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Photos of Wigan
Photos of Wigan

Photo-a-Day Archive
Photo-a-Day Archive

Photo-a-Day  (Friday, 20th October, 2023)

Top Lock... Now and Then

Top Lock... Now and Then
Not an easy job working one of them barges up the locks.

Old photo from the Album (Wigan Courier).

Photo: Dennis Seddon  (Sony DSC-HX99)
Views: 1,475

Comment by: Veronica on 20th October 2023 at 08:24

I love the bottom picture it looks full of life. Is there anything left behind the old wall on the left behind the trees?
I can just see the roof and front wall of the smaller building. The ‘slag heaps’ must be covered with green by this time. ( if they haven’t been flattened! )
Great pictures today Dennis.

Comment by: Helen of Troy on 20th October 2023 at 09:38

A very apt subject for me this morning as I am reading ' Narrow Boat' by Tom Rolt, I picked it up in a charity shop....a certain 'Rev' will know of the author I am sure. The book was written in 1947 & Tom Rolt writes of the times, places & people who used to worked & live on the canals that the monochrome photo shows. Tom was also the man who was at the center of the movement to open up the disused & neglected canals. We owe him a thank you.

Comment by: The Bargee on 20th October 2023 at 10:03

In the new photo, you can just see the old canal lock gate pin that was erected as a memorial to a Canal and River Trust volunteer who recently passed away.

Comment by: Elizabeth on 20th October 2023 at 11:26

Lovely pic,walk here regularly.Yes Veronica,'Wutchie' is well and truly wooded over and surrounding fields are lovely and green.

Comment by: Colin Traynor on 20th October 2023 at 11:30

The contrast could not be greater. Many thanks for the pictures Dennis.
Anyone who can remember what it was like to walk along the canal from Britannia Bridge to Top Lock in the 50's and 60's will recall a scene of a post industrial waste land, slag heaps and scrap yards.
Take that walk now on a sunny day and it as green, picturesque and tranquil as any river of canal walk in the country.
Top Lock though is tinged with a bit of sadness in that my Great Grandfather Patrick Traynor who I believe lived in Frith Street at the time is recorded as tragically drowning there 29th December 1875.
The Circumstances within the family were never to my knowledge discussed!

Comment by: Rev David Long on 20th October 2023 at 12:14

Tom Rolt certainly was one of the pioneers of waterway restoration, H-o-T - he was also a leading light in the restoration of the Ffestiniog Railway. I have most of his prolific output of waterways books.
He'd have fitted in well here - quite a nostalgic.

Comment by: Gill on 20th October 2023 at 12:56

Lovely to see both photos, thank you. There are fossils in 'them thar hills' (ie the Wutchie), I recall finding imprints of leaves etc in the shale when I was a young lass, before it became taken over completely by nature.

Comment by: Cyril on 20th October 2023 at 13:08

It would be a hard job to do Dennis, and especially so if on their own in having to open and close all those locks, and also the backbreaking job of shovelling up the coal when unloading on reaching the destination.

Comment by: Veronica on 20th October 2023 at 13:29

So the hills are the famous Wutchie! They must have led over to Ince as well where the ‘Rabbit Rocks’ were. …
(I think) you learn something every day.

Comment by: David Barker on 20th October 2023 at 13:48

Another excellent double feature photos Dennis ,past and present .

Comment by: Mark on 20th October 2023 at 13:49

Rev , how many ‘non navigable and lost canals’ does Lancashire have ? I saw a list online which mentioned Fletchers canal and Ulverston canal . Are there others
and is there any possibility they could be restored ?

Comment by: Cyril on 20th October 2023 at 13:55

Gill, I and many others when young would scour around the top of a stone quarry in Pemberton looking among limestone shale to find fossils, they too were prints of long gone plants that once thrived there, mostly ferns, trouble was they didn't last unless they were kept in the dark, in daylight they soon lost that clear outline with fading, and the limestone shale was often very fragile crumbling to dust.

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 20th October 2023 at 14:39

Gill, my father worked down the Alexandra Mine as a young man and he had a collection of fossils that he found whist working down there.
I believe that when the area was opencast mined in the 80s whole sections of fossilised tree trunks were uncovered.

Comment by: Elizabeth on 20th October 2023 at 15:53

Veronica,the Rabbit Rocks are further down the canal,going towards Ince,to the left of the canal,towards Belle Green Lane,but not that far from each other.

Comment by: Wigan Mick's Bell on 20th October 2023 at 16:12

I would have called this photo Withington Lane Bridge due to Top Lock being out of the photo. it's on one of my favourite rides

Comment by: Veronica on 20th October 2023 at 16:32

Thanks Elizabeth I’m not good at orientation.

Comment by: Cyril on 20th October 2023 at 18:23

Dennis, my wife and I took the lads to the open day they had at the Alexandra opencast mine, and they had on display some of the fossils they come across, I remember the trees being found but can't remember what name they said they were, but on Wiki it says Psaronius, large petrified tree ferns are what are often found: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psaronius

There's a photo of what was left of a fossilised tree found at the Alexandra opencast on the Album by Jean Jones: https://www.wiganworld.co.uk/album/photo.php?opt=8&id=3385&gallery=Alexandra+Opencast+Site&page=953

My father too was a miner and he brought home some fossilised mussels that he'd come across, he did say that he had seen a lot of different fossils when digging out coal in the past, but with the cutting machinery that they'd began using they hardly ever saw any. The secondary school that I attended at Pemberton had a huge collection of different fossils, these had been found in local coal mines and donated to the school, there were complete fossilised fishes too from small to large, no one knew whatever happened that collection.

Comment by: e on 20th October 2023 at 19:33

My goodness cold , what name would be , brought from them , now to me ?

Comment by: Gill on 20th October 2023 at 20:18

Thanks Cyril and Dennis. Great to hear about the amazing fossils I hope the collection found a good home and also the tree trunks. I guess most would have been destroyed in the hunt for coal. Great photo Dennis.

Comment by: e on 20th October 2023 at 20:31

My goodness cold , what name would be , brought from them , now to me ?

Comment by: Veronica on 21st October 2023 at 10:26

Dennis I don’t know wether you go on the other site but this photo is on there already!
No credit given..same with the pub one on Album…

Comment by: Phil Taylor on 21st October 2023 at 11:37

I don't understand the issue with photos being shared on other sites. Surely the more people who see these wonderful old photos the better.

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 21st October 2023 at 12:12

Veronica, if you look under this photo you will see that I stated that the old photo was from the album and that it is credited to the Wigan Courier.
I’m not sure what you mean about the pub one.
If there are any of my p.a.d photos on the Album then I haven’t put them there.

Comment by: Veronica on 21st October 2023 at 12:16

I disagree Phil unless they give credit to the photo. Dennis went out and took that photo and sourced the other one, it takes time and effort to do that. Whereas someone can just come along and ‘save’ his work to put somewhere else. It doesn’t take 2 seconds to say where and who took the photo.

Comment by: Veronica on 21st October 2023 at 13:24

Yes I know Dennis you credited the photo. Someone on the other site has taken your photo and the old one without giving credit to you who took it. That’s ok if you don’t mind. But it’s good manners to say on the other site where they got the photo from and who ‘supplied’ it. I see a lot of photos on there from this site some say where they got it from and some don’t.

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 21st October 2023 at 13:35

Veronica, I think I misunderstood your comment, I thought you meant that I had not credited someone for using their photo.
So someone as copied and pasted my photos and used them elsewhere? I often wondered why Mick and Dave Oy copyrighted their photos, maybe I should look into what that involves. Mind you, I don’t do this for money, but still a bit of credit would be appreciated.

Comment by: Veronica on 21st October 2023 at 14:04

Exactly Dennis…. It’s a cheek really. The people admired that photo but there was no inclination that you had taken it. Only the person who posted it was given credit for your talent.

Comment by: Dennis Seddon on 21st October 2023 at 15:01

Where were they posted Veronica, can you say?

Comment by: Veronica on 21st October 2023 at 16:44

Wigan Nostalgia Dennis.

Comment by: John Noakes on 21st October 2023 at 23:06

I have to laugh at that 'Wigan Nostalgia' site on facebook.
They've shown a photo of a painting which portrays the Battle of Wigan Lane in 1651, yet it shows the Parish Church as was only built in the mid 1800's, some 200 years later.
They wonder why they get laughed at.

Comment by: Rev David Long on 23rd October 2023 at 20:48

Mark - I've only just seen your question. The Ulverston Canal is still there - but it's so isolated (it runs from Morecambe Bay to Ulverston itself) that it hardly justifies re-opening. Fletcher's Canal is a spur off the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal - which a Restoration Society is trying to get restored (you can see some of it from the train between Bolton and Manchester, after it crosses the M60). I think it will be a long job.
Other Lancashire Canals needing restoration are the upper reaches of the Lancaster Canal - from Tewitfield to Kendal (now mostly in what has recently become Westmorland & Furness)and the Sankey (St Helens) Canal - the first modern industrial canal - being opened before the Bridgewater. One of Rolt's trips was on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal which runs from Ashton-under-Lyne, passing through the Standedge Tunnel - despite it being closed to traffic. That canal has since been restored - as has the Rochdale Canal, after decades of closure. Sadly, both canals take a lot of perseverance in making a passage even now - they're poorly maintained and have poor water supplies - as I found out myself in 2019....
Unfortunately, recently-announced reductions in funding to the Canal & River Trust mean that they'll not only not receive the upkeep they need - but may be among the first to be closed... followed by sections of the Leeds & Liverpool and other waterways around the country.

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