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Thursday, August 09, 2007


Coming down the Ashby Canal at Marston Jct. a left turn that needed a bit of reversing to get round the sharp turn brings me back on the Coventry Canal and as you pass under bridge 13 over on the right is what is pictured below. Doesn`t look that interesting does it but according to the map this is the site of the Newdigate Colliery Arm. So after mooring up further along at Hawkesbury jct for a few days i walked back to investigate if anything was left to see and stood
on the footpath bridge that can be seen in the above picture the only surving part of the arm can
be seen in the picture above.
Now i have found it`s always worth nosing around and walked along the dried up bed of the old arm and eventually came upon a park and discovered it was the Miners Welfare Park.
The land was purchased in 1921 by the Bedworth miners welfare committee and handed over to the Parish council in 1923. So full of old mine workings it was no good for housing and after the site was cleaned up it became a place for locals most of whom were miners to walk and relax.
( Handy for those who didn`t want to go to Bingo or a disco)
The park today contains football & cricket pitches, pitch&putt, swimming pool, leisure centre, bird aviary and as a reminder of the parks origins this mine shaft wheel that was taken from
Newdigate Mine when it closed in 1982. The mine shaft was sunk in 1898.
Walking around the town centre of Bedworth i came across these magnificent Almshouses that were erected in 1840 at a cost of £8,500 to replace the original Almshouses of 1715.
In 1715 Nicholas Chamberlaine had before his death been Rector for 51 yrs and Squire of the parish for 29yrs and his will ordered his executors to build 2 schools and a block of Almshouses,
not these pictured, at bedworth Hall.
A schoolmaster `fit sober and discreet` to teach 40 boys born in Bedworth to read and write would be paid £10 per year and an assistant to be paid 40 shillings per year. Bet they didn`t have 7 weeks summer holidays.
A schoolmistress `a fit grave matron` to teach the girls to read ,write, sew, knit & spin would be paid £5 per year. No mention of an assistant.
The Almshouses inmates ( not residents) would get an allowance of 1/6 per week, 4/- per yr coal allowance and every 2 years a gown or coat upto a cost of 8/-. All inmates wore a uniform that was still worn untill 1951. Also inmates not attending sunday service morning & evening would lose one weeks allowance.
So there you go just a bit of nosing around after seeing that scene in the top picture ends up with a walk through an award winning park full of beautiful trees and flower beds and a history.

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NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs