Waterway memories

Part of the site with stores at the end.
Part of the site with stores at the end.

Obtaining access to record the ex-British Waterways site at Aldcliffe Road, Lancaster, from the Canal & River Trust, was a 200 year lesson in history.

They did it well and they did it big in those days.

Swan mortuary.

Swan mortuary.

Raising a 70ft coal boat from the canal to ground level for repairs may seem easy, but to raise one onto the next floor somewhat more difficult.

The answer was to sail the canal boat into the wet dock, seal with stop planks and flood to the required level.

Once there, let the water out and commence work.

About to be transformed to modern housing, we were lucky to be afforded the chance to photograph and record these historic events.

Drawings, notebooks, diaries, all found in the Swan Mortuary, were carefully removed and will be carefully dried and inspected.

All artefacts on the site will be removed before any work starts. The fact that a Swan Mortuary existed was a revolation, showing how much interest they took in wildlife in those days.

Super large joiners’ shops, where they made lock gates.

Massive benches, stabling for horses, boskins. tack rooms, a blacksmith’s forge.

Time stood still as we decended into a maze of cellar rooms and explored by torch light an ancient murky world that afforded fresh interest.

We emerged into the light of a store room containing a large platform scale, with H Pooley & Son, Liverpool and London, proudly displayed, leaving us no doubt as to the makers. They were the forerunners of Avery Scales Ltd.

The site is being handled by a Lancaster company and anyone fortunate to purchase any of the proposed habitations will overlook the Triangle, a once derilict site taken over by a group of community spirited people, and also the canal and Lancaster city.

As fortunate as they will be, they will never experience the same thrill we did on our nostalgic visit.