When I posted the picture below, of a house up for auction in Lydiate, it sparked vivid memories for Kev at Bickerstaffe Boats. It turns out that he knew the property well when he was a young lad of thirteen.
Stafford Hope Venton was born in Taunton, Somerset, in 1892. He was the only child of William Venton and Beatrice Maud, nee Pidgeon, but he may also have had a half sister, Alice, who was born before Stafford’s parents married.
From before 1891 to after 1912, the lockkeeper at Semington was Edwin Brown. Edwin was maried to Rosanna and had two children, Edwin Ernest James Brown, born 2 Jan 1874, and Alberta Rosina Brown, born in 1881.
Recently I set myself the task of identifying all the lockkeepers on the Kennet and Avon Canal in the 1911 Census. It was quite a challenge to list all the locks and add as many names as possible, without being too distracted by their stories! Most of the lockkeepers at this time were employed by […]
Francis Herbert Bailey was born in Wingfield, south of Bradford upon Avon, in the summer of 1869. His father, Thomas, was a master carpenter, and his mother Ann was the daughter of an agricultural labourer. Francis had two older brothers, Albert and Charles.
The idea of building the Kennet and Avon Canal was batted around for several centuries before the first turf was turned. It was a long held ambition, fuelled by the possibility of avoiding both treacherous seas and marauding privateers, to link the Bristol Channel in the west with the Thames in the east, creating an inland route […]
William Hutchins was born in Devizes on June 8th 1877. William’s mother, Martha, nee Dally, didn’t have the best start in life. Her mother died when she was only a year old. At the age of 16, in 1855, Martha and her sister Mary Ann were convicted of stealing a muslin de laine dress, which […]
If you spot an old boat on the waterways and you want to find its age it is helpful to know that the registration numbers were allocated in batches. This list, arranged chronologically, gives the dates these numbers were first registered on British Waterways waters.
The idea of a bathing place in the canal for the youth of Devizes first cropped up in 1870. A particular supporter of the scheme was Mr Charles Clarke, who was in the habit of walking to the railway bridge below Foxhangers to swim. He took it upon himself to contact the GWR and negotiate […]
George Hawkins was born in Melksham and married Elizabeth Ada Douse in 1872. They had eight children, five boys and three girls. From the 1870s until the early 1890s the family lived at 42-43 Northgate in Devizes, where George ran a registered slaughter house and butcher’s shop. By 1890 he was advertising the business to […]
Sarah Gerrish, cake seller, drowned near Semington in 1862
Sarah Gerrish was born in Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland, in about 1807. Her father may have been serving or training at the British barracks in Clonmel, which had recently been extended in anticipation of an invasion by Napoleon. During the Napoleonic wars the barracks were largely occupied by militia units, such as the Armagh and North […]
On Sunday the 27th of December 1846 at about 6 o’clock five strapping young men left All Cannings on a walk to Stanton St Bernard, via the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath, a distance of about one and a half miles. The canal was frozen over, and the lads walked part of the way on […]
By the beginning of the 18th century, the Aire and Calder Navigation had made the River Calder navigable as far upstream as Wakefield. The aim of the Calder and Hebble Navigation was to extend navigation west (upstream) from Wakefield to Sowerby Bridge near Halifax.
I thought it would be interesting to examine average house prices across England and consider how these affect the prices of canalside properties. This table shows average house prices for all local authority areas in England in January 2018, in ascending order. I will gradually edit this page to show only local authorities where there […]
I recently researched the story of Thomas Newbrook of Whixall, who attempted to drown himself in the Llangollen Canal near Platt Lane on 10th June 1883. This led me on to another fascinating story which involved Thomas: the murder of his employer William Powell, by Round Thorn Bridge, on 17th November 1887. I will tell […]
The Wyrley and Essington Canal is nicknamed the Curly Wyrley, at it was built entirely on the level, following the contoyrs of the land. This has the advantage of allowing over sixteen miles of lock-free navigation.
The Aire and Calder Navigation was conceived as an improvement to navigation on the River Aire (from the River Ouse at Airmyn via Castleford to Leeds) and on the River Calder (from Castleford to Wakefield). The proposal was principally motivated by wool traders in Leeds and general merchants in Wakefield.