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Charlie Atkins - Mal Edwards - Information needed

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It's on the Shropshire Union. I wonder why they could not have processed it on site at their main factory in Bournville rather than transporting it so far.




That's what I said.


Imagine if Charlie was doing the run these days. Luring children to his boat with gifts of sweetmeats - which were the company's property. He'd have Social Services and the police down on him like a ton of bricks. What a sad indictment of (aspects of) the modern world.


Then I don't understand your first post properly. They made crumb at Knighton using materials from Bourneville and locally sourced milk. Then transported crumb back to Bourneville to make chocolate. That way, they only carried processed materials which were much lighter and far smaller in volume.


The alternative was to transport milk churns to and from Bourneville full of heavy, perishable milk. So there are less boat trips by processing at Knighton


Is that what you meant?



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  • 6 years later...
On 20/11/2013 at 13:41, Ian Mac said:

We use to moor next to Charlie, it was a pleasure, even if he did move onto our boat on Thursday, light our fire, ready for us coming down on Friday night, it kept the cabin lovely, even if it did go through our coal keeping him warm :)

Charlie kept the Crumb from "sweepings" after a bag had burst, nudge nudge, wink wink, in a bucket with a lid, which he kept in the engine hole. He use to hand it out to the kids who had been helpful, not just kids off the cut, but also some bankside kids how would help him up Hampton.

He was in my experience a very good and gentle boatman, it was he who shouted at me for leaving the boat in gear when going uphill, "only Runcorn men do that" I got told, wears your fender out, no need for it and there isn't, just better paddle control. I'm convinced he had special railway lines down the cut under the water, as he never looked where he was going, but was always able to run the boat in precisely the same place every time, quite amazing to experience that level of skill.

The running practice to Knighton was to come down the shroppie wind the butty at the winding hole before Knighton. Push the butty to Knighton leave it being loaded take the motor onto the next hole wind return and have her loaded whilst they sheeted up the butty, sheet up the motoer and off they went. They didn't always run with a butty. The aim was to get to the Achor loaded for a last pint. They use to try to get three runs in a week, which is cracking on. No such thing as drivers hours in those days.

He was born as the song says down the Shrewsbury cut near Newport on a horse boat, can't find my notes at the moment which tell me more.

He worked up to newton on the welsh a lot before the war.

The reason why the Crumb factory is there is its were the cows are Far easier and cheaper to move crump rather than milk. British Yoghurt is also mainly centred in this area because of the plentiful supply of Milk. There are three yoghurt factories around Drayton, if I remember correctly.

Apologies for resurrecting a very old thread (but I have to say it is an interesting thread which some people might not have seen)


I am trying to find out how the chocolate crumb was packaged for transportation, I had assumed it would be in hessian sacks? Can anyone confirm that?

Would these have been loaded with a crane at the wharf or was it all manually loaded?



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IiRC Tom Foxon refers to crumb being in hessian bags.  He also noted its laxative effect.

Bagged stuff was sometimes loaded by crane ( usually single whip and chain round the ears of the bags,sometimes manually but was always positioned manually by the boatman.   With wheat you would be looking at 2 cwt. bags.  None of today's special training for  35 kg max. A description of loading wheat at Gloucester is in Working Life on Severn and Canal.


John Thorpe also has a good description of the process loading and unloading for the mill at Henley with Alec Purcell.


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