Friday, 28 September 2007

Canal Museum

4 locks, 2 tunnels and 4.5 miles. Now moored at Islington in London.

As we were too late to visit the London Canal Museum on Monday we walked back over the Islington tunnel on Wednesday morning. I suppose we would have followed what would have vaguely been the route used by the boatman to take their horses over the tunnel to the other end while the barges were legged or towed by tug through the tunnel.

London Canal Museum

The museum is great especially the 20 minute video of a trip from Limehouse basin up the Regents canal. It was in 2 parts with the first being old black and white silent footage from the early 1900's with piano accompaniment and subtitles and the 2nd from a modern 1999 perspective.

One fact that amazed me was that in Victorian London there were over 300,000 horses in London keeping the wheels of commerce moving. That would have required a lot of stables and a mountain of hay, chaff and oats to keep that lot fed. The ice trade that was carried out in the museum building from 1863 was amazing in that the ice was imported from Norway. It was stored in wells that were 34ft across and 42ft deep with a sandy bottom to drain away the melted ice.The size of the ice blocks (approx; 3ft x 2ft x 1ft) required workmen to use special tongs to move these heavy and slippery critters.

City Road Basin - empty apart from a few canoes

This afternoon we went for a walk along the towpath towards Limehouse basin. Passing City Road Basin one can't help but wonder that it couldn't be used as winter moorings for boats due to the extremely limited mooring around London.

Along the way are signs saying pedestrians have precedence over cyclists, the latter being requested to dismount in places and be courteous. Well some of the cyclists we encountered were far from courteous riding at break neck speeds along the way. As we walked through one tunnel a cyclist came from the other direction without slowing down or dismounting. Luckily he was on the waters edge and how he got past us without falling in the cut I have no idea. I quite expected to hear a splash and was disappointed when I didn't.

Yeah right -perhaps they can't read!

700 locks, 901 miles, 29 Tunnels, 39 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

No comments: