Spellweaver
For anyone interested in their canal and river boat ancestors

East Midlands

Leicester Daily Mercury

A small selection from the Leicester Daily Mercury, dated 1879 to 1898, and featuring the following names:-

Boswell                        Chater                      Cooper                     Edwards

Foster                          Hemsley                   Jones                        Keeling

Marlow                         Skidmore                  Smith                        Withers

Wrigley

There is also an article dated 1898 regarding the implementation of the Canal Boats Acts, and the inspections carried out during that year.

Articles from Leicester Daily Mercury (96kb)

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Leicester Chronicle

Loughborough Canal

Over 750 articles from the Leicester Chronicle, dates 1827 to 1915.  Includes records of two cholera outbreaks in Leicester, one in 1832 and one in 1853, both of which badly affected the boat population.  An article from 1849 detailing the sanitary condition of Leicester also makes for interesting reading, and includes the statistics that infant mortality in Leicester was one in six, and that 30% of children died under the age of five.

There is a plea, in October 1855, from a member of the general public, asking the people of Leicester to refuse to use chimney climbing boys - another section of the population targeted by propagandist literature in the shape of Charles Kingsley's The Water Babies,

Names from Leicester Chronicle 1827 to 1855 (43kb)

The major article in the second document is an account of a poaching affray in 1874 in which one of the gamekeepers was killed, and  which took place near to the canal at Wistow.  There is also an interesting article from 1863 which chronicles the early career of a "professional vagrant".  On a lighter note, in 1859, there is the story of neighbours, the Whitcrofts and the Alveys, who had a falling out because Mrs Whitcroft and Mrs Alvey had "trolled their mops in each other's windows".

Names from Leicester Chronicle 1856 to 1879 (58kb)

A couple of articles feature the use of umbrellas as weapons by the female of the species!

Witness in a sugar stealing case in August 1895 was the boat boy, Harry Whitehouse, who stated in evidence that he did not know how old he was, and that he had "been to school for a bit - about three weeks".

Names from Leicester Chronicle 1880 to 1899 (51kb)

Back in the day, people who swore a lot were known as "Barge Mouths", and certainly one of the criticisms levelled against boatmen was their use of bad language.  There are a number of prosecutions for using obscene language here.

John Draper was a persistent offender, mostly for being drunk and disorderly, making over 30 appearances in court for various misdemeanours.

Names from Leicester Chronicle 1900 to 1915 (48kb)

As one might expect, given that George Smith lived in Coalville, there is much data in this selection from Leicester about his campaign on behalf of canal and gipsy children.

Articles from Leicester Chronicle 1827 to 1855 (530kb)

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