Spellweaver
For anyone interested in their canal and river boat ancestors

Newspapers - Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire

Introduction

When is a boatman not a boatman?  A selection from the South West which includes some Severn and Avon boatmen as well as those who worked on the canals.

Maisemore Lock gets a number of mentions in these articles, and plainly it must have been a rather dangerous place!  One of the histories given in  the Virtual Waterways website concerns Thomas and Lucy Cox.  Thomas Cox was the toll collector and lock keeper at Maisemore Lock, near Gloucester.  He drowned in the Severn, and after his death his wife and son took over his job.  After the Cox family left the Lock Cottage, it was lived in by some of my distant relatives, and there is a 1929 newspaper record of William Morefield of the Lock Cottage at Maisemore trying to rescue a lad who had fallen into the river.  Unfortunately he was unsuccessful.

A Maisemore Hero (1859kb)

There are just over 160 articles here.

Articles from Bristol Mercury (258kb)

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Gloucester Chronicle
Gloucester

Only six articles here, but included for completeness.  Names which appear are :-

  • Keeling
  • Lee
  • Morgan
  • Powney
  • Ryland
  • Sadler

Articles from Gloucester Chronicle (65kb)

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Gloucester Citizen
Victoria Docks

About 430 articles here, dating from 1877 to 1910.

In every set of newspaper articles, there are a few which stick in the memory, and often these are the ones which are of general interest.  In this particular selection, for me, it was a series of articles and letters describing the provision - or rather, lack of it - of poor relief in Gloucester in January 1893, when the docks were frozen over and many men were laid off.  The level of poverty described is beyond recognition in this day and age.

There is also the obituary, in February 1895, of Joseph Rea, disabled in a childhood accident, who sold apples and ginger beer at the dock gates.  Being a good businessman, he earned enough to buy himself a chip potato cart.

Picture courtesy of the Gloucester Docks website (see links page), which also has a useful map of the docks area.

Names from Gloucester Citizen (42kb)

In the articles from Stroud, two names stand out - Joseph Gardiner and Jesse Cook.  Both were persistent offenders.  Joseph Gardiner was often picked up sleeping rough, and created chaos when sent to the local workhouse.  Jesse Cook was often found drunk and disorderly, and also had a violent streak - on one occasion in 1901 he threw a swede at his wife and knocked her down!  The ways in which these cases were dealt with is interesting.  Joseph Gardiner was tried for being "a rogue and a vagabond", which enabled the magistrates to give him a longer term of imprisonment.  Jesse Cook was tried under the Inebriates' Act of 1878, and sent to an Inebriates' Home for eighteen months - presumably to dry out.

Articles from Gloucester Citizen (814kb)

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Jackson's Oxford Journal

A selection from Oxfordshire.  One of the most fascinating pieces of information from the Knowle Family History Society was the fact that one of the principal cargoes which passed through the town was sugar from London for the breweries in the Midlands.

Firstly a list of boatman names which appear in Jackson's Oxford Journal

Names from Jackson's Oxford Journal (53kb)

And here are the articles from the same publication

Articles from Jackson's Oxford Journal (697kb)

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Oxford Times

Sandford Lock

A small selection from the Oxford Times, dated 1862 to 1870.

One place often mentioned in the Oxfordshire data is Sandford Lock, pictured here.  The pool below the weir at Sandford is known as the "Sandford Lasher", and is a particularly dangerous spot which has claimed many lives over the years.

Names from Oxford Times (44kb)

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