Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Collieries and steam pumps.

Looks like them darn sarf copped the worst of the storm. We awoke this morning to blue skies and light airs, just the merest zephyr wafting the trees. So off we set, as usual we had changed plans, we are now going up to Atherstone for a couple of days before heading onto the Ashby.

We were soon passing the old Wyken Colliery arm, now in use as moorings by Coventry Cruising Club. The mine it connected to was worked out by 1881 but the nearby Coventry Colliery continued to have an effect on the local canals.

At Tusses Bridge the old fishing tackle shop and the Elephant and Castle have both closed.
Suttons Stop is little altered from the canal carrying days.

The Greyhound still presides over the junction and

boats still work through the stop lock that separates the precious waters of the Oxford and Coventry Canals.

Originally the Oxford carried straight on, through where the facilites block now sits behind the trees, centre, and the junction was a mile further on. This was because of some very complicated toll arrangements in the original Parliamentary Bills for the canals. Eventually common sense prevailed and the junction was moved to its present location, under the bridge to the right.
As we sat at the waterpoint by the lock we were alerted by the "Tonk tonk"of a working boat's engine and into the lock glided

Corona, a Harland and Wolff, Woolwich built, Star class motor. Built in 1935 for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company and originally paired with the butty Coronis.

Number One in my book. Jill had called me over as the lock emptied, all six inches of it, to see

some extreme knitting adorning the gate beam. Love it.
I made the 180 degree turn onto the Coventry in one arc, didn't have to go astern, still feeling chuffed.

Ahead is the old pump house that was home to a Newcomen steam engine called Lady Godiva that pumped water from an underground stream to keep the canal topped up. The engine came from the nearby Griff Colliery where it had already worked for about one hundred years before it was installed here in 1821. In 1913 the sinking of the Coventry Colliery went below the level from which water was being pumped and from then on the water pumped from the mine replaced that from the engine and Lady Godiva was decommissioned. In the 1960's she was moved to the Dartmouth Museum and is still occasionally steamed.

We passed Charity Dock in all its glorious decrepitude.

That's the Ashby heading off into Leicestershire, going up there next week.

Once one of the side arms into Griff Colliery. There were once at least eight separate pits on the Newdigate Estate. They had their own internal canal and railway system and were major players in the local mining industry.
Moored on the hillside above the Anker Valley.

Watch this space..........


Nb Yarwood said...

The fishing tackle shop at Trusses bridge is still open I believe or at least it was a couple of weeks ago.

Graham and Jill Findlay said...

Last couple of times we've passed it has been all shuttered up, windows and doors. Perhaps we've just hit it at the wrong time.