Sunday, 29 March 2015

An early start ...

… well, it was supposed to be but the shower shelf broke so I popped over to Homebase to purchase a new one before we finally set off just before 9.

I thought that 1874 was about the oldest coping stone I’d seen but a couple of locks later I saw one dated 1842 - amazing!
Passing The Paper Mill public house and Frogmore Paper Mill which is the worlds oldest mechanised paper mill. 
'At the end of the 16th century, the poor state of the roads made land transport slow, unreliable and expensive and, in the case of bulky goods such as coal, near impossible. The building of the canals solved the problem bringing great benefit to commerce.
canal_boat_001Loading a canal boat
canal_boat_002Canal boats in the mill

It was the diversion of the Grand Junction Canal at Apsley in 1818 from its original route to follow the course of the Gade by Apsley and Nash Mills which gave John Dickinson direct access to the canal network. All the Dickinson mills were connected by canal to the Dickinson depot at Paddington (later Kings Cross). From there deliveries were made to the London area.
The boats took finished goods to London and brought back raw materials such as waste paper and rags. Other raw materials such as esparto grass, woodpulp, chemicals and china clay were also used in vast quantities. Once steam engines were in use in the mills, coal came in by canal. During the period 1904-1928, the average annual amount of coal delivered was 38,540 tons. The last deliveries of coal were made between 1960 and 1970 as the mills switched to oil.
It is not clear who manned the boats in the early days but Dickinsons did own some boats such as Lord Nelson and Hero of the Nile (registered 1870 and 1891). However, in 1890 Fellows, Morton and Clayton Ltd. contracted to operate the Dickinson intermill service. In 1897 they had replaced horse-drawn boats with “steamers” – Countess and Princess together with two “butties” – Maud and May, followed in 1910 with replacement “butties” – Alice and Kate. In 1927 motor boats – Jackal and Jaguar replaced the steamers and new butties – Helen and Hettie came into service in 1930.' [taken from the official website]
' "Rags make paper, paper makes money, money makes banks, banks make loans, loans make beggars, beggars make rags. - Anon. English 19th C. '

A modern equivalent of a turnover bridge taking the towpath from one side of the canal to the other.
  The bridge is held in place by these stanchions situated on either side close to the ends of the bridge.

Apsley Marina

A tight fit!

 The Willow trees are looking magnificent as we approach Nash Mills
 It seems to be taking a long time to get these apartments finished
(an interesting article here)
What looks like two old working boats Bodmin and Banstead but the buttyboat Bodmin is apparently a recently built Reeves shell

 Another sign that spring has definitely sprung!
Work going on under what I think is the M40 25[thanks Adam] motorway, scary or what?  I know where I’d rather be, and it’s not up there!
 North Grove Lock and there must be a boat in front of us somewhere leaving the bottom gates open as they leave the locks - a bit of a nuisance!
We stopped to eat lunch at Hunton Bridge and decided to carry on as the day was warm and there was no wind at all, not like the forecast for the weekend! Brand new top gates at Hunton Bridge top lock look very smart, it’s good to see the design in such clear detail.

The pretty Grove Bridge at what looks like an impossible angle and the unusual rope guard which, in time gone by, prevented the towing ropes from damaging the bridge walls
That’s bridge 163 seen from inside Lady Capel’s Lock, it's a turnover bridge and as you can see it’s set at a 90-degree angle to me!
Some beautifully positioned properties in this area

Approaching that bridge
… I’ve never noticed this metal support under the bridge before.
… and looking back
The Grove Bridge commissioned by the Earl of Clarendon when the canal was built.
It worries me a little passing the golf course when players are close to the water
And we have to have a picture of the Grove Mill buildings
Dramatic against the sky!
15:15 and we’re moored up at Cassiobury
It’s been another great cruising day, much longer than we’ve been used to lately.  We’ve done 6 miles and 11 locks.


Adam said...

That's the M25 -- far worse than the M40!

Ade said...

Great post I've been following your blog for some while after coming across it via Geoff & Mags Blog.
Thanks for adding mine to your blog roll, that is most kind. I need to master getting one done for my blog looked into it and failed a while back. I'll have to look at it again.