Monday, 20 February 2012

One from the archives....

Les and Jaq on nb Valerie are the inspiration for this one. They blog so well about canal history. I thought I'd get in on the act by relating this River Cam snippet from today's Cambridge News 'Nostalgia' page....

'The Days of Ditton Docks'

From The News, 1937

"Sir- I remember Ditton Docks 70 years ago, then long disused and out of repair. There was a more pretentious one further down - Horningsea pier we used to call it - and I was told in pre-railway days this had been extensively used. My father would speak of the times, before the present locks were installed when barges were kept waiting sometimes for weeks for the river to rise sufficiently for them to come up. They carried coal and corn to Mill Lane and sand to Walnut Tree Lane (now Avenue). - A Cox"

So not only is this one in the eye for the members of The We-Were-Here-First-So-All-You-Narrowboats-Can-Sod-Off Rowing Club, but also shows the impact the railways had on river-based trade as well as that of the canals.

I don't know the exact location of Horningsea pier, but it could possibly have been on the site of the current 48 hour moorings at Clayhithe, adjacent to the bridge carrying the road from Waterbeach to Horningsea and Fen Ditton.

As for the remains of Ditton Docks, well, there is some evidence of a stone landing stage a hundred yards or so upstream of the sharp corner just after the Plough Pub, though whether this is actually it or the remains of a later construction, I'm afraid I don't know.

Next time I'm up that way, I'll take some pictures of it and stick them on the blog, as thanks to The Cam Consevancy's rapacious new scale of charges for visiting boats, a photo is about as close as all but the utterly spendthrift boater is going to get to seeing it for themselves........

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