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Wednesday, 29 May 2013


We went back into Leek this morning as it was market day. There were two areas of open market, one near the Nicholson War Memorial and one in the Market Square. neither had very many stalls, or anything different. There is also the indoor Butter Market and Trestle Market. The butter market had established and varied stands and the trestle market which was at the back of the Butter Market and had nothing too different. We did buy some homemade lemon curd though. As we had been quicker than we though we decided to head for the Nicholson Institute. We once again admired the very varied buildings and at the Institute was a good example again.

The building on the left is a 17 century house the tower is part of the Nicholson Institute and that on the right a Victorian villa

Detail on part of the Institute depicting (left to right top to bottom) Science, Literature, Art, Music, Agriculture, Commerce and Physics and Chemistry.

The first floor of the Institute was the local library and upstairs there were two rooms, on had an exhibition of local artists work and in the other room was the museum. We were expecting some in depth history of the area especially as it was a silk spinning area and attracted James Brindley, and William Morris to the area. There was about 6 small display cabinets with very little in them and that was it. It seems that unless we missed a room or something there is no museum to represent this wonderful little town. It was very disappointing. On the way back we got a a few last items from the shops and set off after lunch. The sky was lowering and rain was forecast so we were going to see how far we could get before we got too wet.

Just as we approached the Leek Tunnel we could see that there was something coming. It was quite a surprise that it was the hotel boats motor and butty Duke and Duchess. These are modern boats so the the accommodation aboard must be top notch. The 7 day trip this week was from Stone to Stoke with The Caldon Canal thrown in. At £665 per person all in it seems a great way of seeing the canals and do as much or as little as you want. You don't have to stand on the back deck in the rain or sit waiting for locks to fill in the wind and rain.

Duke and Duchess just about to exit the Leek Tunnel.

We stopped to dump the rubbish and top up with water ate Park Lane Services and then carried. The rain started just as we got to Stockton Brook locks so we decided to get down them and through a lift bridge and finish for the day.

Mason's Mark's in The Stockton Brook Top Lock.

Whilst waiting for the lock to empty I noticed a Mason's mark. This started me looking around and I noticed four others in the area near the stern. I had never noticed more than a couple at a time before. It would seem that the stone blocks are cut to size at a quarry and not at the site of the lock, otherwise it would be only a couple there. There marks were personal to a particular mason. They were put on their work so that they  could identify who had made the item in order to pay them for piece work.


  1. Hey there you two....stand by to get us aboard....we're coming to seeeee you !!!! xx

  2. Hi Sue,
    Really looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. I'm glad there will be plenty for you to do too. Up and over at Hardings Wood Junction, Little Moreton Hall, Mow Cop, Jodrell Bank, and 13 locks!