I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Sunday 1 August 2021

Riverside - Stratford-upon-Avon (River Avon) - Friday 30th July

A really wet and yukky day.  We were so lucky that there was no mooring at Luddington yesterday as we would have got soaked if we had done the trip today.

The river was a sad place today.  No boats, no people, but there were soggy swans, grizzly geese and drowned ducks who weren’t happy as there was no-one around to feed them.  

It rained almost all of the day though it cleared up early evening which was lucky as we were going out for dinner.  I had booked us into The Bear at the Swans Nest.  The food was good though not very inspiring, but the service was good.  Muffin liked it as he got a biscuit!

We saw this vehicle outside The Bear.

I have been talking about the locks on the Upper Avon as having two names.  Here is some information for you. 

Stratford Trinity Lock (Colin P. Witter) – this was the most difficult to build because of its unusual depth and the unstable nature of the ground (silt pit), which accounts for the unusual girders used to stabilise the structure.  The work was done by men from Gloucester Jail and other volunteers.  Apparently, it was once famously described by a lady councillor as "Mr Hutchings' monstrous erection in the park."

Weir Brake Lock (Gordon Gray) – is the biggest, best and last of the new locks and was built in 38 days by boys from Hewell Grange Borstal and other volunteers.

Luddington (Stan Clover) – was built by men from Gloucester Jail. 7-ton piling hammers were needed to break through layers of stone.

Welford (W A Cadbury) – was paid for by the Cadbury family.

Bidford Grange (Pilgrim) – the money for this lock was donated by the Pilgrim family and was hand built with thousands of steel-reinforced concrete blocks by men from Gloucester Jail.

Barton (Elsie& Hiram Billington) – Elsie and Hiram Billington were the parents of George Billington (Offenham Lock) and was built in 6 weeks by boys for Hewell Grange Borstal.

Marlcliff (IWA) – the subsoil, marl, resembles diamond-hard rubber which shrugs off huge machines and heavy explosive charges.  Royal Engineers from Belfast eventually blasted and gouged out the lock chamber.

Harvington (Robert Aickman) – is a national memorial to Robert Aickman who was one of the modern canal pioneers - fighting to keep our canal system open back in the 1940s and 50s alongside Tom Rolt.  This lock was built later than the other new locks during the restoration. The original attempt was on the site of the old 17th century lock, but the foundations were impenetrable, and it was not successful.

Offenham (George Billington) – George, knowing he didn’t have long to live, donated the money to build Offenham Lock.  Again, volunteers from Gloucester Jail along with the Waterways Recovery Group set to work and within 6 weeks the lock was completed.  George sadly died a week later.

As today hasn’t really been a photographing day here are a few from our trip so far which haven’t made it to the blog yet.

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