by Colin Greenall
Since the last report two more days have been spent working to clear the infill at Winwick Boathouse.
Sunday 15th May: Today was the day when work on clearing the infill, which covers the concrete floor of the boathouse, really began. It did not take long to realise that what we thought to be the remains of another building was in fact the top of the dock inside the boathouse; this measured 100 inches (8ft, 4inch) across. About half of the site was clear, i.e. the distance between the rear wall and the footpath. The rest of the day was spent stacking bricks and ramping up soil to form a safety barrier between the footpath and the excavations. During the digging out a small hole in the concrete allowed us to investigate what the infill below the floor was like, this infill appears to be ash and should not be too much of a problem to remove, when and if we choose to do so. The depth of the dock was test by pushing a 5ft iron rod down the hole to a depth of 4ft, nothing solid was found.
Sunday 12th June: Once more digging out infill and stacking bricks was the order of the day and good progress was made, now the shape of the dock could clearly be seen. After our dinner break we began work on erecting a fence to act as a barrier between the site and footpath, this allowed us to clear more infill up to the footpath. Now it was time to get out the surveying equipment and record our findings. This was painstaking done by our expert Roy Forshaw (Below, right) with a little help from the rest of us. As we packed away the tools black clouds began to gather and then came the rain.
Plan of the Winwick Boathouse: not to scale
As may be appreciated from our drawing, the Boathouse presents something of a puzzle. The size of the dock, 8'4" x 25', would seem to indicate it was built for a particular boat, or type of boat. We know that the large Repair Works opposite was built in the 1840s, nearly 90 years after the canal was opened, but we don't know what existed at Winwick before that.
If anyone as any information about the Boathouse at Winwick, I would be delighted to hear from them. And if anyone would like to come and join in the fun...
Contact Colin Greenall: Tel 01744 731746 (evenings) or 01744 732031 (daytime)
Or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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