During the the late 1970s to the early 1980s a lot of our canal side waterways industrial history was at risk of being lost to the scrap man. Thankfully some of our wharf side cranes were saved this fate by the actions of the Trent and Mersey Canal Society and a number of individuals.

My Father’s story starts with the Horninglow Crane back in the 1940’s when he used to deliver the morning papers to the Salt Warehouse at Horninglow Basin and the Bessie Bulls pub at Bond End as part of his daily paper round. Both of these canal side buildings have now been lost.

He told me that when they were kids they used to dare each other to swing out over the canal basin holding on to the crane hook. Till the warehouse Forman saw them, then they would receive a clout around their ear holes for their troubles.

My involvement starts with the first of the four wharf cranes, in 1979. With my father and myself after getting press ganged by Harry Arnold into undertaking work parties with the Trent and Mersey Canal  Society on the ex FMC narrow boat “Kangaroo” and the mile post replacement campaign which was being undertaken at the time.

1: Horninglow Crane

2. Shardlow Crane

3. Swarkestone Crane

4. Wychnor Crane

Footnote: On recent visits to all 4 of these cranes during 2021,  all are now in need of action again from repainting to jib repairs,  If nothing is done these will again be at risk of being lost!

Steve Bates

  Our Early Days Founding