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Saturday, January 11, 2014

A look around Marsworth


Two or three days here is like being on holiday. Not new walks but certainly ones we have not walked for quite some time. We have this stretch almost to ourselves with just one other boat out of sight around the bend. The reservoir on the right is almost full and plenty of water is passing down the lock flight via the old side ponds. Tring high street is a 40 minute walk between two reservoirs and along the roads one of which passes over the Wendover Arm.
Behind me as I take the above picture is the bottom lock of the Marsworth flight. The old working boaters called it `Mappers`. Below is a picture of it in about 1900. The White Lion pub, still empty, has lost a couple of chimneys on the right but gained a window top left. Developers are trying to turn it into residential units but a recent application has failed.

http://www.hertfordshire-genealogy.co.uk/data/places/BUCKINGHAMSHIRE/marsworth.htm  about 1900
What else is different in the picture?. Jaq is in the lower picture but there is no sign of the horse and cart that is in the older version. More trees? No telegraph wires?  You can`t miss the difference, follow the bridge across. Yep you got it, the traffic light outside the pub, not in the old picture is it!
 Anyway enough of the spot the difference quiz it`s history time. At one time there was a single lock here built in addition to the original double locks. Sorry if you spotted that difference but you must shout louder. In 1838 it was decided to install an extra single boat lock from here as far north as Stoke Hammond. Six bridges had to have an extra arch and a total of 23 extra locks were installed. The idea was to speed up the single boat traffic as the large number of these boats passing through was such that they were made to wait for a boat to share the double locks so as not to waste water. Remember this is now a downhill section and most of the water comes from the reservoirs and the summit level.
 Extra reservoir capacity, pumps at some locks and the change to boats working as pairs put an end to the single locks.
A lot of the extra lock locations are easily spotted and of course the bridges are still there.

Further along the development on the old British waterways yard at the Aylesbury arm junction has not progressed. More about the proposals on an earlier blog post HERE. It all looks just the same with the exception of the road bridge that will be the main access to the site. Contractors are strengthening it with reinforced concrete. Now I am not sure but seeing as there is not one piece of construction material on site I can only assume they have to do the bridge work as part of planning permission before work starts.
As I took the picture all I hoped was the guys with their pneumatic drills know something about working on 200 year old bridges. Looking from below my feelings are mixed, did they cause that crack or at least are they aware of it, for sure the drilling caused dust to fall into the water and for me to move away real quick. Perhaps my next blog will feature a canal stoppage and the rescue of 3 men and accompanying machinery. If you look at the picture over on the right you will see that the original stonework has no depth in the middle. The newer brickwork in both pictures gives an idea of how deep they are drilling. Where they are drilling is just left of the centre of the arch, fingers crossed they don`t go to deep.



 Above two pictures of the Old manor in church lane just up from the bridge. It is listed and the original house dates back to the 1500`s. Later additions were made in the 17th and 18th century's. I did submit my photos but not sure how long it takes for them to be checked. I have in the past had photos published of other listed buildings so perhaps they will appear sometime.


All Saints church in the village has a modern day connection with the canal when it`s bells were transported by canal. Click on the pictures in this LINK to enlarge them and you will see the loading was done at Marsworth yard. It looks like a fuel boat was perhaps used as a large amount of coal is in the hold.

3 comments:

Brian and Diana on NB Harnser http://nbharnser.blogspot.com said...

It was known as Maffers and is still called that by a lot of boaters.
Good to hear you are getting about.
Brian

Brian and Diana on NB Harnser http://nbharnser.blogspot.com said...

It was known as Maffers and is still called that by a lot of boaters.
Good to hear you are getting about.
Brian

Anonymous said...

Ah, this is what we've missed all these months with you out of action... a history lesson in the open air and lovely photos included in the price!

Enjoy your cruising!

Cheers
Alistair

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs