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1984 Miners Strike


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I have a claim to fame via proxy here... David Blaygrove was my wifes history teacher when she was at Roade School!   She has fond memories when he took several students on his boat around Stoke Bruerne....

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David was very good at getting other people to do the work. Through ACT we supplied him with coal in the early days of the enterprise. One time I had left Tadworth at Stoke for him or more likely Tony Warwick to unload it and put the surplus to their sales in the old Elton or Elsan as we called it. After 2 weeks went back to fetch her and found her still nearly half full. Nick Hill and myself shoveled the balance in the Elton and made sure the bilge pump was going left. Got back to Stowe Hill and stopped under the bridge with the intention of having a swift pint only to find it had been done up and had a name change to Narrow Boat from the Globe. There was plastic sheeting over the carpet in the bar and when the land lady appeared she refused to serve us as we were a bit dirty! Nick stuttered at her we come by narrow boat to the narrow boat and you won’t serve us change the name back to the globe.

Sorry about quality of the photo.

 

8906E07E-F809-41A7-9F3D-BFA6BCCE3639.jpeg

Edited by Dav and Pen
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Memory is a funny thing when Hesperus started sinking after we transshipped the coal I remember it being in bags. Maybe it was bagged up to load over. Certainly we had no scales, but of course in those days bags were open.

Three years later we moved north as I was working at St Crispin’s in Northampton. Our ) friends bought the castle at weedon, the big house next to Stowe hill marina. And we put the pair where the  current owners boat is moored.

I went in the cut there and literally dug out the silt to get the boats in.

Talking of sinkers Hadfield complete with ballon on board went down opposite us after we had towed her up from Cosgrove.

Very different days!

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1 hour ago, roland elsdon said:

Memory is a funny thing when Hesperus started sinking

Very different days!

Perhaps not so different, as Hesperus has maintained that tradition of sinking on the years since. I remember her being sunk above Cropredy for weeks if not months, and she is apparently currently sunk in Banbury.

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2 hours ago, Athy said:

Perhaps not so different, as Hesperus has maintained that tradition of sinking on the years since. I remember her being sunk above Cropredy for weeks if not months, and she is apparently currently sunk in Banbury.

At least she's been consistent in the distance she travels.

Edited by zenataomm
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She had a permanent offside mooring at the bottom (geographically) of Cropredy for some three or four years and didn't move at all during that time as far as I know. Her owner was an hairy man who may have been a musician - there was a drum kit, or parts thereof, on board.

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39 minutes ago, Hudds Lad said:

 

Hirsute like a missing link to our arboreal ancestors, or simply a stranger to the barber’s chair?

The latter as far as I'm aware - I didn't know him THAT well.

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The history of the retail coal trade by narrow boat is pretty well known but when we started coal sales were tightly controlled by the NCB and the coal traders federation. You had to be an approved coal merchant and we had a real battle with the Feds (as they became known) before we were allowed to  to buy the stuff. One of the rules was that all the boats must carry an approved set of scales but they allowed us to use 56lb weights instead of the normal cwt as it would have been far to difficult to chuck 112 lbs out of the boats bottom. ACT was the approved merchant and the other boats acted as agents. The trade then was mainly to canal side farms, pubs, lock keepers etc and some boats but there were nowhere near as many liveaboards then and those there were usually didn’t have any money. We used fertilizer sacks and had a number of farms who saved them for us the drawback was that they had residue in them and it could burn your skin. It’s great to see the trade still going and for me especially to see Tadworth working.

 

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Just looked at the Log for this trip. The coal was British coal mined just before the strike and peoples perception of what we were doing was odd. I believe foreign ( Polish) coal was being brought in. This caused an altercation at the junction with the Ashby canal with a hire boat, whose occupants decided we were scabs and abused us. ( maybe they thought we had nipped overseas to collect it).

Suttons was interesting as we hit a lump coming round by the sub station resulting in a huge roll, Mrs S (ah No Miss In those days ) was worried about putting a gunnel under.

Finally we there was an incident with a hire boat who was conveniently using the concrete wall of the old railway bridge at Hillmorton to tie to, leaving a 9 ft gap on the downstream side of the bridge.As we came into the old bridge the stern rose rendering the steering hopeless,  ( we had a good bit of way on Thaxted was fast loaded) we ‘kissed’ the stern of the boat as we came through.

The dazed tea stained occupants fell out of the back doors to be sternly informed that BW regulations make it against regulations to tie within 70 foot of a bridge lock or weir for exactly that reason, that their diesel tank now held 15 gallons less and that receiving a lapful  of scalding tea was the consequence.

Mrs S is still as direct today as she was then.

 

 

And we still have a town class…

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We used to try and load slightly by the head. Some of the bridgeholes through Nuneaton were  notorious and once Jaguar got fast on what turned out to be a safe. Wind up a bit. before the bridge then slack right off to let the following wave lift you through (hopefully) . Afraid over the years upsetting other boaters and fishermen was unavoidable given the state of the cut.

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19 hours ago, Dav and Pen said:

We used fertilizer sacks and had a number of farms who saved them for us the drawback was that they had residue in them and it could burn your skin. It’s great to see the trade still going and for me especially to see Tadworth working.

Fertiliser bags were evil in wet weather for what they did to your knuckles. Also no matter how hard you scrubbed it was impossible to get rid of all traces of coal dust. When Di paid for shopping she would hold the money clenched in her hands facing downwards and just open them and drop the cash on the counter, so the shop keeper would not see how dirty they looked.

 

The photo is 10 years before the strike, loading at Gopsall, with Stamford shortly before I changed my colour scheme to red panels and blue border separated by cream line.

 

Tam

 

 

100_3938 (2i) copy.jpg

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I was curious when that concrete stop and base was put in at Gopsall. I gather there was a porable conveyor there before.

 

Now of course there are no deep mines, so the supply of coal is restricted.

 

 

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I remember the sale of Stamford and Bude in 1986/7 I guess.

£10000 in carrier bags were given at about 4 pm ,after the banks were shut.

 The boats headed towards London with the instruction do not touch or even sweep the bottoms you will sink. The money was stashed in Atalanta and we boated off in the opposite direction. The next morning Graham Holland came by picked up the bags  and took them to the bank. The buyers hadn’t come back in the night.

He used the money to build the first legend narrowboat. Not a thing of beauty or style.

Stamford or Bude inevitably ended up in Uxbridge dock when they decided to descale.

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