Report on Social Evening on Thursday 21st March 2019 – “Ilott Wharf and the Findings of the Archaeological Survey of 2018”

Held on a Thursday for the first time, the social evening at Donisthorpe Woodlands Centre was well attended. ACA President Orest Mulka presented an illustrated talk on the history of Ilott Wharf, from its working days up  until the archaeological survey in July 2018. After the canal was closed off in 1966 Ilott Wharf gradually fell into disrepair, and its land was used successively by a model aeroplane club who landscaped the ground, and then later by a company specialising in tank rides who despoiled the ground, before it began to be tended by volunteers from the ACA.

Professor Mulka’s talk was supplemented with a short documentary film, which includes interviews with relatives of inhabitants of the houses that used to occupy the site. This film, entitled “Investigating Ilott Wharf’s Hidden Heritage” is currently viewable under the following link:

After the interval Geoff Pursglove gave a short talk on the history of the Pump House at Snarestone; how digging for coal led to a chance discovery of a well on the site and hence construction of the listed building and its impressive beam engine. Thanks to the generosity of ACA member Rod Smith, the beams were saved from the scrapyard. They have been lovingly restored by a group of volunteers and are now on display at Snarestone Wharf.

During the interval Rod displayed an interesting array of historic ironwork that had been salvaged from various sections of the canal after their closure. Included in the display was an authentic 18th century issue of the Act of Parliament authorising construction of the Ashby Canal.