Monday, 9 June 2014

Canal Cuttings (22)

This is just one of a series of around fifty old newspaper articles that I have been reading. I have been researching from old newspapers and magazines in the last 200 years or so of the inland waterways. With particular interest in the issues of the day that were effecting the canals. The most active periods for evaluation and change, has always been just prior, during and shortly after the two world wars. It should be remembered that between the wars the ownership of some of the canals changed hands as the railway companies bought up the waterways to get reduce competition. What is not clear is the effect this early form of asset stripping had on the viability of the inland waterways. Its good to take a look back at what people were saying and doing in the past. Most surprising of all are some of the problems that beset the canals back then - are still prevalent today. Reading old newspapers can throw up some rather interesting stories. Here is what we would call today a public interest story.

Caveat: Some of the articles are difficult to read and even using modern electronic  scanning and text conversion methods. The odd punctuation, word or character may have been transcribed in error. 


Tyldesley Journal
20th May 1876
The vagaries of a licensed victualler at Tyldesley on Wednesday, who was suddenly seized with a fit of benevolence, created a good deal of astonishment, and not less amusement. It appears that some where about four o'clock on the said morning, the well-known landlord jauntily aroused from their slumbers a considerable number of his neighbours and friends with the pleasurable announcement that he purposed driving to Southport, and those of them who were desirous of joining in the picnic must be in readiness at a certain hour. As three conveyances were specified, and the invitation being issued in appearance coherently and with sincerity, there was there was no evidence beyond the wild appearance of his eyes, which was not generally noticed, of a totally disordered course of action, or of any delusions arising from delirium tremens. Companions having been sought and procured, the landlord next turned his attention to decorative objects. He had an eye to the beautiful, which manifested itself in an extraordinary display of rosettes, ribbons, and other favours, with which he indiscriminately bedecked himself and two horses. in order to secure an unlimited supply of these, he visited the shop of the nearest saddler, whose stock he not only bought up but required still more, a demand which necessitated a flying visit to Manchester. 

At ten o'clock in the morning, after several hours of hasty preparation, the turnouts appeared in Elliott-street, and they had a very imposing and gaudy appearance. As might have been expected, a great crowd of spectators soon gathered, among them being certain individuals in holiday attire who had been bidden to be in readiness punctually at the appointed hour. These latter soon began to realise the state of affairs, and did not relish the jeers of unsympathetic neighbours who regarded their appearance with unspeakable delight as the perpetration of a good joke. However of these there were not a few, twelve of the fourteen required for the drive of thirty miles to Southport having responded to the invitation. The preparations proceeded rapidly, the good-natured landlord superintending them with scrupulous care. In quick succession a case of champagne, a case of sherry, three dozen bottles of Bass's bitter, and other drinkables were deposited in the phaeton, but not even this temptation was sufficient to induce his neighbours to brave the ridicule and become seated for the journey. 

Undaunted by the fears and frowns of a sensible wife the landlord insisted on carrying out his resolution, and was with difficulty dissuaded from taking a loaded rifle with which he purposed shooting gulls on the sea shore. At length accompanied by his two sons, one of whom drove the second trap, he took his departure amid hearty cheering, the first halting place being Wigan. Here he went to a well known brewery, causing considerable hilarity, being evidently delighted to be the wearer of rosettes and ribbons of such variety, and with the reception he met with. He also created a sensation in the streets of Wigan on resuming the drive to Southport, where he arrived in due course. A telegram from the perpetrator of the freak reached Tyldesley on Thursday, inviting his wife to join him at the popular sea side resort. 

The Windsor and Eton Express

28th October 1837

Berks Michaelmas Sessions. The case of the disputed claim by the owner of Fayar's Mill against the Wilts and Berks Canal Company for compensation from the Company for the use of water abstracted from the stream of the mill for the benefit of the canal, and to the obstruction of the labours of the mill, was adjudicated before a Special Jury, summoned for the purpose of assessing the damages. After lengthened arguments of counsel, and the examination of many witnesses, which occupied the attention of the Court upwards of four hours, the Jury awarded to Mr Kinch, the owner of Fayar's Mill, a compensation of £13 for 52 days use of the water.

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