Thinking about the flight now and having researched this post it is clear why not only myself but countless others passing through have not realised the past importance of this area and it`s history.
Over the last 200 plus years this one and three quarter miles of canal rising 63 feet through seven locks has, although not all at the same time, been home to seven pubs and a lot of industry.
The only visible thing now to make people think are the remains of the Old Maltings by bridge 13 everything else has vanished or has been reincarnated as something else. What there is to see hides it`s past well.
1 is the New Inn next to the top lock.
2 is the Gate Inn now a private house sitting on the original Old Watling street.
3 is the Crown and Anchor.
4 is The Boat (demolished)
5 is The George.
M is the Old Maltings
|This map shows the area of the bottom two locks.The Spotted Cow pub
is right next to the bottom lock. It had stabling for ten horses so the
Smithy at the top end of the lock is no surprise.The Bannaventa pub,
(right) built by the man who created Whilton Marina, was just on the left where
the road crosses the canal more or less opposite the side ponds of the
second lock. It closed in 1991 under the name "The Locks". From
farmhouse to pub and now a carpet warehouse.|
Lime kilns are shown right next to what is now a winding hole. Perhaps the kilns were the reason the winding hole (turning point) was here.
The 1851 census showed 164 individuals in 31 households around Long Buckby Wharf. Among these were toll clerks at the gauging lock, pictured right. It is lock 9 the one where the railway now crosses the canal, the building has long since been demolished. Others listed included lock keepers, coal merchants, Lime burner, beerhouse keeper (anchor brewery), Inn keepers. Wharfinger and a bone button maker. Anchor brewery is now a private residence reached by Brewhouse Lane which is shown as a dotted line on the map at the side of The Gate Inn.
In the 1880`s a Francis Montgomery was listed at the brewery as an artificial manure manufacturer, hopefully away from the beer. He then with two others started brewing but by 1885 he was on his own and listed as malster, spirit merchant and a brick & tile maker.
|The New Inn at the top lock. It seems to have been built in two stages but i can find little about it other than it opening in the mid 1800`s.|
|The New Inn (extreme left) pictured in 1905. The hump backed bridge was replaced in 1958. The building over the bridge is standing where the car park and rubbish/elsan services are now.|
From the towpath. These are the last buildings before the top lock to the right. You can see how easy boatmen had access to the pub or stables bearing in mind the newer buildings were not in place.
|Pic from longbuckby.net. Behind The Boat pub rope making took place.|
In 1891 the Thresher family ran the pub and 21 year old son Matthew was listed as a boat conductor. I`ve heard of a bus conductor, any ideas of the boat version?
|The George Inn. Mr Google enabled a better angle for comparison to the picture below. George lane to the left leads down to lock 8.|
|The old Maltings 2014. In the picture below the boat is just approaching this point. This wall was until recently taller but some of the brickwork now resides in the canal.|
|Pic from longbuckby.net. shows the Old Maltings in about 1910.|
|The Spotted Cow at the bottom lock.|
There was stabling at the rear for ten horses. Lockeeper of almost 40 years Henry Grantham is standing in the doorway.
Without doubt this whole community came about because of the Grand Junction canal. Boatmen no matter where they moored had a pub nearby.
Woolcombing and weaving were a big source of employment in the Buckby parish with shoemaking taking over in the early 1830`s.
During this time the area of Long Buckby Wharf seemed to have it`s own industries with a transport system running right through them all so I guess the main wool and shoe industries were more in the village than the wharf.
There was a shop, post office and mission church on Daventry road, bridge 13, and the village of Long Buckby was just one and a half miles from the bridge.
Looking at the census information so many publicans had other forms of earning a living.
The brickyard ended up owned by the Thompson family but if this was the family running the Gate Inn is not clear. The same name crops up in the running of the Lime kilns behind the George Inn.
Whilton and Buckby Locks Assoc.
history club (woolcombing)
History club (around the bottom locks)
Long buckby.net (photos)
British history online (Ordnance survey maps 1:10,560 - 1887)
Pub history (leads to census for individual pubs)
An after thought or P.S.
Looking at a Google satellite view of the brickworks it seems to me the patch of water has a very distinct shape. It appears purpose built as it widens to allow boats to be turned. I know there were pits here and these do show on the field but this one is to neat. It`s overgrown towards the canal bank but could this be where it was filled in when the brickworks ended.
There certainly was a brickworks with a basin at Stoke Breurne between locks 15-16. The towpath still today bridges the entrance. The site is now a wildlife reserve.
Perhaps the Buckby brickworks just filled in the basin entrance and it all got lost in history or perhaps it`s just me. Just a thought.