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Pluto last won the day on July 12 2011

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    European inland waterway history, including the transfer of technology during the early industrial revolution; wooden boat construction on inland waterways; the history of opening bridges; and the L&LC.

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    industrial historian
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  1. I did most of my boating when I was in my twenties, which was fortunate in that I had to have a hip replacement when I was thirty-two. Since then I have spent much time researching the history of waterways, particularly looking at those in the former communist countries of Europe, though I did get to see the Grand Canal in China on several occasions. I don't regret giving up my old wooden short boat, though I do miss meeting the declining number of old canal men and women who were still around in the 1970s. Canals had to develop into leisure to survive, but I am glad I was able to see them when they were still comparatively unchanged. The photo shows Charlie Atkins keeping an eye on my boat at Preston Brook.
  2. Another, more recent, report about puddle comes from G R Jebb's paper on Maintenance of Canals, with special reference to the Mining Districts, for the 1888 Royal Society Conference on Canals. Describing maintaining canals where there is subsidence, he says (about images which I do not have): The cross-section shows how the canal has been maintained. When the first swagging (subsidence) began, a puddle wall, 3 feet in thickness, was constructed on either side of canal, with a slope of puddle on the canal side, and these puddle walls were raised from time to time as required, the space between the slopes being filled up with mud dredged out of other parts of the canal, or with marl. Either of these materials is better than clay, as they seal up more readily any incipient cracks in the puddle walls. Of course, embankments have to be formed outside the puddle, and raised and strengthened as the ground goes down. Again, another confirmation that clay was not the best material for making a canal water-tight, and that locally-sourced materials could be better. I suspect that clay was used where it could be dumped directly over a problem area of the canal bed. This would ensure that it was kept wet, and was probably easier to work underwater than other materials because it kept compact.
  3. The Yorkist boats which worked on the Humber also had doubling on the outside for protection, as in this circa 1975 photo of the bow of one of them. For the Aster, see http://www.musee-saintjeandelosne.com/projetaster.htm, and for the Blueberry http://projetbabel.org/fluvial/index.htm as it was owned by Charles Berg, who researched and compiled the site.
  4. The more contemporary articles I read about making canals water-tight, the more I think that they did not use clay as we know it now as a sealant. That was only introduced after canals opened, when it would be cheap enough to transport. The water-tight layer was made from suitable earth from local excavations mix with small stones and loam. It was only when repairs became necessary that clay was used. Suitable clay is not found everywhere, so puddle banks may have been created where suitable clay was stored after being delivered by boat. There were also clay pits, where the clay was sourced, and I know of two on the L&LC, one on the Leigh branch, which I think is still the main local source, and one below Dean Lock which is now overgrown, with several old wooden boats sunk in the basin. Confusion is also created by the way the term 'puddle' has changed in meaning. It traditionally meant a vertical wall of clay between the original ground level, and any new material above, and could be called a 'puddle trench'. These were used during construction of dams for reservoirs and, depending on circumstances, between the original ground and earth thrown up to create the towpath. The water-tight layer forming the bed of a canal was called the 'lining'. This term now seems to have been replaced by 'puddle', or 'puddle lining'.
  5. Resurrecting this topic, as I have found a couple interesting descriptions of puddle, the first being below. I will sort out the other soon. 1841 The Surveyor Engineer and.pdf
  6. There were several wide boats being converted on the Rochdale in Manchester around 1970, with the Hopewell, and possibly Ellen, as restaurant boats, and Lune as a 'boutique'.
  7. The site of the original Liverpool canal basin in 1975, seen from Leeds Street - I wonder why it was called that? The canal passed underneath the girder bridge which carried the railway into Liverpool Exchange Station. The warehouse beyond the railway was built circa 1880 when the original canal basin was closed, and a new one built alongside a new road, Pall Mall. The back of this warehouse and the edge of the canal basin can be seen in the second, 1984, photo. Tate & Lyle's sugar refinery was closed shortly after, and demolished.
  8. Edward Paget-Tomlinson and Tony Lewery legging Gifford through Preston Brook Tunnel in 1972. Tony is the one lying over the water, and Edward had just taken my place so I could take a photo.
  9. Pluto


    They are heading towards the Aire Valley where they will be the moving base for an arts event taking place over several weeks.
  10. The image is from Hogrewe's 1780 book describing English canals since 1759, and was the German forerunner of the later books describing English canals by Phillips and Priestley Below is page 148 where he is describing the Bridgewater, and suggesting it was 4 feet deep over Barton Aqueduct. (line 10)
  11. Ian, I am surprised that you haven't seen the 1888 government Returns for Railway & Canal Traffic before. It is possibly the best place to start regarding canal standards. On the Lancaster depth, I suspect they were reduced during construction because of financing problems.
  12. Commercial traffic was making a profit at this time, with 7.5 million tons being carried on BW's waterways. The North East was probably the main area for commercial traffic, probably accounting for around half of this tonnage. It would have been seen as worthwhile advertising on commercial letters.
  13. Possibly the best source is the 1888 canal statistics compiled by the government. This is one page. The depth of the canal was usually slightly more than the depth over the sill, as can be seen in the Lancaster Canal specification. 1790s Lancaster Canal Specification.pdf
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