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Canals around Coventry

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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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361 of 374  Wed 19th Dec 2018 11:18am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2737

Lizziebeth, Yes Non-Local is right, but you really was a wanderer at 4, you would have passed the Navigation pub as well. Look I saw you one night in 49 when your Mother brought you to your father to kiss you goodnight in the big bar that fronted Parrots Grove, and that was a few weeks after he had questioned me about my age. I was also in there one night in 1984 along with some old school mates from Lentons Lane. small world.
Canals around Coventry
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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362 of 374  Wed 19th Dec 2018 1:35pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2737

The Oxford Canal, before engines arrived, was a beautiful, peaceful stretch of water, the banks not disturbed. In many places clear water where you would see perch, roach and bream - fishing competitions became very popular. It ran from Sutton Stop to Thrupp, a small village where it joined the River Cherwell near Oxford. My granny lived in Thrupp when she was a teenager. I spent many days there on holiday. The shimmering shadowy canal there held large reed beds - in late summer lengthman cut the reeds, laid them on the scythed grassy bank to dry in small mounds. We would get an old sweet bottle, fix a cloth top over it, then cut two hazel sticks from the hedge, one with a fork at the end. We would lift up the heaps of reeds with one stick like a lid, then plunge the other stick down on snakes before they could slither away, trapping them in the fork of the stick. We placed them in the sweet bottle - we would sell the snakes to a local man for about ten a penny. The sweet bottle would then be washed and later be filled with salted runner beans. We would walk or cycle back along the towpath to Banbury. Here was the oldest and biggest drydock on the Oxford Canal - it also had the oldest forge in the Midlands. We were held spellbound by the blacksmith, but it was the market that held the eye, the houses laid back from the road, the market cross in the middle, surrounded by colourful market stalls - truly historic. The stalls had everything you could want - spinning tops, yo-yos, giant wheels of liquorice to eat as you walked round, fruit and veg, clothes etc. Dad used to buy old coloured clothes for a few pennies - he took them home, washed them, cut them into six-inch strips, then with a metal hook sewed them into sackcloth and - hey presto! We had new rugs.
Canals around Coventry
walrus
cheshire
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363 of 374  Wed 19th Dec 2018 4:11pm  
Member: Joined Dec 2011  Total posts:224

My great grandparents on my mother's side, Humphreys, had The Travellers Rest further up Bulkington Road from The Navi. I often swam in the Oxford Canal on summer days, it was usually at least lukewarm. The downside was that you would emerge orange coloured because the water had a lot of suspended clay. The stretch of Coventry Canal between Bell Green Road and Windmill Lane, especially the Stars, was my playground for most of my childhood. Swimming in the Coventry Canal was, of course, unthinkable.
Canals around Coventry
Not Local
Bedworth
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364 of 374  Wed 19th Dec 2018 6:17pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:232

Kaga - Lizziebeth's description of going up from the canal towpath to the pub would fit both the New Inn and The Navigation. The New Inn was up from the towpath, and to get to the Navigation you go up from the towpath, and over the bridge to the pub which is on the non-towpath side of the canal. The Navigation is still there as a very large private house and the Travellers Rest is also still there, it has just had a refurbishment.
Canals around Coventry
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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365 of 374  Thu 20th Dec 2018 1:35pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2737

Not local - The irony of this is Lizziebeth could have crossed the road, taken the path in Parrotts Grove, across a few fields and would have arrived at almost the same spot on the canal at Bedworth. Lizziebeth - The Crown stood back, not in line with Aldermans Green Road but in line with the house demolished in the blitz, not 200yds from you. The landlord at the time helped move the rubble to rescue, then invited the rescuers back to the pub for a stiff drink - wonder if it was your father?
Canals around Coventry
Not Local
Bedworth
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366 of 374  Thu 20th Dec 2018 3:37pm  
Member: Joined Feb 2014  Total posts:232

Kaga - I did think the same thing, it would have been safer to walk across the fields rather than along the canal bank. Her walk had all the makings of a good pub crawl starting with a quick half in the Crown, on to the Elephant & Castle, then the Greyhound, the New Inn, and the Navigation. If you had the energy you could continue up into Bedworth.
Canals around Coventry
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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367 of 374  Mon 24th Dec 2018 11:06am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2737

The way I saw it. Let's go back to the 18th century. From the north to the east, and to the west, Coventry had many rivers, brooks and streams, fords, and floods. This meant getting goods into Coventry was a hard, long job. For a miller to get one ton of flour into Coventry would take something like a team of six to eight horses almost a day to travel four miles - if the cart was stuck to the axles in mud, ??? But they had found coal in Bedworth - think of how long that took to get to Coventry. A bunch of businessmen in 1768 thought of navigation by digging a canal, and boats, but Foleshill was a county of its own and they didn't like the idea, so they compromised - the canal would go round the boundary to the narrowest point of Foleshill. When they reached Sutton Stop they went west and round to New Inn, then they went east to Stoke Heath in Coventry. Here they built a bridge, called it the Navigation as of the company, for the cart track from Coventry to the Bell Green area. They then turned towards the city, at the Foleshill boundary they turned to the west again, then into the city where they built the basin, wharfs, workers' houses, a large house with many rooms. They installed Thomas Goodhall as agent and to run the show, to employ people to help him. The first two boats arrived in the basin 10 Aug 1769 - the coal was about 20 or more tons - now Coventry could receive goods, twenty-thirty times more than before, employment and wages swept through the town like a forest fire. A baker that had once had flour to bake 1000 loaves a week could now receive enough flour for what he could sell, it was sensational. The baker employed men and had carts to sell his bread. Now few could read in those days, so they made baskets that half a dozen loaves fitted the bottom, a second layer made the baskets to carry a dozen, so they sold by the dozen. To keep count nut sticks (tally) were used, the delivery man cut notches for each basket in both sticks identically, gave one to the shopkeeper who marked the last notch with a pen to avoid mistakes. When the tally was full and paid for, the delivery man stripped off the notches and was ready to start again. They had to have lots of nut tally and baskets, but that was the system. They built water wagons to hold over a 1000 gallons with tap, sold penny a bucket - the whole thing revolutionised the city.
Canals around Coventry
Blueleader
Coventry
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368 of 374  Mon 24th Dec 2018 12:06pm  
Member: Joined Jul 2014  Total posts:44

Nice one Kaga! Well written as usual. Merry Christmas
Ric Osborne

Canals around Coventry
Midland Red
Cherwell
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369 of 374  Fri 28th Dec 2018 8:19am  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:5250

On 19th Dec 2018 1:35pm, Kaga simpson said: The Oxford Canal, before engines arrived, was a beautiful, peaceful stretch of water, the banks not disturbed. In many places clear water where you would see perch, roach and bream - fishing competitions became very popular. It ran from Sutton Stop to Thrupp, a small village where it joined the River Cherwell near Oxford. My granny lived in Thrupp when she was a teenager. I spent many days there on holiday. The shimmering shadowy canal there held large reed beds - in late summer lengthman cut the reeds, laid them on the scythed grassy bank to dry in small mounds. We would get an old sweet bottle, fix a cloth top over it, then cut two hazel sticks from the hedge, one with a fork at the end. We would lift up the heaps of reeds with one stick like a lid, then plunge the other stick down on snakes before they could slither away, trapping them in the fork of the stick. We placed them in the sweet bottle - we would sell the snakes to a local man for about ten a penny. The sweet bottle would then be washed and later be filled with salted runner beans. We would walk or cycle back along the towpath to Banbury. Here was the oldest and biggest drydock on the Oxford Canal - it also had the oldest forge in the Midlands. We were held spellbound by the blacksmith, but it was the market that held the eye, the houses laid back from the road, the market cross in the middle, surrounded by colourful market stalls - truly historic. The stalls had everything you could want - spinning tops, yo-yos, giant wheels of liquorice to eat as you walked round, fruit and veg, clothes etc. Dad used to buy old coloured clothes for a few pennies - he took them home, washed them, cut them into six-inch strips, then with a metal hook sewed them into sackcloth and - hey presto! We had new rugs.
Kaga. You may enjoy these images of the Oxford Canal, including some taken at Thrupp on one of my first outings following my hospital stay earlier this year Thumbs up
Canals around Coventry
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
All posts by this member
370 of 374  Fri 28th Dec 2018 1:09pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2737

Midland Red Brilliant Pictures, Yes I did enjoy seeing them and will do again, everything so much changed, even the boats are bigger and longer, solar panels now replace the beautiful old water jugs and buckets etc, these longer boats must have powerful engines, wonder how long the banks will last with that force of water hitting them?
Canals around Coventry
PeterB
Mount Nod
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371 of 374  Mon 18th Mar 2019 7:27pm  
Member: Joined May 2014  Total posts:178

An often overlooked feature of the Canal Basin is the listed weighbridge and weighbridge office which date from 1810 and are believed to still contain the original weighing mechanism. It is believed that there was originally a second weighbridge on the north site of the office. Regretably the area is now used for storage and the office is boarded up. Peter.
Canals around Coventry
Midland Red
Cherwell
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372 of 374  Mon 18th Mar 2019 7:55pm  
Moderator: Joined Jan 2010  Total posts:5250

Canals around Coventry
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
All posts by this member
373 of 374  Tue 19th Mar 2019 9:22am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2737

Peter B, Midland Red, Yes, the second one was there in the fifties, it was a normal left one for goods coming into the basin, right for going out. I believe the same office issued tickets for your next trip, destination and goods. Now that building is the same as the weigh bridge next door to the Hippodrome, brick built even, 1800 time, that's why I query the one on Ansty Road as that looks centuries older building?
Canals around Coventry
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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374 of 374  Thu 4th Apr 2019 4:41pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:2737

In the fifties if you wanted to chase your family tree or local history you were on your own, poking round a building for history and you were told "Private property, keep away or be nicked" - most of the books you read today had not been printed back then. Separating Leicester Row from the canal were the wharfs and warehouses of the trading days of yesteryear, now derelict. As a young child I heard many tales of these grand buildings. Now many years later I was old enough to look back at the drama of the late centuries, I knew that my family had a colourful but hardworking past and livelihood in and around these buildings. I was staying a few days aboard one of these old working boats and being a Sunday I walked over to the largest building. The rusty old key in the lock, I teased open the old cobwebby door into the distant past. I fancied I could hear the hustle and bustle. There were lengths of rope, bits of chain, a couple of tea chests with nuts and bolts, on a higher shelf a couple of floral painted water jugs. At floor level there were some curious stoneware vessels that left me puzzled. Climbing the rickety wooden stairs I found, tucked away in a box, several gas respirators, unused - these had two feet rubber tubes like an elephant's trunk that led to to a separate canister in a haversack and separate eyepieces, that I believe were issued to wardens and police? The ones civilians had had a cellophane panel to see through and a canister of filtration crystals in front of the mouth. Had it been a dumping place during the war, or used as a wardens' meeting place? As I closed the great doors, shutting off the past, trapping it back in the dark, no longer a part of our family's lives. The building returned to what it became during the war years. I returned to the boat, the present and the adorable Irene.
Canals around Coventry

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