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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. By speeding up the flow by installing training walls, the river would certainly have been much harder for sailing craft to navigate safely. One of the main reasons for the decline of sailing Mersey flats was the speed of the Mersey as the Bar was dredged to suit deeper-drafted steam boats. Depth of water only becomes of primary importance when you put an engine in a boat. I have copies of mid-18th century descriptions of flats working up the Mersey to Warrington, where they just went as far as the could before grounding and then waited for the next tide. I researched the subject quite extensively over twenty years ago as part of my research into the Douglas Navigation. The first Ribble improvement scheme dates from 1806. At the time, boats sat on the mud just below the bridge on the turnpike south from Preston, a situation which continued until the dock opened in 1892. In 1873, almost 85,000 tons were handled by the river quays at Preston, and it was a desire to increase this, and coal exports in particular, which led to the dock being constructed. Glasson was never a particularly important port as the area it served did not have a great deal of industry. Lancaster had been an important slave trade port, but even there trade declined as Liverpool grew in importance.
  2. Preston almost certainly had more trade than Savick, though both are secondary destinations in the accounts I have for coal delivered off the Douglas Navigation in the 1760s. I also have a 1713 account of a court case re a ship owned in Preston which traded around the coast, so the town was definitely a port. Freckleton was by far the main destination for the Douglas coal, the port there being owned by the Douglas Navigation. It was only sold off by BW thirty years or so ago. Coal was also delivered to Liverpool, Dublin and Poulton and to Milnthorpe, another port with a wharf owned by the Douglas Navigation for the supply of Kendal. I can't see navigating the Ribble being 'fraught with problems'. It had reasonably deep water at high tide, tides which could carry ships some distance above Preston if necessary. It is suggested that the Romans supplied their fort at Ribchester by the tidal river. The Ribble became more difficult to navigate after the Port of Preston opened, c1900, when the river had training walls constructed. This drastically increased the speed of flow in the river, causing much more of a scour. Prior to the training walls being built, boats could lay on the river bed outside Tarleton Lock to tranship cargo. The water level in this photo would have been the approximate level of the river bed in the 18th and 19th centuries.
  3. This is the relevant section from the Rochdale Act, repealed in 1899.
  4. Lock 92 was definitely a Bridgewater lock and was used for taking the agreed toll for accessing the Bridgewater. The design details on this lock are unlike any of the other Rochdale locks. The water used here passed through a tunnel under the Castlefield section, and emerged into the Bridgewater beyond the stop lock at Hulme, thus supplying the canal with much cleaner water than came down the Medlock.
  5. The original junction was as shown in the plan, with enough space for a lock on the Manchester side of Leigh Bridge owned and built by the L&LC. This space seems to have been taken over by the Bridgewater around 1905, when there were different policies between the two canals over subsidence. The L&LC allowed their canal to subside, building up the banks to compensate, and eventually moving the locks to Poolstock, while the Bridgewater purchased support so their canal did not subside - in theory. To allow for possible variations in level, it was agreed that a lock could be built at the junction, as below, with the necessary land probably passing to the Bridgewater at this time.
  6. The junction at Leigh as shown in the first proposal for the L&LC branch from Wigan in 1802. The junction of the Lancaster and L&LC at the top of Johnsons Hillock is also an end on one, with the recesses for an extra pair of gates still visible. The main lock gates were Lancaster, while the L&LC had a separate pair to control water. I suspect most junctions would have such control gates unless the 'new' canal was higher than the original, as at the junction of the Bradford and L&LC. In such cases, water could not be lost by the older waterway.
  7. Trade on the L&LC was more intensive than on narrow canals, so the boats were worked harder, giving less time for attention to paintwork. CTLtd boats were averaging 450 miles per week around 1953, when the canal was carrying something like 500,000 tons annually, probably with around 50-60 boats in service.
  8. The steel boats always had much less decoration than the wooden ones. L&LC dockyards were geared towards maintaining wooden boats, and would have had one boatbuilder who could also undertake the traditional paintwork. The steel boats were usually maintained at Wigan, where a new dockyard and maintenance yard was built in the early 1950s. Paintwork would have come pretty low down in priorities at the new yard. The privately-owned boats employed on the wigan Power Station traffic were painted by a local signwriter, and did not have the proper traditional decoration, just a cheap interpretation. Tarleton and Whitebirk were the last yards where traditional painting was done properly, though I am not sure of who was employed at Bank Hall in Liverpool by Parkes.
  9. This is probably the best colour photo (by John Gavan) showing BW livery on a short boat. By this time Severn was working on bank maintenance, but had not been repainted. There are very few colour photos of L&LC boats, even though traditional painting continued at boatyards until around 1960. The steel boats always had much less decoration than the wooden ones. I was certainly fortunate to met Sam Yates, who did the painting at Whitebirk, so that the tradition could be recorded in some detail. Edited to say that I can't recall seeing photos of two identical schemes for Canal Transport or BW boats.
  10. Low interest rates are a big problem. They are supposed to be low so that a business can survive the downturn in the economy, but for many business owners and shareholders they are just another way to take too much out of their business. Who would have thought they would do that? There is just too much short term thinking, and the number of businesses in financial problems will only increase.
  11. There have been proposals for canals in the area now called Ukraine for many years, with the earliest probably being those suggested by an Austrian engineer/geographer for a system to link the then recently expanded borders of the Hapsburg Empire with the hereditary lands in what is now Austria. A Baltic-Black Sea Canal was also propsed at regular intervals, and at least two such links were built in today's Belarus - The Oginski Canal and the Berezina Canal, both being developed by the Polish authorities, with the Augustow Canal also being built, to some extent, for similar reasons.
  12. Sounds like a hard life down south.
  13. This drawing by a BW engineer circa 1950 shows the phases in the elongation of Bulholme Lock. There were similar phases for all the A&CN locks.
  14. Pluto

    Brexit 2019

    I wouldn't be surprised if it was the Americans as Trump did not like the description of him and his administration. We have to accept him here as a representative of his country, so why can't he do the same for the person who represents our country.
  15. I was one of them, on the way back from the IWA National Rally at Northampton. I was helping crew one of the B&MCC boats.
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