How to Leave a Comment on Our Blog

1. Scroll to the end of the post.
2. Click on the phrase "0 comments" or, if there are comments it will indicate how many, for example, "8 comments." Clicking on this will open the comment option for you.
3. Type in your note.
4. Choose your Profile. If you don't understand the choices under Profile then choose Anonymous but PLEASE type your name and location at the bottom of your comment so I know who you are!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A lock flight of pubs

Long Buckby wharf and the Buckby flight of locks can easily be overlooked as we boaters tackle the locks. Perhaps having used the only pub, the New Inn, the night before and now making their way down the flight. Or perhaps arriving at the bottom lock and looking forward to getting to the New Inn at the top, either way focuses can be on just the locks and not what is/was around the flight.

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.

The Gate Inn situated on Old Watling street which is the now A5. From the top lock road bridge just walk past the New Inn car park entrance and just across the road is a footpath into Old Watling street. The very last building - or first if using footpath- nearest to the New Inn was the site of the horse stables on the 3rd of the maps above.
In 1851 John and Elizabeth Thompson had 4 sons and 2 daughters. Two sons were boatmen, one was a boat boy and dad John was also a coal merchant.

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.

The Crown and Anchor is next to the gift shop just above lock 8. If you look at the top map you can see it was `L` shaped and this can be seen in the discoloured brickwork above the single window. The pub closed in the 1930`s.
The 1881 census shows George and Mary Watts as landlords. Twenty year old Emily Gates was a visiting dressmaker. The Watts had 3 sons two were listed as bricklayers and we can only speculate if they were employed in the brick works marked on the map just along the towpath.
Fifty years previous the listing showed a widow as Inn keeper and rope spinner. Sarah had three young children and three lodgers, 2 rope spinners and a boatman.
In 1891 the pub was listed as the Anchor but that might just be someone`s abbreviation. The pub also at sometime sold groceries.

This is bridge 13.  On this site stood The Boat pub, the pub has gone as has the arched bridge that once carried the Daventry  road across the canal but has since been re-named Three Bridges Road. The road crosses the canal, the M1 motorway and the railway. Long Buckby has a station in the village about one and a half miles from the canal. It is a branch from the mainline created in 1881 almost 50 years after the railway first came past the wharf. It`s claim to fame is Prince Charles and his sons alighted from a train here when traveling to Althorpe for Diana`s burial.

Pic from  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 George Inn around the 1950`s. George lane just in front of the van was where the Lime kilns were.The George started as a coaching Inn probably around 1790 and closed in the early 1960`s. Joseph Kingston and his wife in 1851 had three daughters and he farmed 20 acres. They also had three servants.

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 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.

Some links;
Whilton and Buckby Locks Assoc.
history club (woolcombing)
History club (around the bottom locks)
Long (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.



Another brilliant,m well re-searched article.

The 'Spotted Cow' group of buildings are gems, a bit like the buildings just above Cosgrove Lock.

The previous piece on Grafton Regis was excellent as well.

Hope you are both well.

Mike Griffin

Anonymous said...

Hi, We live in Anchorage cottage which used to be the Crown and Anchor. This article is fascinating to us as we are trying to research the area and would love to come accross old pictures of our house when it was a pub (or anything really).
Thanks for this, Angela and Chris.

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs