Old Pictures: Kennet & Avon Canal

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Bradford on Avon, Wiltshire

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Click on the thumbnail pictures for a larger view
Bradford Upper Wharf c1925The Upper Wharf of the canal in Bradford’s Frome Road in about 1925, with a wooden horse-drawn barge being prepared for work. Just above the tiny cabin of the barge can be seen the small building which was the lock-keeper’s office. To its right is one of the diamond-shaped cast iron signs that showed the weight limit imposed on the road bridge by the Great Western Railway, the canal’s owner.

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Kennet & Avon Canal lock, Bradford on Avon c1910The upper gate of Bradford Lock, connecting the Lower and Upper Wharves in a photograph that was taken in about 1910.

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George Andrews, the lock keeper c1925 George Andrews, standing on the lock gate, was the lock-keeper after the First World War. He had served with the Wiltshire Regiment in Mesopotamia (modern ‘Iraq) during the war and a son had been killed there. He lived in the house in the background, where his wife Elizabeth ran a small grocery shop and tea room. This is now again a tea room and run by the Kennet & Avon Canal Trust.

 

Bradford Lower Wharf c1925A view from the Frome Road bridge, looking down on the Lower Wharf of the canal. At this time, in the 1920s, the bank of the wharf between a warehouse and the lock was being built out into the canal. A big wooden crane, like the one that survives at Burbage Wharf further up the canal, stood here for lifting heavy stone blocks and handling coal imports. The barge in the picture is propelled by an engine rather than horse; rowing skiffs by the bank show recreational use of the canal.

IMG_4593A malthouse, where controlled germination of barley grain to make malt for brewing was carried out, stood on the bank of the canal, backing on to Frome Road. Ramps into the building allowed the grain to be carried by barrow directly from barges. The pyramidal roof was over the the room where the germination was stopped by heating. Beyond is the Barge public house. A painting by W.H. Allen © Hampshire Cultural Trust.

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Fishing competition, WidbrookA fishing competition arranged by the Bradford Angling Association. They are all boys,  with an adult audience, and are lined up along the bank of the Kennet & Avon Canal from the Trowbridge Road bridge, Widbrook.

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Red Cross hospital barge Bittern at Avoncliff c1917At Avoncliff Aqueduct in about 1917. The horse-drawn barge Bittern had been converted by the Red Cross to transport soldiers who had been wounded in the First World War, which was still going on, for recreational cruises and to Bradford. The rails in the foreground were those of the narrow-gauge tramway which conveyed blocks of stone from Westwood Quarry to a yard next to the railway on the other side of the aqueduct.

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W.H/ Allen: hospital barge Bittern at Bradford on Avon canal lockAnother watercolour painting by W.H. Allen shows the barge Bittern moored at the Lower Wharf, just below the Frome Road bridge with the gates to the lock open. The soldiers were presumably taking tea, or perhaps beer, in the town.

© Hampshire Cultural Trust

 

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