Hi Billy, And all who read these recollections. I can often, when day-dreaming recall the names of many of the barges, and butties that came through the Top Lock – and one of the most memorable must be the Midland Tar Distiller’s DAILY barge – horse drawn, by ”Major” with its 22 Ton load of Tar, from Stafford Road, to Monmore Green.
Memories are wonderful things – and Humour, is no exception, with me! – I was being trained by Mr Alf Cresswell, who lived somewhere down Wednesfield Road.
One Particular vessel, belonged to Accles and Pollock, and carried Shells, heading North. It was always referred to by either Mr Cresswell, or even the Lockkeeper ‘Thomas’ who lived down the flight in a Canal Company Cottage – ”get ready, Accles and Dirty names is coming with a load for Jerry”…(the year was 1944, and the war was still on, with the Blackout etc.,) The Toll Office, was lit by Calzor Oil Lamps, inside and out, when I first started,(subsequently fitted with Gas) and my first job every morning, was to clean the lamps, top them up, trim the wicks, and clean the glasses – also mop the wooden floor, using soft soap, empty the ashes from the fire grate, and black lead the grate, set the fire, and get it lit – we made our own tea, and most days, I cooked my dinner, and sometimes that of Mr Cresswells. We had very large ledgers, which contained the records, of size, weight and dunnage of every boat registered with the BCN from when it was ‘gauge plated’._ so I was also taught how to ‘update’ all information. Excitement will eventually be recalled for all who read these observations!