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Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Onwards and upwards.

We set off into a bit of a wind and it wasn't particularly warm. We had a few locks today and some were very deep. After the first lock we saw very little traffic until we got to the flight of locks rising through Stoke on Trent. A large part of the journey was through landscape that had obviously being industrial at one time and had been flattened when redundant and is now still vacant. It has slowly being reclaimed so is nicely softened. It will be a shame when the sites are built on as the wild life that has colonised it will be displaced again. There were collieries and heavy engineer works too. The conurbation of Stoke came upon us with the home of Stoke City, Britannia Stadium and the council Incinerator. The canal runs along with the main A500 on one side and the railway line on the other.

Bridge under the railway at the Stoke flight with very low headroom.

The harsh landscape was broken by this lovely well kept cemetery and the sun shone too.

After 5 locks we came across the Jessie Shirley's Bone Mill. This still has the steam plant in and is a museum. At Wedgewood's they explained that bone china actually does have  bone in it, 51%. I was very surprised at the percentage. They were at pains to explain that they do not use cow bones as they sell pottery to countries where the cow is sacred. They import the bones from buffalo type animals that make up the beef cattle from Argentina. After another lock was the Etruria Junction where there is the industrial museum that includes the bone mill. Etruria was the home of Wedgewood's first owned pottery works and fronted the canal of which he was a leading exponent.

Jesse Shriley's Etruscan Bone Mill on it own little cut.

Etruscan Bone Mill.

Etruscan Bone Mill.

'Holderness' passing the Bone mill for the top lock of the Stoke flight.

The turn into the Caldon Canal is tight and there was a boat there that had a rope round her propeller but all went well and once through we tied up and took water. When full we moved further down the canal, as you are not allowed to moor at a water point, for obvious reasons. We then set out on foot for a walk to the retail park to have a look for this and that. There was nothing we needed at the big retail park so we decided to walk into Hanley. This is one of the 6 towns that were 'amalgamated' to make the City of Stoke on Trent. This didn't happen until 1925. The towns are Tunstal, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton. The walk revealed more large areas that had been knocked down and with still some back to back terraces still standing. The shopping area was nicely free of traffic but it was not inspiring and there was obviously a lack of money around. We did buy a small bed for Macy and other odds and end, before finding out way back to the boat. It is still very windy but at least the sun has now come out.

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