Street, where the principal facilities of the Ashton, Peak Forest and Rochdale Canal Companies were located. The residential area of Ardwick was only a short distance away and it was likely that his residence was situated on the south side of Ardwick Green in the township of Chorton-on-Medlock.

Further work showed that in 1815 a Messrs Hassall & Satterfield were working the then extant New Road kilns at Bugsworth and that by 1824 the name of the firm had changed to Messrs Satterfield & Cresswell. The partners were trading as lime burners and brick makers as well as coal and slate dealers. Subsequently, another name change occurred, this time to Satterfield & Company. It was found that one of the earliest references to the name Satterfield referred to Joseph Satterfield, a Manchester merchant, and from this it was concluded that Robert was his son. It was also noted that Joseph Satterfield was purchasing lime, burned at the Marple lime works, from Samuel Oldknow before the latter leased his works to Messrs Wright and Brown in 1811. At this juncture research work ceased and the matter lay in abeyance for many years. Eventually, it became easier to search census returns and an obvious place to recommence research was by studying the 1881 and 1901 censuses.

The 1881 census produced three names and these were Mary M Satterfield, William Satterfield and Robert Satterfield and all three were at once eliminated. The 1901 census produced four names and these were Henry Satterfield, Jane Satterfield, John Satterfield and Maria Satterfield and, similarly, all four were at once eliminated.

It was clear that the name Satterfield was very uncommon and before proceeding further it was decided to determine the origin of this surname. It was discovered that the name had its origin at Satterthwaite, Hawkshead, Lancashire. The surname Satterthwaite occurred much more frequently and other variations included Satterfitt, Sattersfield and Setterfield. A register of Freemen of York lists a William Setterfield in 1614, a Charles Satterthwait in 1625 and a Thomas Satturwaite in 1653.

With a certain amount of cynicism it was decided to search the International Genealogical Index but this initial cynicism was quickly dispelled. The name Joseph Satterfield occurred twice. The first infant was born at Manchester in circa 1767 and the second was born at Ardwick, Manchester, in circa 1770. However, there was some confusion and it seemed possible that the birthplace could have been somewhere in Derbyshire and not Manchester. The pedigree of both infants was not recorded and after more searches and due consideration it was reasoned that these two must have been one and the same infant and that he was more than likely to have been born in 1768. On the 30th April 1795, Joseph Satterfield married Mary Cock at Wirksworth, Derbyshire. It was stated that Mary Cock was born at Manchester in circa 1771 but no explanation was offered as to why the couple were married at Wirksworth. The only pedigree known for Mary was that her father was called Hyrum Cock. The first fruit of this union was the birth of a male child at Manchester on the 8th February 1796 and on the 26th April 1796 he was christened as Robert, again at Manchester. It was concluded that while the dates were probably correct the places where these events were supposed to have occurred were suspect and that it was quite likely that they actually occurred somewhere in Derbyshire.

One other piece of information from the International Genealogical Index, which was particularly pertinent to the working of the New Road kilns at Bugsworth, was that Joseph Satterfield died on the 23rd March 1832 when he was aged about 64 years. Similarly, this date appeared to be accurate. As far as working the New Road kilns at Bugsworth was concerned, the probable course of events was that Joseph made Robert a partner in his business and that this could have occurred as early as 1817 when Robert attained his majority at the age of 21 years.

The name Messrs Hassall & Satterfield was in use by 1815 and the name Messrs Satterfield & Cresswell was in use by 1824. When the former partnership was established it is possible that Hassall was the senior partner and that when he either died or moved on, Joseph Satterfield became the senior partner and that he took on Cresswell as a junior partner. The third name of Satterfield & Company could have been established between 1824 and 1832, the year that Joseph died but, as we shall see, it was not the last name change.

Another mystery that remained to be solved was whether or not the merchant, William Pitt Dixon, took over working the New Road kilns immediately from Robert Satterfield or whether there was someone else between the two. Evidence was now mounting to suggest that their management passed directly from one to the other.

The next step was to search the National Index of deaths for Robert Satterfield. After some consideration it was decided to commence the search at 1860 when he would have been 64-years-old. The search was suspended at 1876 when he would have been 80-years-old. This work produced the following names:

March Quarter 1862, Ellen Satterfield, West Derby, 8b 391 (Vol/Page)

June Quarter 1862, Percy Satterfield, West Derby, 8b 302

June Quarter 1872, Harriet Satterfield, Macclesfield, 8a 110

September Quarter 1872, Joshua Satterfield, Macclesfield, 8a 113 and 8a 114

None of these names were of immediate interest and it should be noted that West Derby refers to Liverpool. Accordingly, a second search was commenced at 1847, when he would have been 51-years-old, and this was terminated at the end of 1859 when it linked with the initial search. This produced two names:

March Quarter 1856, Mary Satterfield, West Derby, 8b 331

September Quarter 1858, Mary Satterfield, Chorlton, 8c 30

The first name was of no immediate interest but the second one was. Chorlton refers to Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, and this Mary Satterfield was likely to be Joseph's widow and the mother of Robert. Her death certificate confirmed this to be the case and everything began to fall into place.

When and where died: 4th July 1858 at 49 Nelson Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock

Name and surname: Mary SATTERFIELD

Sex: Female

Age: 83 years

Occupation: Widow of Joseph Satterfield, Coal Merchant

Cause of death: Senility, Certified

Signature, description and residence of informant: Robert Satterfield, present at the death,

49 Nelson Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock

A search of the Manchester and Salford Directories for 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871 produced the following:


Robert Satterfield & Company, lime burners, brick makers, and coal and slate merchants, 1 Ducie Street, Piccadilly.

This address precisely located where Robert had his premises and office. It was, in fact, adjacent to the rectangle of land mentioned above in what was a prime site. His office was on the corner of Ducie Street and Piccadilly/London Road. Adjoining the office, fronting Ducie Street, there was a warehouse of some kind and a short arm of the Rochdale Canal entered this building at the end. A wooden footbridge crossed the canal arm alongside the warehouse. To the rear of these buildings there was an almost square yard and on the opposite side of this there was a second short arm of the Rochdale Canal with a building spanning the head of the arm. Possibly this was a lime shed. In the yard there was a 'Coal and Lime Machine', as weighing machines for this purpose were known in those days. The area concerned was known as 'London Road Wharfs - Lime, Coal, &c'. This was the 'Manchester No 10' on the cast-iron notice found at Bugsworth.


Robert Satterfield, lime burner, brick maker, and coal and slate merchant; Wharf 1 London Road. House: 5 Nelson Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock.

Note that the '& Company' has been dropped and that all plurals have been made singular. This is the final name for the business and it could mean that his partner (Cresswell?) had now left. The cast-iron notice recovered from the canal at Bugsworth must date from this period.

'Wharf 1 London Road' was exactly the same address as for 1841 but it sounded more prestigious.


Robert Satterfield, lime burner and dealer, brick maker, dealer in Roman cement, and plaster of Paris, and coal and slate merchant; Wharf 1 London Road. House: 49 Nelson Street, Chorlton-on-Medlock.

This entry suggests that his business had increased and that he had moved into a larger residence in Nelson Street.


No entry.

By 1871 the 75-year-old Robert had either gone out of business or died and it is known with certainty that William Pitt Dixon was working the New Road kilns by this time. The word 'retirement' was not in common use in those days.

Having now established where he lived it was possible to search the census returns for 1841, 1851 and 1861.


Chorlton-on-Medlock, Piece HO 107/580/9, Enumeration District 20, Folio 17.

Nelson Street.



Profession or Occupation

Whether born in County

















Margarett (sic) Connotty (sic)




a. For the 1841 census only, the ages of adults were rounded down to the nearest multiple of five.

b. Occasionally, useful information like this was given.

c. This contrasts with the 1861 census, which states that Robert was, in fact, born at Wirksworth, Derbyshire.

d. FS - Female Servant.

Relationships were not a requirement of the 1841 census. Mary Satterfield was the mother of Robert but it is unclear as to whom Elizabeth was. She could have been Mary Satterfield's daughter, Robert Satterfield's wife or some other relationship.



Parts of the 1851 census have been obliterated due to poor storage conditions and, unfortunately, much of Chorlton-on-Medlock, including the vital 5 Nelson Street, is one of these parts.


Chorlton-on-Medlock, Piece RG 9/2880, Enumeration District 21, Folio 100.

49 Nelson Street.


Relationship to Head of Household

Marital Status


Profession or Occupation






Coal Merchant

Wirksworth, Derbys






Belper, Derbys





House Servant

Rushholme, Lancs





House Servant

?Hepworth, Lincs





House Servant

Irlam, Lancs

By 1861, Elizabeth Satterfield, whatever her relationship, had disappeared and Robert's sister, Mary, had appeared. Robert's marital status of 'M' was quite clear but it is now suspected that it may have been incorrect. His wife, if she ever existed, was not listed nor were any of his children. It was now beginning to look as though Robert may have been a bachelor.

A search in the Local Studies Unit at Manchester Central Library produced a Robert Satterfield ticket, dated 16th May 1862, for the sale of 21cwt of lime at a cost of 16s 2d to a Mr Squire Worsley. This ticket, written a year after the 1861 census, shows that Robert was still trading at London Road Wharf, Manchester, and that he was a lime burner, brick maker, coal and slate dealer, as well as a dealer in Roman cement, plaster of Paris, laths and hair.

Intriguingly, this ticket appears to have been signed by an S Cock. If this is correct then this person was a relative of Robert's on his mother's side.

In order to progress the study, there were now two possible avenues to explore. The first was to continue searching the National Index, just in case he was quite elderly when he died, and the second was to search the Index of Wills to see if he could be found there. It was decided to make one further search of the National Index and this was successful.

December Quarter 1877, Robert Satterfield, Altrincham, 8a 118.

His death certificate provided the following information:

When and where died: 17th November 1877, Rose Hill, Bowden

Name and surname: Robert SATTERFIELD

Sex: Male

Age: 81 years

Occupation: Gentleman

Cause of death: Bronchitis, 9 days. Certified by A. Ransome M.D.

Signature, description and residence of informant: Charles H. Bellhouse, Nephew. Present at the death. Northwood, Buxton.

The fact that a nephew witnessed his death shows that it is likely that Robert had no children and that possibly he was a bachelor. But who was Charles H Bellhouse? His surname suggests that he was a relative on his mother's side of the family. A search of the 1881 census found him, not at Buxton, but at Derby. A possible scenario is that when Charles learned of his uncle's final illness he stayed at Buxton in order to be present at his death.

Hartington Upper Quarter, Derby, Piece RG 11/3455, Folio 30.

The Wyelands.


Relationship to Head of Household

Marital Status


Profession or Occupation


Charles Hatton





Cotton Spinner

Rusholme, Lancs







Pendleton, Lancs

James Hugh






Pendleton, Lancs







Paddington, London

Thomas Trevor





Police Magistrate

Skipton Bridge, Thirsk







Greencastle, London







Workshop, Notts





Lady's Maid

Brackley, Northampton

Annie WARD




House Maid

Ardwick, Manchester

Esther Elizabeth





Kitchen Maid

Bakewell, Derbys






Strangeways, Lancs

Harriet Louisa





Nurse Maid

Wigsthorpe, Northampton

A glance at the Birthplaces shows a strong Manchester connection, as can be seen from the names Rusholme, Pendleton, Ardwick and Strangeways. No doubt Charles Hatton Bellhouse was an employer with his own cotton mill.

All that remains now is to search for the Will of Robert Satterfield but that is another story.

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Vandalism - the burning question - what can we do about it?

Now we have a new craze - our local vandals seem to find it entertaining to set fire to the plastic dog-mess bins supplied by High Peak Borough Council. I cannot, for the life of me understand why! Another recent incident involved lifting out the stop planks from the gauging lock, carrying them about fifty yards and hurling them over the wall into the Black Brook river. The stop planks were well secured with tightly driven wedges so, whoever did the deed had to come tooled up for the job, and considering the weight of the planks, it wasn’t children who were the perpetrators. Not only this but the stop planks at the other end of the Entrance Canal, inserted for safety reasons, had also been interfered with allowing the Entrance Canal to start filling. It always amazes how nobody ever hears or sees anything happening!

Don Baines

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The second of the three photographs restored by Peter J Whitehead, for the late Dr Boucher shows a narrow boat moored at an unidentified location on the Bridgewater Canal, with a wide boat moored alongside it. Both boats appear to be carrying coal.

This happy band of IWPS walkers gathered for a walk on the Itchen Navigation north of Romsey on the recent weekend away. Report next issue - hopefully!

News from the IWA

About People

The Waterways Trust has announced the appointment of two new trustees: Frances Done is currently chief executive of York and North Yorkshire Inward Investment Board. In 2000 she took on the role of chief executive of Manchester 2002, the organising committee of the 17th Commonwealth Games held in Manchester. Frances is a long-standing IWA member and served on the board of the Manchester Ship Canal Company for four years. She is also a former chief executive of Rochdale Council, during which time she was particularly involved in the restoration of the Rochdale Canal. Richard Combes joins the Trust's board of trustees as honorary treasurer. A boater for nearly forty years, he was Managing Partner of Ernst & Young's Luton office for 15 years from 1981 to 1995 and is now chairman of Bedfordshire and Luton Chamber of Commerce and Business Link.

Captain Don Morgan has been appointed as the new harbourmaster of the Manchester Ship Canal in succession to Maurice Bestwick.

Dredging Costs

IWA has written to Rt Hon Alun Michael, MP, the Waterways Minister, to express the Association's concerns over the effect of the government's intended application of European directives concerning landfill and nitrates, which will substantially increase the cost of dredging on inland waterways. IWA believes that a failure to implement these directives in a pragmatic manner is likely to lead to environmental damage and additional expenditure to the public purse and to provide no gain for anyone.

* The Waste Management Licensing Regulations: Exemption Review could add 60% to British Waterways' dredging costs; yet provide no real environmental gain.

* The Nitrate Directive could add a similar level of costs because the dredgings are wrongly being defined as nitrogen fertiliser. Again, there would be no real environmental gain.

* The Landfill Directive appears likely to be misapplied, as the test for classifying liquid waste is entirely inappropriate since it classifies virtually all dredgings as liquid. The requirement to mix dredgings with materials such as ash or cement prior to landfill could do substantial damage to the environment, and to no conceivable gain.

IWA is concerned that the British Government has not followed the lead of the German and Dutch governments who have classified dredgings as 'sludge'. The French government has adopted a scientific definition based on water content. Yet the British Government's definition is so all encompassing that it would classify even fine dry sand as a liquid, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Environment Agency's criteria.

British Waterways' senior management is understood to be deeply concerned at the stance taken by civil servants over the issue and the navigation interests within the Environment Agency are also understood to be equally concerned at the line taken by their colleagues elsewhere in the Agency.

Licensing Act

The Licensing Act has received Royal Assent. It contains provisions for a new licensing regime for selling alcohol on boats; the costs could be £260 in the first year with an annual fee of £50 thereafter. These costs are subject to confirmation. British Marine Federation is seeking clarification of some of the implications of the new law with the new minister for tourism and licensing, Richard Caborn MP.

Every business that owns a boat or boats that wish to sell alcohol will require a licence. One person in the business must have a personal licence and must also be a 'Designated Premises Supervisor'. That person will need to go on an external training course. Additionally, each of the boats must have a premises licence. The new system may come into effect from January 2005.

Water Supplies

Despite low rainfall levels in many parts of the country, most waterways have remained open, with only the Basingstoke Canal now closed above Woking, owing to lack of water supplies, and night time restrictions on two sets of locks, either side of the summit, on the Kennet & Avon Canal. The latter restrictions have been introducing as a result of boaters leaving paddles up when using the locks in late evenings.

The absence of restrictions on most canals managed by British Waterways is largely owing to advances in water management, including back-pumping water at locks, live monitoring of water levels using 500 sensors throughout BW's network, and a new computer modelling system.

Meteorological Office data from January to June this year shows that much of England has received 15% less rainfall this year compared with the long-term average. In previous years, such as 1995, when reservoirs started the year at comparable levels and rainfall was similar to 2003, there were substantial boating restrictions.

Bridgewater Canal

The charity 'Steam Coal & Canal' is being wound up and local authorities and other interested bodies are adopting the individual projects that formed the charity's objectives following a review of the likely most effective way of achieving them. The name 'Steam, Coal & Canal' will remain as an overall concept title. The Coal Authority has just started work costing £2.5 million to remove ochre discharge from Worsley mine next Monday.

A bid for World Heritage status is slowly moving forward as is a study into potential regional park sites by the Northwest Development Agency. The Heritage Lottery Fund is providing £28,000 towards a development study for the Astley Colliery site and the Coalfield Regeneration Trust is to provide a further £22,000.

Chesterfield Canal

Over one hundred objections to Yorkshire Forward's plans for the former Kiveton Colliery area, many from IWA and Chesterfield Canal Trust supporters in the area, appear to have finally yielded a satisfactory outcome. Restoration of the canal through the area, including Norwood Tunnel looked threatened when Yorkshire Forward's redevelopment plans for the area made no allowance for a restored canal.

A third set of proposals from the regional development agency, now closely guided by Rotherham Council's planners, seems likely to meet the approval of Rotherham's planning committee. The revised proposals allow for the following:

* A defined and protected fifty-metre corridor has been provided for the canal through the site.

* A proposed car park that would have blocked the canal has been moved.

* No hard development or substantial tree planting will now take place over the line of the canal.

* Problems of water supply for the canal have been resolved.

* Joint funding arrangements to extend the canal into the site are being explored.

* A public meeting for Yorkshire Forward to explain its proposals is to be held.

Although funding for the restoration of the canal from its present head of navigation at the eastern end of Norwood Tunnel has yet to be found, it now appears more likely that all the relevant local authorities and agencies accept that full restoration of the canal is desirable and is being worked towards. If full restoration of the remaining derelict parts of the canal is achieved, it will once again be thanks to strong local lobbying.

Grand Union Canal - Leicester Line

As part of the re-development of the Bottom Lock area at Foxton, British Waterways will take over responsibility for provision of boater facilities at the site from 1st October when work starts on the redevelopment of the existing boatyard area and pub. Foxton Boat Services will continue to operate its services for customers at a new site, where a workshop is being constructed a few hundred yards along the Market Harborough Arm. Foxton Boat Services also intends to keep its shop facility open.

Kennet & Avon Canal

A report published by British Waterways shows that the Kennet & Avon Canal is already at the heart of a thriving waterway tourism and leisure scene. 'The Economic Impact of the Restoration of the Kennet & Avon Canal' prepared by ECOTEC Research & Consulting reports that the 87-mile waterway now brings £26million every year into the local economy and provides employment for 1,000 people.

The research also reveals £350million has been invested since 1995 in 23 new commercial developments alongside the reopened canal, eighteen of which are on brown field sites. Demonstrating the importance of the canal within the local economy, 80 per cent of local tourism and leisure related businesses report an increase in turnover over the last three years, with 46 per cent reporting also an increase in staff.

The boating businesses on the Kennet & Avon Canal with increased revenue and employment include Sally Boats at Bradford on Avon and Reading Marine at Aldermaston. Hotels and pubs along the Canal have also been shown to be substantial beneficiaries from the influx of waterway users.

The report is particularly encouraging news for the Cotswold Canals Partnership, which includes IWA, and which is working to restore the 36 miles of Cotswold Canals to once again link the rivers Thames and Severn. There should be similar benefits from the revitalisation of these waterways, including generating £6.8million a year for the local economy and creating 200 permanent new jobs in tourism alone.

Lancaster Canal

Plans to restore the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal have been boosted with an immediate pledge of £250,000 funds from South Lakeland District Council, with matched funding next year. The local authority is one of nine partners in the Northern Reaches Restoration Group. Other partners include IWA, Lancaster Canal Trust and British Waterways.

Natland Mill Beck is a key site in the next significant stage of restoration work. The bridge is to be strengthened by Cumbria County Council as part of its countywide safety programme. Kendal Civic Society has also offered a grant of £25,000 to refurbish the bridge parapet and its set of historic stone steps. British Waterways has appointed a Project Manager, Tania Snelgrove, to help further work on the Northern Reaches.

Chairman of the Northern Reaches Restoration Group Hal Bagot, a local landowner, has applauded the approach of South Lakeland District Council. "This local authority is displaying the vision required for the project to succeed - and they're backing it with hard cash."

Sleaford Navigation

IWA has made a grant of £2,000 to Sleaford Navigation Trust towards the purchase of the bed of the river Slea from Bone Mill Lock to Carre Street, in Sleaford. This includes Cogglesford Lock and Lock Island, by the side of the restored Cogglesford Watermill. The total cost of the land being purchased is about £7,600, including legal fees of which over £5,000 has already been raised by local public appeals.

The land being purchased is currently owned by the Bristol Estates, once major landowners in Sleaford. Ownership of the land will strengthen the Trust's intended application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore Cogglesford Lock, a listed structure. Although at the head of navigation and not connected to the main navigable section, restoration of this part of the waterway is particularly desirable as it is a high-profile site in the centre of town. Ownership of the land should also preclude any hindrance to the Trust's restoration plans.

The Trust has been working to restore the full thirteen miles of the Sleaford Navigation and, at present, eight miles from the junction of the river Witham at Chapel Hill to Cobblers Lock are navigable. The validity of the restoration has now been recognised by the inclusion of the waterway in the Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership scheme to develop and promote the waterways of Lincolnshire as a local amenity.

Work is about to start on an Implementation Study for full restoration funded by that Partnership, which is made up of local bodies including the Environment Agency and British Waterways, and led by Lincolnshire County Council.

The Sleaford Navigation was opened in 1794 as a rural waterway to carry mostly agricultural produce between the market town of Sleaford and the river Witham. It was an extension to the mediaeval Kyme Eau waterway. The arrival of the railway in the 19th century brought about its demise and the navigation was abandoned by Act of Parliament in 1878 and closed in 1881, although much of the lower half remained navigable until the 1940s when Kyme Lower Lock was converted into a sluice.

Sleaford Navigation Trust has been working to restore the waterway for over twenty years, has restored two locks and opened up the lower half of the waterway to visiting craft. Kyme Eau Lock was reopened in 1986 and the waterway is now navigable to the tail of the restored Cobblers Lock.

River Thames

The Environment Agency has rebuilt an old bridge over the Thames at Sandford, at a cost of £456,000 to allow better access for people using wheelchairs and pushchairs. Walkers following the Thames Path National Trail frequently use the bridge. The new steel Sandford Bridge, at 'Fiddlers Elbow', upstream of Sandford Weir, replaces one built by the Agency in the 1920's, and now includes ramps.

Last Laugh

"Green Belt is a Labour achievement - and we mean to build on it!" John Prescott

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