INDEX

INDEX

Saturday, 11 June 2011

KINGS LOCK 1970s

by Dave Roberts
 Here we see the view from the canal bridge at the end of Brooks Lane, looking towards the Kings Lock Pub and photographed in the early 1970s - still highly recognisable today, of course. The junction with the Wardle Canal and the SUC Middlewich Branch is on the right - difficult to negotiate for those who have just picked up a holiday hire boat from Andersen's or Middlewich Narrowboats. To the left there are the signs of the beginnings of the thriving boat and chandlery business we know today. Taking centre stage is the King's Lock pub with the curious tunnel-like bridge entrance to its right. The King's Lock itself is adorned with the once ubiquitous DoubleDiamond sign. DD was the kind of fizzy keg beer which inspired the Campaign For Real Ale all those years ago. Be that as it may, in our early drinking days we all loved it (quite possible because we didn't know any better).
I had my last pint of DoubleDiamond at Ross's Social Club in Grimsby in the late 80s. It worked wonders, you know.

Editor's Note:
The comments received after this entry was published are particularly interesting, so we've taken the opportunity to incorporate them into the main article to ensure that people do not miss them:

  1. If you look closely at the picture  you can see, above the red boat on the left, the directional sign pointing people in the direction of Preston Brook, Etruria and (I think) Chester, via the SUC. By this time, one of the arms seems to be directing people to the bottom of the canal. This original sign rusted away and was replaced in the 1980s with a new version, partly sponsored by the Heritage Society, but spoiled, for me, by the fact that its arms are made of wood rather than cast iron.
    This type of sign can be seen everywhere now (Sandbach and Nantwich, for example, are both festooned with them) and it wouldn't be too difficult to have a more authentic-looking one made. Nowadays, of course, black and white are British Waterways'* favoured colour scheme, but in the 60s everything, including this sign, was painted blue and yellow.
    * now the Canal & River Trust (CART) -ed
  2. Just above, and to the left of, the whitewashed King's Lock bridge can be seen a small, square-ish, brick building which was used to store materials for canal maintenance. This disappeared without warning a few years ago, just prior to the Folk & Boat Festival

  3. On Facebook, Ian Murfitt said:As far as I know the Middlewich Chandlery as it is now, was owned at the time of the Photo by Sam McGill.He ran the Kings Hire Fleet. All the boats were called King's something, Kings Rambler was the last survivor. Sam, an Irishman, was a real gent . He was a tail gunner in Wellingtons during the war and latterly would sit in the pub and regale young people with tales of his exploits . He then became a police officer in Liverpool, before retiring to Middlewich. Sam died in the late 90's and the outside bar at the Lock for the Folk Festival was called McGill's Bar.
  4. Ian Murfitt also said:
  5. At the risk of being labelled a boat spotter:Where there is a small wooden bridge over the lower entrance to a lock in Middlewich, the bridges were built in two pieces cantilevered from either side of the lock, leaving a gap between so the tow rope could pass through the bridge itself. This method is unique to the Trent and Mersey. Local boaters were called Knob Sticks. Originally the area was patrolled by lengths men on horses who watched out for people wasting water. As a sign of office they carried a stick with a Silver Knob on it, hence the name. Knob stick boaters were famed for their painting.Whilst sticking to the tradition Roses and Castles theme, their roses were much more intricate than the simplified and stylised roses seen on the rest of the system. Knob Stick roses looked like roses. Most famous of the painters were the Barnets who hailed from Middlewich. One of the family did some painting for me only a couple of years ago.
  6. We're very grateful to Ian for his comments, and his specialist knowledge on this subject.


SEE ALSO: KINGS LOCK 1960s

5 comments:

  1. If you look closely at the picture (click to enlarge) you can see, above the red boat on the left, the directional sign pointing people in the direction of Preston Brook, Etruria and (I think) Chester, via the SUC. By this time, one of the arms seems to be directing people to the bottom of the canal. This original sign rusted away and was replaced in the 1980s with a new version, partly sponsored by the Heritage Society, but spoiled, for me, by the fact that its arms are made of wood rather than cast iron.
    This type of sign can be seen everywhere now (Sandbach and Nantwich, for example, are both festooned with them) and it wouldn't be too difficult to have a more authentic-looking one made. Nowadays, of course, black and white are British Waterways' favoured colour scheme, but in the 60s everything, including this sign, was painted blue and yellow.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just above, and to the left of, the whitewashed King's Lock bridge can be seen a small, square-ish, brick building which was used to store materials for canal maintenance. This disappeared without warning a few years ago, just prior to the Folk & Boat Festival

    ReplyDelete
  3. On Facebook, Ian Murfitt said:As far as I know the Middlewich Chandlery as it is now, was owned at the time of the Photo by Sam McGill.He ran the Kings hire Fleet. All the boats were called King's something, Kings Rambler was the last survivor. Sam, and Irishman, was a real gent . He was a tail gunner in Wellingtons during the war and latterly would sit in the pub and regale young people with tales of his exploits . He then became a police officer in Liverpool, before retiring to Middlewich. Sam died in the late 90's and the outside bar at the Lock for the Folk Festival was called McGill's Bar.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ian Murfitt also said:At the risk of being labelled a boat spotter.Where there is a small wooden bridge over the lower entrance to a lock in Middlewich, the bridges were built in two pieces cantilevered from either side of the lock, leaving a gap between so the tow rope could pass through the bridge itself. This method is unique to the Trent and Mersey. Local boaters were called Knob Sticks. Originally the area was patrolled by lengths men on horses who watched out for people wasting water. As a sign of office they carried a stick with a Silver Knob on it, hence the name. Knob stick boaters were famed for their painting.Whilst sticking to the tradition Roses and Castles theme, their roses were much more intricate than the simplified and stylised roses seen on the rest of the system. Knob Stick roses looked like roses. Most famous of the painters were the Barnets who hailed from Middlewich. One of the family did some painting for me only a couple of years ago.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We're very grateful to Ian for his comments, and his specialist knowledge on this subject.

    ReplyDelete

Leave your comments here. Please note that comments are moderated and, if they are particularly relevant, may be incorporated into the original diary entry.