Latest News & Events

Latest Additions to Snarestone Wharf

If you have been to Snarestone Wharf recently, you may have noticed a few changes and additions:

 

There is a sturdy noticeboard supported by iron posts, welcoming visitors  to the Ashby Canal Restoration. It is situated alongside the winding hole, for all to see.

 

At this time of year, many of the shop’s contents are brought outside. Their display has been enhanced by a colourful painting created by Emma’s Crafty Kids at this year’s Moira Festival. 

 

Hot drinks are now available to purchase from the shop at £1.25 a cup.

The shop front will shortly be adorned by an awning enabling sale items to remain outside in all weathers..

Report on the Shackerstone Festival 2019

The Shackerstone Festival celebrated 25 years on the weekend of 31st August and 1st September 2019. It has since been decided that there will be no further Shackerstone Festivals and so this anniversary marked the culmination of the event:  http://www.shackerstonefestival.co.uk/

As usual, there was a wide variety of stalls, entertainment and working boats. The ACA too was present with a marquee, meeting members of the public. selling merchandise and drumming up membership.

Social Events – to resume again in October 2020

The annual calendar of social evenings has now completed with the film night in Dadlington on 5th March 2020, and the season will resume again in October 2020. Details of events and venues will be announced once they have been finalised.

The Ilott Wharf Project with Funding Awarded by The Heritage Lottery Fund

 

The Ilott Wharf Project

For the last 2 years the ACA has been working on the Archaeology and Social History of Ilott Wharf which is on the line of the Ashby Canal, just west of where the Gilwiskaw Aqueduct once stood.

Through the generosity of Lottery players we were given a grant of £10,000, to which we added £1000 of our own money. We have also put in many hours of voluntary work.

The purpose of the project was to find out what state the underground remains of the structures at the Wharf are in, with a view to possible future archaeology excavations before the canal is restored through the site. We also did a social history investigation: who lived there, what their lives were like, and what did they do on this industrial canal site.

What did we find? Basically, because of repeated destruction and vandalism on the site, there were no remains underground which would justify excavations. We used state of the art geophysics investigations: LIDAR, magnetometry and ground radar. Whilst disappointing, this result means that we can now go ahead with restoration.

In fact, there was one small corner of the site near the level crossing on Bosworth Road where we found some remains of walls and a street lamp, so ACA members and others were able to do some supervised archaeology.

The social history investigation was also successful. We traced several people who lived on the site in both the houses there. Amazingly, we managed to identify two people from the same family who lived there 60 years ago and had completely lost touch after the site was demolished in the 1960s after which the occupants went their different ways. Just like “This is your life”!

We have a film of some of the findings on YouTube: https://youtu.be/OtQJVfg2d_g

These are some of the photos which show what we did:

This is a map of the site a few years before the closure of Ilott wharf. You can see that the left arm of the canal had already been dewatered in the 1950s when Measham town lost its stretch of canal.

The lads putting up the sign at the car park at Ilott wharf. They had previously scrapped the car park so it could be used again.

The chute at Ilott wharf in about 1965, just before demolition and dewatering of the canal back to Snarestone Wharf. The trains from Measham Mine were backed up on the siding, and men shovelled the coal into narrowboats moored on the canal.

The engine used to pull the coal wagons crossing Bosworth Road just west of the old coaching inn.

Referring to the previous steam engine photo, Peter Oakden is seen here having excavated the base of the street lamp, with even the electricity cable sticking out of it.

Trains crossing the fields coming from Measham Mine (on the horizon), heading towards Ilott Wharf.

In 1965 the canal was dewatered. Just before it happened the Ashby Canal Association was formed in order to try to stop the closure. Sadly, the ACA failed, but one of the protests was by “Prince” seen here at Ilott Wharf, having just passed the gauging station.

This house, one of two at Ilott Wharf, had been a coaching inn on the Measham to Bosworth route. It was demolished in 1965. It belonged to the Coal Board and the last occupant was a manager from the mine.

The house in the background was the Ilott House which belonged to the Midland Railway Company, which also owned the canal. The little black shed in front of it was the tally shed where canal records were kept. Also shown are the loaded wagons on the raised siding and boats waiting to be filled.

 

This is a view from the east side of the aqueduct looking towards the gauging station. This was around 1965 and Ilott House had already been knocked down. Margaret Goodwin, the last tenant, remembers, that whilst they liked living there, the house had no electricity or running water. It was condemned as unfit.

Another view taken at around the same time. Ilott House has been demolished. The dilapidated tally hut is still there, as is the greenhouse seen in front of the tree.

Life on the Wharf

Although life was hard, there was fun to be had for children. In the background, there is a train on the siding, and the coal shute can be seen on the far left.

Margaret and Brian Goodwin outside Ilott House 60 years ago.

The Goodwins at Ilott wharf. The gauging station is in the background. They borrowed the canoe from Bill Bradford, the local carpenter and undertaker, who lived at Bosworth Grange just east of the aqueduct.

Bygone Measham

A trio of rare photographs, which were recently posted on the Facebook page, have been presented to the ACA. They show views of Measham and its close relationship to the canal, whilst it was still in water.

Volunteer Lengthsmen Wanted!

The ACA is looking for volunteers who are willing to act as ‘lengthsmen’ along the whole 22 miles of the canal, in order to keep the towpath free of litter and generally care for its managed appearance. You can choose which section you wish to adopt and  maintain, and the ACA can help you out with any tools you may require.  Above all, please let us know if you find any tasks that may require a larger team effort. There are no set times for this volunteer work; how and when and where you maintain your ‘patch’ is entirely up to you.

If you are interested in becoming a lengthsman, please contact any member of the committee.

 

 

“The Measham Boat Lady” by Tom Henshaw

 

A short story by the late Tom Henshaw is now available to buy  at the shop in Snarestone Wharf, or by post.

The book is a 28 page paperback and all profits made will go towards the restoration of the Ashby Canal.

The paperback costs £3.50 + £1.00 p&p. It can be bought in person at the shop, or by card over the phone by contacting Michael Wooding on 07805 602618.

Front Cover

 

 

 

Card payments now accepted at Snarestone Wharf

Snarestone Wharf is now set up to take card payments for purchases from the shop, and for membership applications, which have been completed  on site. Payment by cash continues as before. Most of the leading cards are accepted, and contactless payment is also possible. This is part of an ongoing scheme by the ACA  to modernise and ease the processing of payments.

 

Shop Sales – also available via Facebook

 

For the benefit of visiting boaters and walkers the Snarestone shop and Information Kiosk now stocks  tea bags, long-life milk, jars of coffee, cold drinks, and ice cream.

Solid Fuel is also available for boaters, and charcoal for those wishing to use the barbecue facility adjacent to the Snarestone visitor moorings

We also have souvenirs, mugs, tea-towels, plaques and gift-ware.  The adjacent Bric-a-Brac emporium is full of interesting items to tempt you.

An illustrated walk leaflet is available for those wishing to explore the canal route as far as Moira and beyond.

It is now possible to buy selected items from the Snarestone shop online via Facebook. All sales support the work of ACA.  You can either collect your purchase in person or have it delivered at cost price.

 

Visit the Ashby Canal Association Sales Page at: https://www.facebook.com/AshbyCASales/

Please note, however, that you must have an active account with Facebook in order to use this service.  

Below is the layout of the homepage of the site. You must scroll down the Facebook page to view the individual listings and their prices.

Our thanks go to Michael Wooding, our on-site member and shop manager, for setting up and administering this new venture.