Etruria is hosting varied events this weekend. There are plenty of wonderfully painted and restored canal boats and barges, and there were also some old and interesting lorries at the site which had hauled static steam engines to Etruria.
I’ve often wondered what it was like to live on a working barge and we recently had the opportunity to see the interior of an old boat that hauled coal, the cabin for a family was only about 6 or 7 foot by 5 ft. There were various adaptations, like having a table that dropped down and boards to put across to make up a bed. But the life was hard and must have been very difficult and dangerous at times.
One man I was chatting to had lived by the canal in the second world war. He said a bomb was dropped on the canal by aircraft trying to hit the local steelworks. It took the roof off a covered lock and blew down an old wall next to the canal. He also said that there is a lot of subsidence in the area and the land had sunk so much they had to build a new lock. They had dredged the canal then filled in the base. He had helped bring down new lock gates from the countryside down the cauldon canal. But when they got to Etruria the canal was too shallow as they had added too much clay lining to it. With the weight of the lock gate the boat grounded on the bottom and they were stuck on the barge until someone came along with a board to help them get off the boat.
There is so much history that we know so little of in this area.
Tomorrow , well actually later today, there is a classic car show at Etruria. Should be good.