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Forgotten canal side business and trade


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As this is post 2000, I have chosen a topic of thought.

 

Whilst the canals carried many cargoes, and most having disappeared. There are those cargoes that some times leave any body coming across them with a question as to what they might be. A recent conversation on the Waterways History Group regarding "Lock Stock" has yet to be resolved although some suggestion have included pit props.

 

Then there is purple ore, which was used in the iron industry

J Bagnall & Sons would receive Purple Ore in their own boats from Wednesbury Basin (GWR)

 

T Bantock carried spelter dross from the World Galvanising Works to the GWR basin at Bilston

 

They also carried basic slag from Ten Score Basin to Shrubbery GWR Basin. Basic slag was a product of the basic steel making plant at Spring Vale Iron & Steelworks and it was sent away for the phosphorus content and used as a manure.

 

Birmingham Corporation  collected a lot of coke dust in their boats for use at their Summer Lane Generating Station 

 

There was also waste acid which was acid used to clean metal and carried away to a chemical works to reclaim any metal there 

 

These are just a few examples, but give some indication of the variety of traffic on the waterways.

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4 minutes ago, Heartland said:

As this is post 2000, I have chosen a topic of thought.

 

Whilst the canals carried many cargoes, and most having disappeared. There are those cargoes that some times leave any body coming across them with a question as to what they might be. A recent conversation on the Waterways History Group regarding "Lock Stock" has yet to be resolved although some suggestion have included pit props.

 

Then there is purple ore, which was used in the iron industry

J Bagnall & Sons would receive Purple Ore in their own boats from Wednesbury Basin (GWR)

 

T Bantock carried spelter dross from the World Galvanising Works to the GWR basin at Bilston

 

They also carried basic slag from Ten Score Basin to Shrubbery GWR Basin. Basic slag was a product of the basic steel making plant at Spring Vale Iron & Steelworks and it was sent away for the phosphorus content and used as a manure.

 

Birmingham Corporation  collected a lot of coke dust in their boats for use at their Summer Lane Generating Station 

 

There was also waste acid which was acid used to clean metal and carried away to a chemical works to reclaim any metal there 

 

These are just a few examples, but give some indication of the variety of traffic on the waterways.

Some good examples of recycling

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When travelling to the boat by train (not this year!)  I always notice the  building next to one of the stations (Dewsbury?)  with, picked out in different colour brick:

 

SHODDY & MUNGO MANUFACTURERS

Edited by Mac of Cygnet
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I've watched "The Bargee" many times, but on my most recent viewing the Songbird asked a few questions about the context and it made me realise how many people an active canal employed - or rather, it made me realise the scale of employment rather than the actual number.

 

As for cargoes, the Coal Canal boats didn't often get a backload, carrying coal from Paulton to various destinations but returning empty - but on one occasion a boat carried a most unusual backload - a cargo of monks bound for Downside Abbey

Edited by magpie patrick
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7 hours ago, Mac of Cygnet said:

When travelling to the boat by train (not this year!)  I always notice the  building next to one of the stations (Dewsbury?)  with, picked out in different colour brick:

 

SHODDY & MUNGO MANUFACTURERS

Shoddy is a kind of cloth made from old cotton garments. I'd guess it was used to make things such as cleaning and polishing rags. I can remember my parents mentioning it.

   I looked up "mungo" and it's similar, but made from old wool.

   I think they would have been by-products of the once-thriving Lancashire and Yorkshire textile mills. So, they were examples of recycling before the term became popular. Production appears to have moved largely to Turkey now.

   Thinking on it further, I remember that the cloths used to keep steam locomotives shiny were called "cotton waste"; I wonder if this was the same product as shoddy.

Edited by Athy
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2 hours ago, Athy said:

Thinking on it further, I remember that the cloths used to keep steam locomotives shiny were called "cotton waste"; I wonder if this was the same product as shoddy.

 

When I first started my career at Post Office Telecommunications, "cotton waste" was used for general cleaning and polishing of things.

 

It seemed to be made of single stands of different coloured threads, roughly bundled together, as shown in the image below.

 

 

images.jpeg

Edited by cuthound
To remove a letter masquerading as a space
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I'm not sure but I'd guess that the name on that part of the range (air control flap) was the seller rather than the manufacturer.  The castings are identical from many different makes,  not just "Belle's", and often the plate bearing the name is actually separate and screwed on.

The one pictured below (currently blazing happily in my kitchen), has the name of THE BRIDGE,  Grey&Martin Ltd, Southwark Bridge. The castings are however identical to a 28" wide Belle, including the firebox and grates.

How are you doing with the little project you picked up from me? Or shouldn't I ask..

IMG_1459.jpg

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On 22/11/2020 at 08:06, Athy said:

Shoddy is a kind of cloth made from old cotton garments. I'd guess it was used to make things such as cleaning and polishing rags. I can remember my parents mentioning it.

   I looked up "mungo" and it's similar, but made from old wool.

   I think they would have been by-products of the once-thriving Lancashire and Yorkshire textile mills. So, they were examples of recycling before the term became popular. Production appears to have moved largely to Turkey now.

   Thinking on it further, I remember that the cloths used to keep steam locomotives shiny were called "cotton waste"; I wonder if this was the same product as shoddy.

If you look at https://kirkleescousins.co.uk/shoddy-and-mungo/, shoddy is generally pure wool, while mungo can contain some cotton and/or linen. Both shoddy and mungo were basically woollen waste, with the colour of the waste being one of the problems in its future use. The same problem was found in the cotton waste industry, where recycled cotton was used to produce condenser cotton. Uncoloured materials were best, and the cotton condenser industry produced low counts of yarn, often used for sheeting. The breaking up processes in both the wool, worsted and cotton waste industries reduced the staple length, the length of individual fibres, so waste materials were not usually found in high quality fine products. However, condenser cotton did produce good mule-spun yarn, with the action of the mule helping to ensure a very clean product.

There were a range of different waste cottons, some ending up on boats. Rope manufacturers, such as Mansley's next to the canal at Leigh, would take beam ends, basically the warp ends left on a beam when removed from a loom after the cloth had been woven. Quite long lengths of yarn could remain on a beam, and this would be used to make cotton rope. Collieries were the main market as cotton rope did not create static sparks when used underground. Canal companies were another major market. White rope was made when the beam ends were uncoloured to make the best quality rope. However, some canal companies asked for a few threads of a specific colour to be added so that it was possible to identify their rope, and prevent it being stolen.

I was engineer at the Helmshore Textile Museums, where we spun condenser yarn. The photos show the scutcher, one of the later preparation machines, and the mules on the first day they worked after being idle for several years. The mules, although built for condenser cotton, were more like those used in the woollen trade.

1.jpg

2.jpg

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On 22/11/2020 at 08:06, Athy said:

Shoddy is a kind of cloth made from old cotton garments. I'd guess it was used to make things such as cleaning and polishing rags. I can remember my parents mentioning it.

   I looked up "mungo" and it's similar, but made from old wool.

   I think they would have been by-products of the once-thriving Lancashire and Yorkshire textile mills. So, they were examples of recycling before the term became popular. Production appears to have moved largely to Turkey now.

   Thinking on it further, I remember that the cloths used to keep steam locomotives shiny were called "cotton waste"; I wonder if this was the same product as shoddy.

Shoddy was also used as a soil improver/fertiliser 

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32 minutes ago, Pluto said:

If you look at https://kirkleescousins.co.uk/shoddy-and-mungo/, shoddy is generally pure wool, while mungo can contain some cotton and/or linen. Both shoddy and mungo were basically woollen waste, with the colour of the waste being one of the problems in its future use. The same problem was found in the cotton waste industry, where recycled cotton was used to produce condenser cotton. Uncoloured materials were best, and the cotton condenser industry produced low counts of yarn, often used for sheeting. The breaking up processes in both the wool, worsted and cotton waste industries reduced the staple length, the length of individual fibres, so waste materials were not usually found in high quality fine products. However, condenser cotton did produce good mule-spun yarn, with the action of the mule helping to ensure a very clean product.

There were a range of different waste cottons, some ending up on boats. Rope manufacturers, such as Mansley's next to the canal at Leigh, would take beam ends, basically the warp ends left on a beam when removed from a loom after the cloth had been woven. Quite long lengths of yarn could remain on a beam, and this would be used to make cotton rope. Collieries were the main market as cotton rope did not create static sparks when used underground. Canal companies were another major market. White rope was made when the beam ends were uncoloured to make the best quality rope. However, some canal companies asked for a few threads of a specific colour to be added so that it was possible to identify their rope, and prevent it being stolen.

I was engineer at the Helmshore Textile Museums, where we spun condenser yarn. The photos show the scutcher, one of the later preparation machines, and the mules on the first day they worked after being idle for several years. The mules, although built for condenser cotton, were more like those used in the woollen trade.

1.jpg

2.jpg

Thank you for taking the trouble to post such a detailed explanation which, being based on first-hand knowledge, is all the more valuable. Oh, and I do like "scutcher", though I may have difficulty working it into a conversation.

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34 minutes ago, Pluto said:

There were a range of different waste cottons, some ending up on boats. Rope manufacturers, such as Mansley's next to the canal at Leigh, would take beam ends, basically the warp ends left on a beam when removed from a loom after the cloth had been woven. Quite long lengths of yarn could remain on a beam, and this would be used to make cotton rope. Collieries were the main market as cotton rope did not create static sparks when used underground. Canal companies were another major market. White rope was made when the beam ends were uncoloured to make the best quality rope. However, some canal companies asked for a few threads of a specific colour to be added so that it was possible to identify their rope, and prevent it being stolen.

Indeed! We used to buy our cotton line from them until they closed - I understood it to be because they were unable to obtain further beam ends (though I did not know the term at the time). We subsequently got most of our rope from the Chatham rope walk which sourced the fibre for the polypropylene we then used from eastern Europe. I still have a 90' Mansley's cotton snubber with me at our house in France which I keep meaning to bring back to the UK as its not a lot of use to us now.

 

Tam

5 hours ago, noddyboater said:

I'm not sure but I'd guess that the name on that part of the range (air control flap) was the seller rather than the manufacturer.  The castings are identical from many different makes,  not just "Belle's", and often the plate bearing the name is actually separate and screwed on.

That looks identical to the Guidwife we had on Towcester

 

Tam

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6 hours ago, noddyboater said:

I'm not sure but I'd guess that the name on that part of the range (air control flap) was the seller rather than the manufacturer.  The castings are identical from many different makes,  not just "Belle's", and often the plate bearing the name is actually separate and screwed on.

The one pictured below (currently blazing happily in my kitchen), has the name of THE BRIDGE,  Grey&Martin Ltd, Southwark Bridge. The castings are however identical to a 28" wide Belle, including the firebox and grates.

How are you doing with the little project you picked up from me? Or shouldn't I ask..

IMG_1459.jpg

This one's a bit different, would love to know more about it. 

IMG-20200104-WA0009.jpg

IMG-20200104-WA0011.jpg

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On 22/11/2020 at 10:22, cuthound said:

 

When I first started my career at Post Office Telecommunications, "cotton waste" was used for general cleaning and polishing of things.

 

It seemed to be made of single stands of different coloured threads, roughly bundled together, as shown in the image below.

 

 

images.jpeg

This reminds me of the engineering swabs we used to use in the underground depots, they were delivered in giant bags and the fibres were woven into flannel sized sheets. 

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24 minutes ago, BWM said:

This one's a bit different, would love to know more about it. 

IMG-20200104-WA0009.jpg

IMG-20200104-WA0011.jpg

That's an interesting one, the 24" Barking Portable I sold to Mr Mack had the same shape ash pan with (broken) shelf but more ornate hinges. Did you make the oval to round chimney adapter yourself? Not my favourite job.

IMG_1444.jpg

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Oh! Luvverly stuff!

 

The Belle portable was the range my Nan had in her back room (kitchen).

 

This Pechenard came from France and I fitted in my shed in Herts. Sadly when we moved North it stayed there.370477145_Pech03(Medium).JPG.ab1d83e3cc76e9ca66681f746cc770b3.JPG

 

The Larbert we bought in Camden and did eventually get installed in TYCHO

1305978584_Stove001(Medium).JPG.e5aea6951e19cf74affe6a62b831b251.JPG

 

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I managed to get the "Bridge" in for last Christmas,  it was a tight fit! 

It's in remarkably good condition having been boarded up in a London terrace fireplace for most of its life. 

Your Larbert looks great too, all the ones I've seen for sale lately have been held together by paint and fire cement. 

IMG_1550.jpg

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On 21/11/2020 at 15:50, Heartland said:

As this is post 2000, I have chosen a topic of thought.

 

Whilst the canals carried many cargoes, and most having disappeared. There are those cargoes that some times leave any body coming across them with a question as to what they might be. A recent conversation on the Waterways History Group regarding "Lock Stock" has yet to be resolved although some suggestion have included pit props.

 

Then there is purple ore, which was used in the iron industry

J Bagnall & Sons would receive Purple Ore in their own boats from Wednesbury Basin (GWR)

 

T Bantock carried spelter dross from the World Galvanising Works to the GWR basin at Bilston

 

They also carried basic slag from Ten Score Basin to Shrubbery GWR Basin. Basic slag was a product of the basic steel making plant at Spring Vale Iron & Steelworks and it was sent away for the phosphorus content and used as a manure.

 

Birmingham Corporation  collected a lot of coke dust in their boats for use at their Summer Lane Generating Station 

 

There was also waste acid which was acid used to clean metal and carried away to a chemical works to reclaim any metal there 

 

These are just a few examples, but give some indication of the variety of traffic on the waterways.

Drug smuggling around the country was a major source of income for working boatpersons. It supplemented the miniscule wages they received for legal cargo and was carried out with the knowledge and tacit approval of the canal management, provided they received their kick backs and could maintain plausible deniability. Purple Ore, Spelter Dross, Basic Slag, Coke Dust and Waste Acid were all euphemisms for various illegal drugs of the time.

Working boat trade only continued in to the '60's with the help of the money that could be made this way.

 

Jen 😀

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies
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When I saw cakebread and robey My brain went I know that name, but couldn’t trace it.

Of course it was the front of the plate on the Bell Portable on Thaxted.

Interestingly on that boat the range was black iron, but that plate was green enamel.

The range came out in 1991 because it was cracked. Mr Forth took it away for upcycling.

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42 minutes ago, roland elsdon said:

 

Interestingly on that boat the range was black iron, but that plate was green enamel.

 

Current projects.. the Dover was originally green enamel before someone attacked it with the grinder. The tiny one on top is an odd one, a Bandera by the same foundry as the Dover. It's smaller than an Epping and definitely worth restoring but a new top plate is required. I don't think the grey enamel will stay,  it's very expensive to have refinished. 

IMG_1553.jpg

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15 hours ago, noddyboater said:

That's an interesting one, the 24" Barking Portable I sold to Mr Mack had the same shape ash pan with (broken) shelf but more ornate hinges. Did you make the oval to round chimney adapter yourself? Not my favourite job.

IMG_1444.jpg

The adapter was fabricated by Simon Wain at Brinklow, along with some minor restoration. 

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