Building canals

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Sue
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Building canals

Post by Sue »

John Widdup who lived in Rochdale in 1785 and 1786 for certain, was a sawyer. He probably worked locally to where he lived in the centre of Rochdale near the present town hall. At the time the area was surrounded by fields and woodland most of which was Glebe land and leased for 99 years to the farmers of the time. I think it is probable that John worked for the church chopping trees as required. In the late 1780s major building programmes were planned which included the building of the Rochdale canal. The meadows and possibly some of the woodland may have been affected. At the same time there was a move away from woollen mills to Cotton mills. I do not know what Johns wife Martha did , but I presume she was a weaver in a local woollen mill. I suspect, with a name like Edmundson and other clues that Martha was from Batlick

By 1791 John lived in Barlick. It was at this time I understand that the Leeds Liverpool canal was being built there. John was still listed as a sawyer when he died in 1828, and on varoious baptism records of his children .

So these are my questions
1. Why would someone move from Barlick to Rochdale, possibly with an uncle, sister and cousin around 1780-1784 ?

2. Why would someone move to Barlick from Rochdale sometime between 1786 and 1791?

3. If John was still a sawyer was there any notable woodland around Barlick where he would have worked?

4. How would the building of the canal provide work for John

5. Why would Martha move back, apart from her being with John. It maybe the other way round, he moved because she wanted to ?

I have some theories of my own but rather than taint your replies I will keep them to myself for the moment.
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Re: Building canals

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There would be woodworking required for the locks at Greenberfield.
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Re: Building canals

Post by Tizer »

Yes, there would have been much work preparing timber for the locks, particularly the massive gates, both when they were installed and for maintenance later. I don't know much about the canal there but I guess boatbuilding went on somewhere in the area. So much timber was used in those days that sawyers must have been forever busy. There were often enormous piles of wood waiting to be used or being seasoned and sometimes timber was floated down the canals and rivers.
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Re: Building canals

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Boatyard at Salterforth although not sure when it started. Barlick marina is a relatively modern enterprise.
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Re: Building canals

Post by Wendyf »

Would the bridge builders use a wooden form for stone arched bridges?
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Re: Building canals

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Ah we are in agreement here. But where would the wood come from do you think? Would the sides of the canal be shored up with wood do you think?
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Re: Building canals

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In some places or with metal pilings most just lined with clay. Bridges of course had stone footings to support the bridge above. Wooden formers would have been used for the arches, easiest way to do it. Foulridge mile tunnel was an excavated trench then a brickwork tunnel built in the bottom with ventilation chimneys along its length the tunnel then covered over and back to pasture.
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Re: Building canals

Post by Sue »

PanBiker wrote: 29 Jan 2020, 17:04 In some places or with metal pilings most just lined with clay. Bridges of course had stone footings to support the bridge above. Wooden formers would have been used for the arches, easiest way to do it. Foulridge mile tunnel was an excavated trench then a brickwork tunnel built in the bottom with ventilation chimneys along its length the tunnel then covered over and back to pasture.
Thank you, interesting.
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Re: Building canals

Post by plaques »

Foulridge 1816, The tunnel wasn't all cut and cover along its entire length approximately half of it was done this way but when the cut got too high it was built as a pure tunnel. The same frame work logic would apply though.
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Re: Building canals

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Thanks for that P, I knew at least some of it was trenched. I suppose when the cut got too deep it would be safer to tunnel although the choice would be a fine line I suppose on safety grounds between one and the other.
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Re: Building canals

Post by Stanley »

Several comments.
Foulridge tunnel was cut and cover at the Barrowford end only and canal construction would be finishing by 1800 so many workers would move on.
We know from Bolton Priory evidence and other sources that Barlick was the best place to get big timbers from fro as early as the 13th century, big woodlands and lots of trades from foresters to sawyers, turners and wagon builders. The records show that we exported to many places inside a 60 mile diameter area centred on the town.
Sawyers, bobbin turning, cart and barrow making and wheelwrights in abundance in Barlick until the mid 19th century.
After canal was built there were at least two boat building yards near Salterforth.
We don't know when the big woodland was finally extinguished in Barlick but a good guess would be the end of the 17th century.
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Re: Building canals

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Stanley wrote: 30 Jan 2020, 02:46 Several comments.
Foulridge tunnel was cut and cover at the Barrowford end only and canal construction would be finishing by 1800 so many workers would move on.
We know from Bolton Priory evidence and other sources that Barlick was the best place to get big timbers from fro as early as the 13th century, big woodlands and lots of trades from foresters to sawyers, turners and wagon builders. The records show that we exported to many places inside a 60 mile diameter area centred on the town.
Sawyers, bobbin turning, cart and barrow making and wheelwrights in abundance in Barlick until the mid 19th century.
After canal was built there were at least two boat building yards near Salterforth.
We don't know when the big woodland was finally extinguished in Barlick but a good guess would be the end of the 17th century.
Interesting, thank you Stanley.

Now another question, if someone was a woollen weaver would they easily become a cotton weaver, and were the weaving sheds in Barlick in the late 1700 s wool or cotton? I have an extract from a book that implies that in Rochdale at this time weaving was using advanced techniques, was Barlick the same? Would someone adapt easily? Sorryabout the funny angle it was difficult go get an image on my ipad.
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Re: Building canals

Post by Stanley »

It seems to have been an easy transition from wool and silk to cotton and as the market for the cloth was easier most weavers made the transition very quickly. The old system of clothiers dealing exclusively in wool had dominated but very soon the transition was almost complete. This of course applies exclusively to the domestic industry.
There were no weaving sheds as such in Barlick until about 1810 when Mitchell's Mill (Later Clough) was built. The other small water powered mills were all concerned only with using the older technologies to produce roving or sliver for the home spinners. According to the best authority, Chris Aspin, only one mill, Midge Hole on County Brook was an Arkwright mill. The other mills started with more modern technology and by-passed the Arkwright stage.
We have one possible 'loom shop' on Manchester Road in about 1800. This was one location with multiple hand loom weavers, common in some areas but not in Barlick.
The bottom line is that by around 1850, domestic hand loom weavers were a rarity. Funnily enough some of the ones remaining were weaving 'Delaine', wool.
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Re: Building canals

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So what did the women workers do ? As Martha features on few documents I have no idea what she did. Until the early 1800 s she only had a small family which then grew rapidly. No living / traceable children between 1786 and 1791, which seems strange.
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Re: Building canals

Post by Stanley »

Sue. The labour split was, as far as I am aware, totally women and children doing the preparatory work (cleaning and carding) and spinning, the men doing the weaving and carrying the cloth to the clothier. Remember that using water mill sliver or roving still required hand spinning by the women. It was only with the advent of the weaving sheds that women became weavers.
Worth looking at the census figures. They make a distinction between HLW delaine (wool) and HLW which is cotton. Occasionally you'll find one weaving silk or linen but these were rare round here. In the later census (say 1841 onwards) factory weavers are clearly distinguished.
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