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Posts posted by Pluto

  1. 16 hours ago, beerbeerbeerbeerbeer said:

    Ok, I had found this, copied off someone’s flicker photos;



    The subject of skew bridges was raised last year by members of the Waterways History Research Group of the RCHS, for which I wrote the attached brief account, and translated Poncelot's history of 1852. Academics are still discussing the best ways to produce designs, but British craftsmen had it pretty much wrapped up by the second half of the 19th century. Those built by Chapman in 1787 on the Naas branch of the Grand Canal in Ireland are considered the earliest true examples.

    2023-7 Skew Bridges, Mike Clarke.pdf 1852 Weekly reports of meetings (Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances).pdf

    • Greenie 1
  2. Numerous canals have been built in Europe for timber rafting, such as all those in Finland. There was also what is known in Germany as 'Trift', which was basically firewood, and canals for rafting or moving Trift were built all over Germany, Czech, Austria and France. Rafting timber, this time for building, was also done regularly on European rivers, and on the L&LC out of Liverpool in the late 18th century, but was stopped on the canal because of damage to locks and other canal infrastructure. 


    27 minutes ago, IanD said:

    Of course I can't guarantee this for every development, but I'm pretty sure it was the case for the ones under discussion -- unless you have any evidence to the contrary?


    I'm pretty sure that CRT did "let them impose their T&C" because the developer said "Look, we'll refurbish the moorings at our cost if you agree to this", and CRT thought it was much better to have nicely refurbished moorings (with T&C) at no cost than no moorings at all.


    It's how the real world works, as opposed to the one you wish you lived in where boaters get all the priorities and benefits and somebody else pays for them... 😉 

    Coal used to be delivered to the new mill at Saltaire by canal, with unloading over the towpath, so there was mooring there for many years. When the mill was first being developed there was a proposal for visitor moorings at the Shipley end of the mill, though neither BW, nor the local council, nor the developer were prepared to fund them. The idea raises its head from time to time, but nothing has happened yet, despite this being one of the country's more successful World Heritage sites.

  4. 19 hours ago, MtB said:

    "London London houseboat residents fear rise in mooring fees will price them out"


    With headlines like this, about the cheapest way by a long chalk to live in central London, I often wonder what they mean by "price them out". 


    Price them out into what? Tents on the towpath? Three-bed semis in a good part of Leeds?

    Semis in Leeds??? They were building back-to-backs until 1937, even though they were prohibited nationally from 1909. It's the capital of Yorkshire, y'know.

  5. 1 hour ago, midnight cowboy said:

    Yes - we also went down first thing when they were unlocked - watched by a CaRT lengthsman some years ago - 3 of us had no trouble in a single nb.- with a stop for breakfast at the largest pound halfway in (according to the lengthsman) in record time,  Not at all difficult - unlike some K&A locks with tricky walkways on the gates - not a cut I wish to revisit!

    On the L&LC they are called pools, not pounds. Lock 20 near the bottom of the flight used to be the best place to stop as there was a really good pie shop just up the road.

  6. In commercial days it took around 2 hours, though you could leave the gates open, with stories of passing a boat in every pool. From the tonnages carried on the canal this may have just been possible in winter, when coal traffic was at its most intense. It took me around 7 hours in the early 1970s, though this was with a short boat, working single handed, and opening and closing both sets of gates.

  7. Looking through my collection, there seem to have been several waterway proposals in 17th century Switzerland. The Canal d'Entreroches is the best known, but there was also an Aarberger Canal which allowed boats from the C d'Entreroches to get to Bern, from where most of the canal-building finance came from. After the closure in 1829, there were plans to rebuild the canal produced twice in the 19th century.


    Returning to the original question, there is a book, Steigende Pegel, by Anita Siegfried, ISBN 978-03762-054-0, which tells the story of Pietro Caminada and his canal proposals as a novel (in German).

    • Greenie 1
  8. A storm destroyed an aqueduct, though traffic had been on the decline since the mid-18th century as the condition of roads in the area improved. One article suggests 85% of the traffic was wine, much to the delight of the boatmen.

  9. There were more successful Swiss canals, such as the Canal d'Entreroche, planned to link the Rhine and Rhone. The initial section opened circa 1648, and remained in use until 1829. This is the route of the canal, with a wharf house, as seen in 1995.

    1995 Canal d'Entreroche, line of the canal 183.jpg

    • Greenie 1
  10. 21 minutes ago, dogless said:

    But it is clear their ownership of such boats is for their personal pleasure, exactly as ownership of mine is for my selfish reasons. Neither of us

    The L&LC Society own and operate their heritage boat Kennet to bring pleasure to others, and to show the public the type of boat used on the canal. Only Kennet and Mersey are 

  11. 51 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

    Blisworth Tunnel, Grand Union Canal, NorthamptonshireThe construction of Blisworth Tunnel in 1805 claimed 50 lives, with 14 workers killed in just one incident when the first tunnel they were digging out collapsed.

    I didn't say there were no deaths, just that I had only come across a small number in records. Craft training is based upon the experience of the trainer, which is fine for most situations. The chance of death or injury increases when the working environment is variable, and that was certainly the case at Blisworth, where the ground conditions were unexpected, as was the case with several other tunnels. Miners were employed on most tunnels, an area of expertise where immigrant labour had long been used. Several mines had employed German miners since Elizabethan times, many coming from the Harz region. Even comparatively recently, water power was used extensively underground there, and there was a navigable adit. The two drawings show the Dorothea mine in section, and an idea of how the navigable adit worked.


    Going back to the OP, it would be interesting to see a compilation of statistics re deaths during canal construction. Tunnels do seem to have been the most dangerous sites, even during railway building, but what about other types of work. Were there any/many during the construction of Pontcysyllte, for example.

    Dorothea mine, Germany.jpg

    2000 Claustal 2.jpg

  12. 7 hours ago, IanD said:


    Charities are not excused from having to take care just because they're virtuous -- or a charity, like CART or Eton College...


    Note that more deaths like this is exactly what those proposing that canal repairs should be done "like in the good old days" should expect... 😉 

    After many years researching canal history, I have come across very few deaths or serious injuries mentioned, either in canal records or in newspapers. I suspect the standard of training was higher 100 to 200+ years ago, and management that had actual experience of what they were managing.

    • Greenie 3
  13. Back in 1971, when working for Peter Froud, he managed to get his trip boat Lapwing stuck on a tree stump which had been thrown into the canal. The stump caught on the bottom of the boat and then rolled over, lifting the stern about 5 inches out of the water. It took ages to pull Lapwing off the stump.

  14. Getting back to the subject, this is lock 7 on the Wigan flight in 1954, Although it is a poor photo, the effects of subsidence are clearly visible, with the off side chamber wall curving inwards while the towpath side is moving outwards. Some of the problems with the Wigan flight are caused by similar, if less extreme, results of subsidence.

    subsidence lock 7.jpg

  15. The attached 1911 report on the Wigan flight does give some idea of the problems maintaining locks here. Subsidence has been a continual proble, particularly 1870-1930 when deep mining was taking place in this area. The resulting subsidence required locks to be raised or lowered, with this being made more difficult by distortion of the lock chamber, such that the quoins were no longer at their correct angle for ease of gate operation. Many lock chambers had around 3 inches of taper from top to bottom, with the gate pin being slightly offset to th, which to some extent mae centre line of the quoin post which increased clearance between the quoin and quoin post as the gate opened, ensuring less wear and leakage. The quoin could also be slightly out of vertical, which gave similar benefits to having the chamber width tapered. This also made it slightly easier to hang the gates, and ensuring that the bottom of the mitre touched before the top. The weight of water would then seal the gates as they distorted under pressure. It was also easy to run a saw down the mitre when it began to leak, a task done from a ladder, so hardly conforming with H&S today. All these ramblings do explain why Wigan flight is particularly difficult to maintain, and would need a complete rebuild to overcome the problems. I can hardly see that happening.

    1911 Wigan Flight Report.pdf

    • Greenie 2
  16. 14 hours ago, Ewan123 said:

    I've been through a couple of tunnels in our canoe, it's quite fun (Chirk and... one at the top of the Ashby I think?) I did have a high vis vest and two lights (one headtorch, one mounted on the boat) and a good hand bell to ring ;). Plus I can usually outpace most narrowboats if I try hard enough, so escape is usually an option 😀.

    Hi-viz would be no use in Foulridge if Kennet entered the tunnel, as you can see from the photo a couple of posts earlier that you cannot see anything in front, and the JP3 would drown out a hand bell.

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