The only clue if any of us noticed would have been the curve on the concrete edging to the right of the picture.
Two years on and the view is a bit different.
The arm led into the Nelson cement works. The white footbridge has been installed because the arm had been filled in beneath it and the recent (1970ish) right of way had to be re-instated. The right of way is the bed of the old London and North Western Railway line between Weedon and Leamington.
In the picture above, from the English heritage archives dated 1930`s, you can see the canal passing under the railway and also the branch lines entering the cement works from both directions.
Records of 1860 show Charles Nelson being at Stockton in the cement and lime business. Nelson`s had their own fleet of canal boats and in 1870 a dock was built to sevice the fleet and it was later extended to allow boats to load inside the works. In 1905 18,000 tons came in and out by boat. In the 1940`s the works closed.
Nelson built cottages at the works and also owned many houses in nearby Stockton. The working mens club in Stockton was provided by the company and retains the name to this day.
Use this link to see map of other quarries in the area.
Also this link has some interesting memories of villagers and workers.
Willow Wren Training who now own the site have some interesting stuff on their pages here. Look for the Tramway wagon wheels that have been found in the arm.
|Map dated 1885 before the railways arrived. Tramways from the quarry to the works are marked on the map. These fed Limestone into the kilns on both sides of the canal.|
One day we will once again see boats under the railway bridge as Willow Wren are to provide moorings along the restored arm. Talking to someone on site it seems there was once a slipway in the basin according to locals so I can see this arm becoming a useful addition for boaters services. Also there are rumours that a work boat was left in the arm when it was filled in.
|From the footbridge looking in towards the works site.|
|Some Kilns being revealed as the arm is excavated|
|From the footbridge towards the canal mainline.|
As you cross the footbridge over the arm the footpath is marked going to the right. Everywhere else is private remember.
Clearing the arm and basin will not be cheap and certainly the cost will not be covered by a few moorings along the arm. I can see this developing into something big. Just look at the aeriel picture of the works and tell me you can`t imagine a marina. At least some history is being uncovered and if it did develop into a marina it will certainly have an historic entrance.