IN A world stuffed with technology it’s great to see that traditional skills and methods are still being used to great effect.
This is true at Grinshill Stone Quarry where masons are dressing large coping IN A world stuffed with technology it’s great to see that traditional skills and methods are still being used to great effect. This is true at Grinshill Stone Quarry where masons are dressing large coping stones to replace broken ones at Crickheath Wharf, on the Montgomery canal just south of Oswestry.
Tom Fulda, project manager at the Shropshire Union Canal Society, which is restoring the canal, said: “The generous grant from the Association of Industrial Archaeology (AIA) has funded more than 30 metres of sandstone coping stones which will form the top layer of the wharf wall. These come in various lengths, usually around 1.2m or 4ft, as they would have been measured originally.
“We’ll end up with about 40 to 45 stones in total and these, when a little weathered, will match the stones we have managed to save. It’s so refreshing to see traditional skills and methods still being used.”
Of course, the wharf wall is not the only work going on at Crickheath as the towpath is being brought to a standard that the bargees of old could only have dreamed of. There is also work on the channel, the wash wall and the hedgerows.
The Crickheath South work party saw the water test get under way after taking delivery of the large pump and associated pipework needed. Water is supplied from Crickheath Basin and pumped along the offside bank above the wharf wall to the two test areas, a distance of about 240m to the furthest. The purpose of the testing is to inform what waterproofing will be required and where, if any.
Towpath works were also completed as fantastic progress was made. A couple of access points have been incorporated into the towpath to allow for the movement of plants and materials when channel works begin.
Crickheath Bridge wash wall repairs have also been completed. The wall, which was in a rather dilapidated state, was repairable for the most part, though the southern end required rebuilding.
The wash wall extends 25m south from the bridge on the towpath side and has been repaired using a lime-based mortar.
More details on the society’s restoration activities, including detailed work party reports, can be found at shropshireunion.org.uk/restoration