Friday, February 13, 2015

Canals in my blood?

No I don’t have Weil’s disease, I’m talking genetics here.  Yesterday we did one of our periodic trips to the National Archives at Kew to do a bit more genealogical digging.  Actually I’m getting to the stage where I can’t be bothered to go back much further in history. I do have a couple of ancestors I can find back in the 1660s but they’re only names.  I come from a long line of mostly agricultural labourers, very few of whom have anything written about them.  I find the slightly more recent ones a lot more interesting because a few more details of their lives emerge. My maternal granny’s family have some good stories I have unearthed and in exploring them I discover that I have ancestors who must have been very familiar with the heyday of the canals. 

My great grandad worked in the needlemaking industry in Redditch and I discover that he lived for a time in Tardebigge presumably not far from the famous lock flight.

His granny lived until she married at Hatton, right by another famous flight of locks.  In those days (1814) the Hatton flight was still narrow locks. 

On the other side of the family, another great grandad lived and worked for a time in Birmingham as a railway carriage maker and one census has him living within yards of the Garrison lock flight in Saltley. 

A pattern is emerging here.  No wonder we seem to spend a lot of our boating life around places with lock flights.  I was obviously born to it.  I often wondered what that windlass was doing in my pram. Sadly that Saltley great grandad can’t be traced back any further as he originally came from Montgomeryshire in Wales and his name was Edward Evans. That’s a bit like trying to find a particular Mr Patel in Gujarat.


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It looks like Amazon is now ready to sell the paperback version of my book Jobs for the Boys, by Herbie Neil.  This link takes you directly there. A bit cheaper than I anticipated, you can get it for 5.99 plus postage.  If you spend more than ten pounds it’s post free.  You could always buy two of mine I suppose, but I might be pushing my luck there, although two would make a better doorstop than one.  If you go via the Amazon home page you’ll first see the Kindle version, but look carefully and there is a link to the paperback.  Strangely, since announcing the paperback, I have sold three copies of the Kindle version.  Hey ho.

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