Sunday 12 September 2021

Drayton Bassett

 Today's Canals - Coventry, Birmingham and Fazeley

The day started very pleasantly, weather-wise, but gradually became greyer through the morning and by the afternoon we had one or two spells of light drizzle. However, it remained quite warm.

We planned to go to the parish church in Amington, a suburb of Tamworth, about 30 minutes cruising away. Shortly after leaving our overnight mooring we were passing through Alvecote with is marina, boatyard and pub.

The marina itself is on the site of the former Tamworth Colliery and railway bridge (only the southern abutment remains) carried a short branch between the mine and Amington Sidings, a complex railway depot alongside the main line railway just the other side of the canal. The towpath bridge is the entrance to a small basin, originally part of the sidings presumably for transshipment but now the Narrowcraft boatyard.

We moored just before Bridge 65 (Old Tamworth Road) in good time. When we set off for church we did not realise just how close it was - the entrance is not clear on Google - so we were very early! This gave us a chance to look at the surrounding area.

There were a few older buildings including this substantial Amington House (built c1770), which merited its own identity back at least as far as the 1884 OS Map. It has now been converted into several apartments. At that time this was very small village with Glascote not much larger. There was no sign of the subsequent housing development that now covers all of the space between them and Tamworth itself.

The church was built in 1864 on what was then the village green. Two of the stained glass windows were designed by Edmund Burne-Jones. When we went into the church we were made welcome - there was a congregation of around 35. At the moment the parish is without a vicar so the service was led by one of the Readers. Afterwards we were able to share a cup of coffee and chat with various people.

On the way back to the boat we noticed this modern house alongside the bridge and canal. It proudly calls itself Ashbridge House and the boat moored alongside says Ashbridge Wharf. However in as recently as the 1928 OS Map there is no indication of anything like that here. Perhaps it is just an invention to go with the large collection of garden gnomes.

Just before Anchor Bridge is a large winding hole - large enough to accommodate two moorings without making it difficult to turn a boat. This was originally a wharf with a connection to the Glascote Works Railway, a local line that connected the main rail system to a large terra cotta factory.

We had a bit of a wait above the two Glascote Locks - the two boats ahead of us were in no hurry.

As we were filling the bottom lock, a couple of people came to the Lock Cottage (which we knew was up for sale a couple of years ago) and started chatting. Their son has bought the cottage to renovate. In the meantime he and his partner are living on a boat moored alongside. They are making a determined effort to use as much original material and matching replacements. Sourcing the right tiles, bricks and so on has become a project in itself. Great! It also seems that the cottage is larger than some as it was modified to be a lock keepers manager's house.

As we turned the corner at Fazeley Junction, onto the Birmingham and Fazeley, we could see that Tolsons Mill is shrouded in scaffolding. From the large banner it appears that at last someone has found a way of making this former industrial building into a new life - 59 apartments. Let 's hope that it turns out as well as the architect's images!

We continued a little further to moor a little way back from the bottom of the Curdworth Locks.

5.5 Miles - 2 Locks

1 comment:

  1. Assuming you’re doing Curworth Locks tomorrow, we’ll pass you going the other way!