Spellweaver
For anyone interested in their canal and river boat ancestors

Newspapers - North East

Introduction

Further to my earlier comment, many "local" newspapers also reported national news, so don't be surprised to find references to cases of national interest in any of the archives.

If your particular interest is Yorkshire, take a look at www.penninewaterways.co.uk.

Northern Star

List of names from the Northern Star newspaper.

There are not a lot of articles here, but they date from a little earlier than some of the other newspapers.

The photograph is of Five Rise Lock at Bingley, and I can remember visiting there as a kid and watching a boat go through the locks.

Boatman names from Northern Star (45kb)

Articles from the Northern Star.

Boatman articles from Northern Star (109kb)

 

 

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Bradford Observer

The Bradford Canal had the dubious privilege of being considered the dirtiest in England, and although it brought much prosperity to the town, the local council seem to have spent much of their time trying to get it closed and filled in, in the belief that it was a health hazard.  A case from May 1857, when a couple of miscreants threw the aptly named Sergeant Slingsby into the canal describes it as follows : "The canal, the liquid of which, as is notorious, is about as black as ink, of the consistency of treacle and the odour of Harrogate water".  There is little of it left now.  For more details on the Bradford Canal and its problems, www.canalroutes.net/Bradford-Canal is an interesting read.

Names from Bradford Observer (50kb)

 

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Huddersfield Chronicle

Huddersfield has not one, but two, canals, a broad canal which runs for four miles from the centre of Huddersfield to the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Cooper Bridge, and a narrow canal of twenty miles length which runs from Huddersfield to Ashton under Lyne in Greater Manchester.

The Huddersfield narrow canal has a couple of claims to fame.  It is the highest navigable waterway in Britain, and also has the longest canal tunnel, the Standedge Tunnel.  For more details on the narrow canal, try www.huddersfieldcanal.com.

The Huddersfield articles are in two sections, 1850 to 1880 and 1881 to 1900.  Here are the names from the articles.

Names from Huddersfield Chronicle 1850 to 1880 (55kb)

One of the most distinctive features of the Broad Canal is the turn bridge located at Quay Street, which has given its name to the surrounding area.

This has proved to be an interesting archive of material, though the sheer number of drownings recorded in the local press is surprising There seem to have been particular spots on the canal network which were well known to be dangerous, and getting action taken to improve the situation seems to have been a slow process.

 

Articles from Huddersfield Chronicle 1850 to 1880 (500kb)

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Yorkshire Evening Post
Redcote Bridge

This proved to be a rather depressing selection, primarily due to the large numbers of suicides, particularly the suicides of women and girls, a fact noted not only by me but by the Leeds Deputy Coroner, Mr J E Hill.

Major cases include, in 1893, the suicide of Grainge Thompson, who drowned himself in the canal after murdering both his parents with a hammer, believing that his father was spending his inheritance in bets on the horses.  Shades of Lizzie Borden, who "gave her mother forty whacks, and when she saw when she had done, she gave her father forty one".

Names from Yorkshire Evening Post 1890 to 1900 (55kb)

In 1904, at the wedding reception of Tom Turner, a boat captain, and Mary Ellen Littlewood, two of the guests found a bottle which they thought contained spirits, and drank it.  Unfortunately the bottle contained carbolic acid, and both died shortly after, which must have put something of a damper on proceedings.

A boatman also had a role to play in "The Green Bicycle Murder", when Enoch Arthur Whitehouse dredged up the bicycle in question from the canal at Leicester.

Names from Yorkshire Evening Post 1901 to 1920 (53kb)

In August 1928, boatman Stephen Rogerson was nearly crushed by an ash tree which fell onto his canal barge near Armley.

There are a number of general articles in this selection which describe canal voyages taken at various times by "roving reporters".  These detail not only the journeys but also the changes made to canal transport over the period.

Names from Yorkshire Evening Post 1921 to 1955 (52kb)

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