The History of Barlaston Boatyard

Researched by Sheridan Parsons in 2022.

Further information illustrations and photographs would be most welcome.

The Building of the Canal 1755 to 1771

The Trent and Mersey Canal, originally known as the Grand Trunk Canal, was part of a larger scheme envisioned by James Brindley, the ‘Grand Cross’ linking the Trent, the Mersey, the Severn and the Thames. Brindley was then a virtually unknown mill engineer. His route ran 93 miles from the Bridgewater Canal at Preston Brook, which provided its connection to the River Mersey, south via Stoke-on-Trent, then just before Fradley Junction it turned north east towards the Trent Navigation just beyond Shardlow. The Act to build the canal was approved by Parliament in 1766 and the navigation was completed in 1771, except for the Harecastle Tunnel, which took 11 years to build. Unfortunately Brindley did not live long enough to see the entire project completed. One of the biggest investors in the canal was Josiah Wedgwood, who even cut the first sod of soil. He used the canal to export fragile chinaware from his pottery at the Ivy Works in Burslem, and to import supplies of china clay. He later built a new factory and workers’ village which he named Etruria. Other cargoes on the canal included coal, salt, and beer.

Portrait of James Brindley by Francis Parsons

The tan yard, pre 1778

The boat yard at Barlaston was originally a tan yard (see 1809 sale for confirmation of this) but was converted to a boat yard some time between 1766 and 1778 in which year a “boat house” was first mentioned (according to Greenslade in ‘Barlaston, a History’, 1966, source not provided).

By 1809 the boat yard estate extended to 9 acres and comprised the timber and boatbuilding yard, six ‘recently built’ workers’ cottages, now known as Boatyard Cottages, the boat yard master’s house, which has been called ‘The Boat House’ for many years, and is set back from the canal immediately to the left of Boatyard Cottages, and various associated sheds and warehouses. The buildings were probably erected soon after the canal was cut. The building which later became The Boatyard was not among these early buildings.

Laying away hides at a tan yard in Hagley

John Tomlinson 1807-1809

The first owner/manager I have found for the boat yard was boatbuilder and timber merchant John Tomlinson. John Tomlinson almost certainly lived at the master’s house now known as the Boat House. This was always the principle residence at the boat yard, and was probably the earliest residence to be erected. The earliest reference I have found for John Tomlinson is when he placed an advert in August 1807:

TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION At the house of Mrs Joule, the Fountain, in Stone, Tuesday the 1st day of September, 1807, a 4 o’clock in the afternoon ; SIX substantial well built BOATS, with Cloths and other Stores complete, in good repair. The above Boats may be viewed at Stone on the day of sale ; and further particulars may be had, by applying to John Tomlinson, Timber Merchant, Barlaston, near Stone.

Unfortunately in June 1809 Tomlinson was declared bankrupt.

BANKRUPTS – J Tomlinson of Barlaston, Staffordshire, boat-builder, to surrender July 6 at three, 7 and 22 at eleven, at the Crown Inn, Stone, Staffordshire. Attornies Messrs J snd R Willis, Warnford Court, London ; and Mr Vernor, Stone, Staffordshire.

Following Tomlinson’s bankruptcy, the boat yard estate came up for sale. The sale particulars give us an extraordinary degree of insight into the estate.

A typical timber yard of the period

TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, By Mr. COOK, 1809

By order of the Assignees of John Tomlinson, Barlaston, in the County of Stafford, Boat Builder and Timber Merchant, a Bankrupt, on the premises at Barlaston aforesaid, on Wednesday the 2nd day of August, 1809, and the three following days, the sale to commence at ten o’clock; The Entire Stock in Trade, & also all the neat modern Household Furniture and other Effects of the said JOHN TOMLINSON. The stock trade consists of oak timber in the round, boat planks, wheelwrights’ timber of all kinds, oak scantling and bed tapers, colliers’ timber, rails and posts, poplar and other boards, tressles and benches, timber carriages, crate and narrow wheeled carts, boat tillers and shafts, bar and sheet iron, boat stern plates, upwards of a ton of large boat nails, a good assortment of small nails, a quantity of tared strap ropes and  side cloth cords, oakum, new and old tarpawlings, seven new stoves and pipes, a number of grinding-stones of various sizes, linseed and train oil, spirit of turpentine, red and white lead, lampblack and sulphur, stock locks, cupboard and drawer locks, brass cloak pins, gilt and white coffin furniture, horse-shoe moulds, smiths’ bellows, anvil and screw stocks, vices and all kinds of smiths’ tools, one ton of old iron, oil cistern lined with lead, theodolite and compass, with Sherwin’s tables, hot-bed frames, bee bench, counting-house desks, moon clock in mahogany case, two stacks of well-got hay, and upwards of a hundred thousand bricks, with various other articles. 

The Household Furniture comprlses four-post bedsteads, with extra superfine calico, neat printed and gingham furnitures, with window curtains to correspond, fine goose feather beds, bolsters and pillows, wool mattresses, fine blankets, counterpanes, and bed-quilts, floor and bedside carpets, neat mahogany chests of drawers, dressing tables and glasses, mahogany night chair and wash-hand stands, pier glass in a gilt frame, mahogany dining, card and stand tables, oak square and circular stands, handsome sofa with chintz cover, Scotch floor carpet and hearth rug, mahogany chairs with hair seats, neat painted and stained chairs, japanned tea-trays and waiters, wheel and perpendicular barometers, a number of prints framed and glazed, an assortment of good bed and table linen, capital moon clock in beautiful mahogany case, handsome fowling pieces, a quantity of glass, china and earthenware, silver table and tea spoons, painted wire fenders and fire-irons, plated, brass, and iron candlesticks, kitchen tables and chairs, brass milk-pans, two iron furnaces, salting turnil, hop-press, mash-tubs, churn, and numerous other useful articles. The Stock in Trade will be sold on the 1st and 2nd day and the sale of the Household Furniture will commence Friday morning.

AND ALSO TO BE SOLD AUCTION, By Mr. COOK, By order of the said Assignees, at the sign of Feathers, in Barlaston aforesaid, on Wednesday the 2nd day of August next, six o’clock the evening, subject to such conditions as will then produced ; ALL that Messuage or Dwellinghouse, situate in Barlaston aforesaid; with the garden, orchard, boat-yard, sheds, docks, warehouses, and other buildings, and also all those several closes or pieces of excellent land, thereunto adjoining and belonging, containing in the whole 9 acres or thereabouts, be the same more or less, and now or late in the occupation of the said John Tomlinson, and also all those six Dwelling-Houses, standing near to the said Messuage, now in the respective occupations of the said John Tomlinson and of William Hammerton, Moses Mills, Thomas Morreys, James Bird, and Stephen Large. The Buildings are of recent erection and in complete repair, and the premises are peculiarly well adapted for the business of a boat builder, or might at a small expense be converted into a tan yard, the same having been a few years ago used as such, and they are well supplied with water and adjoin to the Grand Trunk Canal. THOMAS MORREYS, on the premises, will shew the same; and further particulars may had of Mr JOULE, of Stone, or Mr ASTBURY, of Meaford Farm, the Assignees, or at the office of Mr Vernon, Solicitor, Stone.

The Assignees were the gentlemen appointed to distribute a bankrupt’s assets to his creditors. John Tomlinson’s bancruptcy was discharged after the sale on December 3rd 1809. Dividends were duly paid to the creditors. The Saint James’s Chronicle reported in February 1810:

DIVIDENDS to be made in the COUNTRY. March 6. J Tomlinson, of Barlaston, Staffordshire, boat builder, at the Crown inn, Stone.

An art auction of the period

Mr Owen, c.1809-1812

From about 1809 to 1812 the occupier of ‘The Boat House’ was a Mr Owen. It is not clear whether he was a tenant operator of the boat yard or the owner. It was not long before the property was up for auction again.

Auction of the Freehold February 1812

TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, By Mr COOK, At the Unicorn Inn, Stone, in the county of Stafford, on Tuesday the 3rd day of March, 1812, at the hour 4 in the afternoon, subject to such conditions shall be then produced; LOT 1. ALL that Messuage or Dwelling-House, delightfully, situated for a genteel family, at Barlaston, in the county of Stafford, with stabling, large garden, orchard, and other suitable and compleat conveniences, now occupied by Mr Owen ; and also 4 closes or pieces rich Land adjoining thereto, and lying to the Grand Trunk Canal, containing together about 9 Acres. LOT 2. A large spacious Boat and Timber Yard, good boat dock, with warehouses, workshops, sheds, saw-pit, and 6 Dwelling-Houses belonging and adjoining, and occupied by several persons as tenants. The above premises adjoin the Grand Trunk Canal, are betwixt Slone and Stoke, in the Staffordshire Potteries, 4 miles distant from the former, and 6 from the latter place. Possession may be had immediately after the sale, if required. For particulars apply to MR COXON at Hanley ; or at MR HUBBARD’s Office, in Cheadle.

An art auction of the period

Auction of the Freehold November 1819

The boat yard was on the market again in November 1819. It appears that the occupier at this time was Stephen Spencer. The advert mentions two stables behind Boatyard Cottages for the first time.

BARLASTON. Valuable Freehold Property TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, By Mr C. BARNES, At the Red Lion Public-House, in Tittensor, near Stone, on Wednesday the 24th of November, between the hours of 3 and 5 in the afternoon, subject to such conditions as will be then produced, and in the following or such other lots as may be agreed upon at the time of sale ; LOT 1. — A Commodious Dwelling-House, with Stable and Garden to the same: and also a convenient Boat-Yard, Dock, Workshops, Sheds, Saw-Pits, and every other convenience for the purposes of Boat-Building ; together with a Close of excellent Pasture Land, adjoining to the said Boat-Yard, containing about one acre. LOT 2. — Six Dwelling-Houses, adjoining each other, near to the premises comprised in Lot 1 ; with two Stables behind them. The above property is situate at Barlaston, near Stone, in the county of Stafford, on the line of the Grand Trunk Canal, over which a horse bridge has been lately made directly opposite. Lot 1 is most advantageously situated for the boatbuilding business, and the house well adapted for a Huckster, Corn Dealer, &c. To view the premises, refer to Mr Stephen Spencer, Fenton, in the Potteries; and for further information of him, or Messrs. HUBBARD & KEYS, Solicitors, Cheadle. 

The mention of a horse bridge made me doubt whether this was the same boat yard, but a later advert appears to confirm that as the entrance to Boatyard Lane was on Station Road, this referred to the Station Road bridge.

The Red Lion Stoke upon Trent via Steven Birks Geograph

Auction of the Freehold August 1821

The boatyard estate came up for auction yet again in 1821. It appears that the occupier at this time was still Stephen Spencer. The advert read:

BARLASTON. Valuable Freehold Property TO BE SOLD BY AUCTION, By W and J AUDLEY, Upon the Premises, or at Mr John Hand’s, at the Plume of Feathers, Barlaston, in the County of Stafford, on Thursday the 6th day of September, between the hours of 3 and 5 in the afternoon, subject to such conditions as will be then produced, and in the following or such other lots as may be agreed upon at the time of sale. [Here followed details of the Lots which were exactly the same as in the 1819 sale.] To view the premises, refer to Mr Stephen Spencer, on the premises; and for further information to him, or Messrs. HUBBARD & KEYS, Solicitors, Cheadle; or the Auctioneers, Newcastle.

The buyer of the freehold is unknown.

The Plume of Feathers Pub, Barlaston, via canal and riverside pubs, Geograph

Tenancy Advertised April 1825

The head tenant from about this time was of Samuel Burgess. He let out the boat yard to undertenants. In April 1825 the tenancy of the boat yard was advertised.

To be let, at Barlaston, in the county of Stafford. TO BE LET, And entered upon immediately, THAT old established Boat-Builder’s Yard, and Dock under cover, with an excellent brick and tiled Dwelling House, and Garden: also, six small Dwelling- Houses, with gardens, if required. For view of the premises, and treat for the tenantry, apply Mr. Samuel Burgess, Barlaston.

Evidence for a Covered Dock

Note that the dock was under cover. This evidence together with observation of the footings made by the present owner during his excavations confirms that the dock once looked like a similar one in Stone.

The covered dock in Stone, via Roger Kidd, Geograph

Undated Map (early 1800s?)

A photocopied map of unknown date shows the boat yard, the graving dock, Boatyard Cottages, and The Boat House, but The Boatyard is not shown. An owner’s name, Thomas Smith, is written between Boatyard Cottages and The Boat House. This may be the same Thomas Smith who was a miller at Wetmore Mill in 1828. Another possible Thomas Smith was a tanner in Cheadle.

I have not as yet found the original of this map. Other names which appear on this map are Dr John Astbury (land opposite) and Mr John Aston (land at the northern end of Boatyard Lane). These names and the map style suggest that the map dates to the 1830s. John Astbury (MD) lived locally from at least 1810 and appeared in the 1828 Pigot´s Directory. Both he and John Aston (gentry) appear in the 1835 edition. There may be another owner’s name on the boat yard estate beyond the edge of the photocopy. If so, could Samuel Adderley be on the map?

Early map, date unknown

James Rowley and Samuel Turner, 1830

An advertisement for boats for sale at various boat yards appeared in 1830, Note that James Rowley was at Barlaston boat yard and Samuel Turner was at a boat yard in Uttoxeter. Both were almost certainly tenants at this time.

FOURTEEN EXCELLENT CANAL BOATS WILL BE OFFERED TO SALE BY AUCTION, By Mr JAMES, At the House of Mr. Samuel Poulson, the Red Lion, in Stoke-upon-Trent, in the county of Stafford, on Thursday, the 18th of February, 1830. Subject to such conditions as will be then produced. Sale to commence at four o’clock, precisley. THREE NEW BUILT BOATS, now lying at Uttoxeter Dock Yard, one ditto, now lying at Etruria Wharf. Five excellent BOATS nearly new, with iron knees and clothed complete, suitable for the fly trade, and of the following names:— The Earl of Eldon, now lying at Preston Brook; the William, now lying at Middlewich ; the Hawk, now lying at Stoke-upon-Trent; and the Alexander and Eliza, now lying at Barlastone. Also, three BOATS with wood knees, and clothed complete. The Dart, now lying at Uttoxeter; the Edward, now lying at Hemheath ; and the Express, now lying at Barlastone. Two Limestone or Coal BOATS, one now lying at Froghall, and the other at the Red Bull; the names of these Boats are the Snipe and Traveller. The Auctioneer takes the liberty to inform his Friends, and Carriers in particular, that the above stated Boats have all been recently built, and in excellent condition, being good swimmers, and capable of carrying a large top load. The whole of the Boats built, are of the best English Timber, and will be sold on such terms as will insure to the purchaser a great bargain. N. B.— For further particulars, apply to Mr Samuel Turner, at his Dock Yard, Uttoxeter ; or to Mr James Rowley, at the Dock Yard, Barlastone.

The Red Lion Stoke upon Trent via Steven Birks Geograph

Samuel Turner from c. 1831

Samuel Turner probably began his long occupancy of the boat yard estate as a tenant in 1831. It is certain that Samuel was at the boat yard by 1831, as he appears there in the ‘History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Staffordshire’ of that year. He did not, however, appear in the Pigot commercial directory for 1828-9, neither did any other boatbuilder. I believe this was because the boat yard was tenanted by his colleague James Rowley, who was perhaps more a tradesman than a gentleman.

Samuel was born in Stone in about 1787. He married Elizabeth in about 1810 and they had four children (that I have positively identified), Thomas, the eldest was born in Stone in 1811. The family lived in Uttoxeter from about 1815 (or before) to about 1830. Mary was born there in 1815, Elizabeth in 1815, and Samuel in 1818. From 1830 or before Samuel was the owner or tenant of a boat yard in Uttoxeter. Samuel’s wife Elizabeth died in Uttoxeter on 14th May 1825. The paper reported “On the 14th inst. Mrs. Turner, wife of Mr. Turner, boatbuilder, Uttoxeter.” 

Samuel remarried on 27th July 1835. His bride was Mrs Mary Hammersley of Cheadle. I have not yet confirmed her identity but in June 1834 William Hammersley drowned at  Barlaston, and this may have been her husband.

Inquests before Mr. Harding, coroner : on the Ist instant, William Hammersly, at Barlaston, who was drowned whilst bathing on the 29th ult.; on the same day, at Burslem, on Thomas Tavernor, little child, who fell into the water and was drowned. — Verdicts in both cases accidental death.”

A couple dancing the polka in the 1830s

1841 Census

In 1841 the first complete national census was carried out.

  • Samuel Turner, timber merchant, (presumably at The Boat House) with his wife Mary, possible daughter Martha Turner, born in 1826, and a jounger girl, Mary Hammersley, who was born in 1832. Mary Hammersley may have been a relation of Mary’s, the daughter of Robert and Phoebe Hammersley. She died in 1846 at the age of 20. 
  • Charles Ferns, boat builder, his wife Hannah and son William, (probably 1 Boatyard Cottages).
  • Charles Goald(?), boatbuilder, William Dawson, boat builder, and Eliza Green, potter, (probably 2 Boatyard Cottages).
  • James Snape, boat builder, his wife Hannah and sons William and Reuben, (probably 3 Boatyard Cottages).
  • Joseph Morris, boat builder, his wife Ann, daughter Kate, and sons William, John, Joseph, Frederick and Timothy, (probably 4 Boatyard Cottages).
  • James Rowley, boatwright (connected with Samuel Turner since 1830 or before), his wife Elizabeth, his son Henry, apprentice boatwright, and his son Stephen, (probably 5 Boatyard Cottages).
  • John Key, agricultural labourer, his wife Mary, and their baby son Thomas, (probably 6 Boatyard Cottages).

The next three households were either number 7 or 8 (or both), and one or two cottages which no longer exist to the rear. (This is probably the former cottage referenced in 1934, see below). The order is unfathomable from the evidence available. Note that 8 Boatyard Cottages was later known as Boatyard Farm.

  • William Martin, sawyer, his wife Sarah, their sons John and William, and their baby daughter Hannah, (either 7 Boatyard Cottages or a cottage to the rear which no longer exists).
  • Thomas Turner, boat builder, and his wife Ann, (probably 8 Boatyard Cottages, now Boatyard Farm) (Samuel’s son).
  • Richard Gallimore, sawyer, his wife Ann, his son William, and his daughters Jane and Mary, (either 7 Boatyard Cottages or a cottage to the rear which no longer exists).
Boatyard Cottages

1846

In 1846 Samuel Turner and his son Thomas purchased a half share in the boat yard estate from Thomas Smith by means of a private mortage from Thomas Smith. (I believe John Cattlow may have bought the other half share). In the poll books Samuel Turner was listed living at the boat yard, probably at The Boat House, from 1835 to at least 1861, but he was always listed as the occupier and never as a freeholder of his own home.

1848 Tithe Map via Staffordshire Archives

c. 1848 The Tithe Map

A tithe map was created at some point between 1836 and 1849 (probably 1848). When the map was surveyed all the boat yard estate and properties were owned by Samuel Adderley, Esq. Neither John Aston nor Samuel Smith are recorded as land owners in Barlaston in these tithe awards.

The map shows The Boatyard as a rectangular footprint just below the number 123. It must have been built some time between 1809 and 1845 when it appears on a North Staffordshire Railway parliamentary plan. The Boatyard was originally a joinery workshop or store and there was reputedly a blacksmith’s smithy through the archway on the left side, although I have a slight suspicion that the blacksmith’s was actually in field parcel 384 immediately to the north, where the parliamentary plan shows another building of a similar size. This plot is currently used for car parking for Boatyard Cottages.

Many of the households listed at the boat yard in the tithe map equate to those in the 1841 census. Again is difficult to distinguish each of the Boatyard Cottages as the numbering on the tithe map is squashed together with 129, 130, 131, and 136 to the front, and 132, 133, 134 and 135 to the rear. This was probably just a convenient way of fitting the numbers into the limited space. Today there are six cottages to the front and two behind the right end of the terrace. The occupiers were as follows:

  • Tithe award 120 was a ‘Croft’ meadow c. 6,930 sq m owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by Samuel Turner.
  • Tithe award 121 was a ‘Croft’ meadow c. 10,370 sq m owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by Samuel Turner.
  • Tithe award 122 was a ‘Croft’ meadow c. 6,348 sq m owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by Samuel Turner.
  • Tithe award 123 was ‘Boat Yard & Buildings’ c. 2,883 sq m owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by Samuel Turner.
  • Tithe award 124 was the Canal Towing Path owned by the Trent & Mersey Canal Company.
  • Tithe award 127 was a ‘Croft’ c. 3,667 sq m owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by Samuel Turner.
  • Tithe award 128 was ‘House, Garden, Stable etc’ c. 4,552 sq m owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by Samuel Turner, probably The Boat House.
  • Tithe award 129 was ‘Cottage’ c. 25 sq m (probably 1 Boatyard Cottages) owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by George Ferns.
  • Tithe award 130, was ‘Cottage etc’ c. 25 sq m (probably 2 Boatyard Cottages) owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by Charles Ferns.
  • Tithe award 131, was ‘Cottage etc’ c. 25 sq m (probably 3 Boatyard Cottages) owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by James Snape.
  • Tithe award 132, was ‘Cottage etc’ c. 25 sq m (probably 4 Boatyard Cottages) owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by John Alsop.
  • Tithe award 133, was ‘Cottage etc’ c. 25 sq m (probably 5 Boatyard Cottages) owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by James Rowley.

As in 1841 the order of the following households is unfathomable from the evidence available. The map seems to show a space behind 6 Boatyard Cottages which had been infilled by 1879.

  • Tithe award 134, was ‘Cottage etc’ c. 25 sq m owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by John Stevens.
  • Tithe award 135, was ‘Cottage etc’ c. 25 sq m owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by Richard Gallimore.
  • Tithe award 136, was ‘Cottage etc’ c. 25 sq m owned by Samuel Adderley and occupied by Thomas Turner (Samuel’s son).
  • Tithe award 137, was ‘Part of Pools Meadow’ c. 11,988 sq m owned by John Astbury Adderley and occupied by Samuel Turner.
  • Tithe award 140, was ‘Croft’ pasture c. 4,932 sq m owned by John Adderley and occupied by Joseph Hand. This is the probable site of New Buildings.

This is where things get hazy. At some point Boatyard Cottages, and perhaps the remainder of the boat yard estate, belonged to Thomas Smith. However, as previously mentioned, Samuel Adderley was named as owning the freehold of the entire boat yard estate when the c. 1848 tithe map was drawn up. Samuel Adderley does not appear on a later schedule of historic conveyances. More research is required, but my suspicion is that Adderley owned a moiety (half) of the estate, and that Thomas Smith owned the other half.

Boatyard Cottages

1851 Census

In 1851 the census lists all the following residents at the boat yard.

  • John Snape, 36, boatwright, his wife H, and six children. The eldest, 13 year old William, was a farm servant.
  • Samuel Turner, 63, timber merchant and boat manufacturer, firm of 2 employing 34 men; his wife Mary, his daughter Elizabeth, and a house servant, Martha Cheadle.
  • Joseph James(?), 32, a sawyer, and his wife Mary.
  • Thomas Stephens, 66, a boatwright, his wife Sarah and grandson John.
  • Thomas Challenor, 32, an agricultural labourer, his wife H and daughter Jane.
  • Thomas Turner, 40, timber merchant and boatuilder, firm of 2 employing 34 men, and his wife Ann.
  • Mary Bates, 23, wife of George Bates, waggoner, their two daughters and a house servant, Martha Finney.
  • Silas Jackson, 38, a sawyer, his wife E, their two daughters and son, and a lodger Thomas Bushton, 32, a sawyer.
  • James Rowley, 52, a boatwright, widower, his son B, also a boatwright, and his son’s wife A and daughter J.
  • Thomas Turner, 40, clerk for timber merchant, his wife Ann, and their five children.
  • Samuel Turner, 32, office clerk for timber merchant, his wife Eliza, and a house servant, Mary Tildersley.

1856 Poll Book

In the poll book of 1856 Thomas Turner was listed as holding a moiety (half) of a freehold parcel of land.

Sale of Horses, 1858

An advert for a livestock Auction in 1858 seems to refer to property of the boat yard.

A Team of five powerful DRAUGHT HORSES, belonging to Messrs Turner and Sons, of Barlaston, and are sold solely in consequence of their having no further use for them.

1861 Poll Book

In the poll book of 1861 Thomas Turner was again listed as holding a moiety (half) of a freehold parcel of land.

1861 Census

The 1861 census lists all the following residents at the boat yard.

  • Peter Hancock, a millwright, his wife Sarah, and their boarder, 12 year old Mary Turner.
  • Thomas Stephens, 21, boatbuilder, his wife Emma, and brother James, 17, blacksmith.
  • John Atkins, 50, chair manufacturer, his wife Mary, and daughters Catherine and Lucy.
  • An uninhabited cottage.
  • Samuel Saxon, 44, blacksmith, his wife Martha and neice Ann.
  • Charles Gould, 43, boat builder, his wife Ann, daughter Ann, sons Alfred and Francis, and brother-in-law Charles Harvey, a butcher.
  • Mary Martin, 67, former dairymaid, widow of John, her daughter Mary, a house servant, and son John, a lath cleaner.
  • William Johnson, 27, carter, his wife Mary and sons David and Charles.
  • Ralph Roper, 37, agricultural labourer, lodger.
  • James Snape, 45, boat builder, his wife Hannah, and their sons Rubin, a boat builder, John, a carter, Henry, Isiah, and daughters Martha and Elizabeth.
  • Silas Jackson, 48, sawyer, wife Elizabeth, daughters Mary and Elizabeth, both house servants, son Silas, boat builder, and youngest daughter Harriet.
  • William H Dove, 20, sawyer, lodger.
  • James Rowley, 63 boat builder, widower.
  • An uninhabited cottage.
  • Thomas Challenor, 40, gardener, his wife Harriet and their daughter Jane.
  • Samuel Turner, 48, timber merchant’s clerk, his wife Ann, sons Thomas and Edward, daughters Ellen and Lucy, and house servant Sarah Wootton.
  • John Lownds, 31, sawyer, his wife Lucy, son Alfred, daughter Leonore, son John, and daughter Louisa.
  • Henry Talbot, 41, painter, his wife Eliza, daughters Sarah and Eliza, sons Henry and Joseph, and boarders George Sadler, boat builder, and Richard Hibert, railway porter.
  • Samuel Turner, 74, timber merchant, his daughter Elizabeth, housekeeper, his granddaughter Mary, and their house servant Elizabeth Willets.

1862

In 1862 the mortgage from Thomas Smith was cleared and the title was reconveyed from Richard Fraser Smith to Samuel and Thomas Turner. I believe this gave Thomas the unencumbered moiety of the freehold.

Thomas Turner, Timber Merchant, from 1868

Samuel Turner died in 1868 leaving a estate of under £6000, which passed to his eldest son Thomas. Thomas was born in Stone in 1811. He married Ann and in 1841 they were living in the largest of the Boatyard Cottages on the right end of the terrace. They had no children. Thomas was working as a boatbuilder. In 1851 he was described as a timber merchant and boat builder in a firm employing 34 men.

It seems that by the 1870s the timber merchant’s side of the business dominated Thomas’s work at the boat yard, although boat builders still worked there. In censuses of 1871 and 1881 Thomas and his brother Samuel were described as timber merchants, not boat builders. 

New Buildings

1871 Census

The 1871 census lists all the following residents at the boat yard. By 1871 New Buildings had been built. 

  • George Webster, 27, boat builder, his wife Hannah, and sons William and John.
  • Robert Bradley, 25, boat builder, his wife Mary, son John and daughter Mary.
  • John Allkins, 64, wood turner, his wife Mary, their daughters Caroline, Lucy and Matilda, and Matilda’s husband Peter Hancock, 41, builder.
  • William Jones, 54, gardener, and his wife Mary.
  • Benjamin Brough, 64, carpenter and joiner, widower.
  • James Mansell, 46, sawyer, his wife Hannah, and their children, Isaac, an errand boy, James, Hannah, John and Joseph.
  • Samuel Turner, 52, timber merchant, his wife Ann, their children Mary, Thomas, Ellen, Lucy, and Frederick, and their domestic servant Elizabeth Jackson.
  • James Lowndes, 28, boat builder, his wife Emily, and daughters Emily and Elizabeth.
  • Samuel Large, 33, labourer, his wife Margaret, and sons Samuel, Edward and Thomas.
  • Silas Jackson, 25, boat builder, his wife Elizabeth, and their sons William, Frederick and Reuben.
  • Silas Jackson, 58, sawyer, his wife Elizabeth, their daughters Harriet and Mary Lowndes, and their grandsons Thomas and William Lowndes. 
  • John Lowndes, 41, sawyer, his wife Lucy, their children Alfred, 19, boat builder, John, Louisa and George, and two children, Sarah and George Howe, their lodgers.
  • Two uninhabited cottages.
  • James Snape, 55, boat builder, his sons Henry, boatbuilder, John, labourer, Isaac, clerk, and his younger daughters, Elizabeth and Jane.
  • Richard Bruffell, 25, boat builder, his wife Emma, and their children, Maryann, Thomas and William.
  • James Sutton, 34, gardener, his wife Rebecca, and their children John, George, Mary and Henry.
  • William Laker, 33, labourer, a lodger.
  • Samuel Beard, 19, boat builder, a lodger.

Ordnance Survey Map 1879

The 1879 OS map shows an F shaped footprint in the location of ‘the joinery’. Note that in this 1879 map a set of rectangles was drawn to the east of the boat yard’s dock. I first thought that this was a dry dock area, but I now wonder whether it was the vestiges of the former tan yard or perhaps a timber store. I wonder whether evidence still exists under the lawn?

Ordnance Survey Map 1879

1881 Census

The 1881 census lists all the following residents at the boat yard (in original order – note the Tan Yard properties).

  • Boat yard, John Lowndes, 57, sawyer in wood, his wife Louisa, their sons John and George, both working as clerks.
  • Boat yard, Richard Johnson, 35, sawyer, and his wife Sarah.
  • Boat yard, Martha Hand, 50, laundress, aa widow, and her daughter Adeline, housemaid.
  • Boat yard, Benjamin Brough, 77, joiner, a widower, and his lodger, 16 year old Oliver Ray, railway porter.
  • Boat yard, William Tabbinor, 22, boat builder, and his wife Julia.
  • Ivy House, (not to be confused with Ivy Cottage at the Tan Yard).
     Samuel Turner, 62, timber merchant’s clerk, his wife Ann, and their children, Mary Jane, Thomas, a clerk, Edward, a clerk, Lucy, and Frederick, an apprentice ironmonger.
  • Boat yard, Alfred Lowndes, 29, boat builder, his wife Annie, and their daughters Lavinia, Louise and Edith, and baby son George.
  • Boat yard, Thomas Latham, 81, labourer, his wife Ellen and their children Ann, a domestic servant, and son Thomas, a platelayer.
  • Boat yard, James Snape, 66, boat builder, his wife Hannah and daughter Janette, a domestic servant.
  • Boat yard, Silas Jackson, 36, boat builder, his wife Elizabeth, and their children William, a garden boy, Reuben, Elizabeth, Silas and Leonard.
  • Boat yard, Silas Jackson, 68, sawyer, his wife Elizabeth, and their daughter Elizabeth, a domestic servant, and their grandchildren Thomas Lowndes and Annie Jackson.
  • Boat yard, Francis Clewlow, 51, gardener, and his wife Ann.
  • Tan Yard, Charles Harvey, 55, butcher, and family.
  • Tan Yard, Charles Gould, 63, boat builder, and family.
  • Granville Cottage, Samuel Kirkham, earthenware manufacturer, and his wife Mary.
  • Tan Yard, John Jomes, 40, gamekeeper, and his mother.
  • Tan Yard, Joseph Upton, 37, coachman, and his wife Emily.
  • Boat yard, John Allkins, 72, wood turner, widower, and his daughter Lucy.
  • Boat yard, an uninhabited cottage.
  • Railway Lodge, Joseph Edwards, labourer, his wife and three children.
  • Boat yard, an uninhabited cottage.
  • Boat yard, John O’Mara, 56, spoke cleaver, wheelwright.

1891 Census

The 1891 census lists all the following residents at the boat yard. Here New Buildings are named for the first time.

  • New Buildings, Elizabeth Riley, 60, and two boarders.
  • New Buildings, Robert McLachlan, retired beerseller, and his wife and son.
  • New Buildings, Joseph Hand, grocer’s assistant, and his wife.
  • New Buildings, John Richardson, chemist’s assistant, and his wife.
  • New Buildings, Joseph Winfield, railway signalman, and his wife.
  • New Buildings, Harriet Scarlett, widow living on her own means.
  • Ivy House, boat yard, (not to be confused with Ivy Cottage at the Tan Yard), Thomas Turner senior, boat builder and timber menchant (manager), his brother Edward, mother Ann, and domestic servant Elizabeth Jackson.
  • Boat yard, Thomas Tilsley, 27, groom and coachman, and his wife Rose.
  • Boat yard, John Mannering, 51, domestic gardener, and his wife Elizabeth.
  • Boat yard, Annie Harris, 48, milliner and dressmaker, a widow, and her daughter Annie.
  • Boat yard, Silas Jackson, 78, sawyer, widower, and his grandchildren Thomas and Annie.
  • Boat yard, Silas Jackson, 45, boat builder, his wife Emily, and their children, Silas, a garden boy, and Leonard, and Silas’s three stepchildren, John Picking, a tar poler, George Picking, an errand boy, and Emily Picking, and Reuben Jackson, their indoor domestic servant.
  • Boat yard, Frederick Myatt, 29, railway clerk, and his wife Jeanetta.
  • Boat yard, John Cork, 56, sawyer, his wife Mary Ann and daughter Lucy Ann.
  • Boat yard, Thomas Oram, 72, general labourer, his wife Mary, and their children George, a general labourer, and Charles, a blacksmith.
  • Rose Cottage, Thomas Turner, 80, boat builder, his wife Ann, Sarah Bentley, a domestic servant, and two visiting children, Mabel Dobbs and Lucy Willis.
  • The Plume of Feathers.
  • The Tan Yard, Ann Smith and daughters.
  • Granville Cottage, Samuel Kirkham, wife and servant.
  • Ivy Cottage, Tan Yard, (not to be confused with Ivy House), Charles Harvey, butcher, his wife and children, and a boarder, Joseph Wood.
  • Tan Yard, Richard Johnson, railway platelayer, and his wife.

A new generation 1894-1904

Thomas Turner died at Rose Cottage in 1894. Ann remained at Rose Cottage until her death on 24 March 1904. Thomas had one brother, Samuel, who had been the Timber Merchants Clerk until his death in 1887. Samuel’s sons also worked at the boat yard. Thomas was also a boatbuilder, the third generation of Turner family at the boat yard.

Frederick Beach and Alfred Evans 1895

The following year, September 1895, Thomas Turner (the younger) took out a private mortgage with Frederick Beach and Alfred Evans.

1901 Census

The 1901 census lists all the following residents at the boat yard. (Full details not yet transcribed).

  • Boat yard, Eliza Wood.
  • The Shop.
  • Convalescent Home.
  • Boat yard, Thomas Winfield.
  • Boat yard, Frank Whitehouse.
  • The Duke of York.
  • The Green.
  • High Fields.
  • The Green.
  • Station.
  • Upper House Yard.
  • Canal Boat.
  • Boat yard, Walter Drake.
  • Boat yard, Frederick Reader.
  • Boat yard, Hannah McLachlan.
  • Boat yard, Elizabeth Riley.
  • Boat yard, Thomas Lowndes.
  • Boat yard, Thomas Turner.
  • Orsett House, Charles Bullock.
  • Boat yard, George White.
  • Lea Farm.
  • Boat yard, Reuben Jackson.
  • Boat yard, Charles Oram.
  • Boat yard, John Winfield.
  • Boat yard, Silas Jackson.

Thomas Turner the younger’s Retirement, 1903

The Sale of the boat yard was advertised in the Staffordshire Advertiser on 15th August 1903.

BARLASTON, STAFFORDSHIRE. FOR SALE, a FREEHOLD ESTATE, consisting of good House and Premises, and about 15 Acres of Land, with Boatyard, Shedding, and 15 cottages thereon, situate at Barlaston, near the Staffordshire Potteries, in the county of Stafford, and adjoining the Station and Railway on the one side and the Canal on the other, and having good frontage to the Main Road. Upon the Premises an old established business of a Boat Builder is carried on by the Owner. The Premises are well adapted for any kind of business. and afford an opportunity seldom to be met with. – To View, and for further particulars, apply. HY WALTERS, Solicitor, Stone, Staffs.

Sale of Stock 1904

In September 1904, about 5 months after Ann Turner’s death, Thomas Turner’s retirement sale was advertised in the Staffordshire Advertiser.

BOATYARD, BARLASTON. Staffordshire. MR WALTERS is instructed by Mr Thos Turner (who is retiring from business) to SELL by AUCTION on the PREMISES, on Monday and Tuesday October 10 and 11. — The whole of the BOATBUILDER’S STOCK IN TRADE and Effects. Full particulars in future Advertisements.

In November 1904, a further sale was advertised. (The J was a typographical error).

BOATYARD, BARLASTON, Concluding Sale for Mr J Turner (who is retiring) by Mr Walters, on Thursday November 3, 1904. – Remainder of the Stock in Trade, Steam Engine and Boiler, Machines, Joiners’, Boatbuilders’ and Blacksmiths’ Tools, and General Effects. Particulars in Catalogues. Auction Office, Blythe Bridge.

Thomas Bickley and William Jackson, 1905

In 1905 Thomas Bickley and William Jackson bought the Boat Yard from Frederick Beach and Thomas Turner (the younger). William Jackson’s obituary, published by the Staffordshire Sentinel in January 1922, tells us a great deal about him (see below under The Limes).

In March 1905 the freehold of the property came onto the market. The sales particulars read :

SALES BY AUCTION ; BARLASTON AND STONE, STAFFORDSHIRE, HIGHLY [M…T] SALE of FREEHOLD ESTATE at BARLASTON and POST_OFFICE DWELLING-HOUSE and SHOP at STONE. MR WILLIAM WALTERS will SELL BY AUCTION at the UNICORN HOTEL, STONE, on TUESDAY the 7th day of MARCH, 1905, at 6 o’Clock in the evening. A FREEHOLD ESTATE (in Lots), consisting of a desirable residence with garden, orchard, stable, boat-yards, blacksmith’s and joiner’s shops, boat dock, also 15 Cottages and 4 fields of good old turf land all adjoining and containing in the whole 15 acres or thereabouts and situate and adjoining Barlaston Station and Railway on the one side and the Canal on the other. The excellent DWELLING HOUSE and PREMISES now used as the Head Post Office, situate in the best position in the town of Stone. A large DWELLING HOUSE and SHOP No, 13 in High Street, Stone, and occupied by Mr Lawton. Sale plan of the Barlaston Estate may be inspected at the office of, and further particulars obtained from, Messrs R SCRIVENER and SONS Surveyors, Hanley; or at the office of the Vendor’s Solicitor; and to view and for further particulars as to all the property, apply to HY. WALTERS, Stone, Vendor’s Solicitor.

The results of the sale were published in the press:

STONE PROPERTY SALES,- At the Unicorn Hotel, on Tuesday evening, Mr W Walters offered for sale several lots of valuable property. There was a large company present. Lot 1 consisted of property known as Barlaston Boatyard. It included Ivy Cottage, large orchard, three fields of pasture land, and the boat dock, blacksmith, and other shops, and 9 cottages and gardens. The lot conprised over 8 acres, and was described as well situated for any manufacturing business, being between the railway and canal. Bidding commenced at £1000, and the lot was sold to Mr Bickley for £1,375. Adjoining the last lot, six dwelling houses were offered of the annual rental of £40, and Mr Bickley purchased them at £700.

Ivy Cottage must be Ivy House at the boat yard, not Ivy Cottage at the Tan Yard.

On 7th April 1905 an indenture was duly made by which Frederick Beach the mortgagee (lender) and Thomas Turner (the beneficial owner) conveyed one equal moiety (half) of the freehold boat yard estate to Thomas Bickley and the other Moiety of the freehold estate to William Jackson, a licenced victualler. I believe this must be the same William Jackson who lived at The Limes and whose estate was sold in 1922.

The 1905 conveyance has not susrvived, but a later indenture of 1916 decribed the 1905 conveyance as follows:

All that one undivided moiety or equal part or share of and in Firstly all that messuage or dwelling house with the gardens and appurtenances thereto belonging and situate standing and being at Barlaston in the County of Stafford, formerly in the occupation of John Tomlinson and others afterwards of Samuel Turner then of Thomas Turner and then of the vendor [Thomas Turner junior]. And also all those three pieces or parcels of land formerly part of the close commonly called or known by the name of Pools Meadow and which said three pieces of land were theretofore estimated to contain six acres or thereabouts and were situate lying and being at Barlaston aforesaid adjoining the said messuage or dwellinghouse and premises And also that small plot or piece of land situate at Barlaston aforesaid and containing by admeasurement seven hundred square yards or thereabouts being formerly part of a certain close of land in Barlaston aforesaid called the Croft and which adjoined and was then laid to and became part of the garden belonging to the said dwellinghouse And also all those ten dwellinghouses or tenements (one of which was formerly used as a warehouse) situate at Barlaston aforesaid formerly in the occupation of John Slater and William Slater or their undertenants afterwards of Samuel Turner and Thomas Turner or their undertenants And also the boatyard or timber yard boat port warehouses blacksmiths and joiners shops workshops sheds sawpits and other erections adjoining the said last mentioned dwellinghouses or tenements and formerly in the occupation of Samuel Burgess or his undertenants afterwards of Samuel Turner and Thomas Turner And also all that piece or parcel of land situate at Barlaston aforesaid adjoining to the said boatyard and premises formerly part of the said close called the Pools Meadow theretofore divided therefrom and theretofore estimated to contain one acre more or less formerly in the occupation of Stephen Spouter and afterwards of the said Samuel Turner and Thomas Turner which said ten dwellinghouses tenements yard premises lands and hereditaments were situate on the North side of the Navigation leading from the Trent to the Mersey and all of which premises including the site of the said buildings and stated to contain by admeasurement eight acres two roods and twenty three perches or thereabouts but by a then more recent admeasurement eight acres three roods and thirteen perches or thereabouts And secondly certain lands hereditaments and premises belonging or in anywise appertaining To hold the same Unto and to the use of the said Thomas Bickley in fee simple as therein mentioned.

Note that the estate did not include New Buildings and the land around them and up to Station Road. It is not entirely clear to me whether Thomas Bickley and William Jackson owned that area at the time. I suspect that Jackson did (he lived at The Limes and his estate included New Buildings in 1922) but Bickley didn’t. On the 12th of May 1905 Thomas Bickley made a will in which his daughters Mary Steele Bickley, Emily Steele Stroud, and Isabel Sarah Howe were named as execiutors, trustees, and beneficiaries of his estate. A few months later on 24th August 1905 Thomas Bickley and William Jackson tidied up the plot boundaries by purchasing a further area of land owned by the North Staffordshire Railway Company adjoining the line.

Yard to Let 1906

An advert was placed in the Staffordshire Sentinel on 14th April 1906 as follows:

“BARLASTON Builder’s Yard, Workshops, Engine, and Dock To Let. – S Jackson, Boatyard, Barlaston.”

A further advert was placed in the Staffordshire Sentinel on 23rd November 1906 as follows:

“BARLASTON Builder’s Yard, Workshops, and Boat Dock To Let. – Silas Jackson, Boatyard, Barlaston.”

Boat Yard to Let, 1908

On 15th January 1908, the Staffordshire Sentinel contained an advert for the boat yard:

BUSINESSES AND PREMISES. BOAT Yard, Workshops, and Dock, at Barlaston, To Let. — Apply E Travis, Barlaston.

1909

In 1909 Thomas Bickley added William Stonier Yates as his fourth Trustee. Thomas Bickley died on 8th September 1913.

1911 Census

The 1911 census lists all the following residents at the boat yard. 

  • Boat yard, Reuben Jackson, estate labourer, and his wife Ellen.
  • Boat yard, Richard Johnson, railway plate layer, widower.
  • Boat yard, Eliza Wood, her son, a farm labourer, and grandson.
  • Boat yard, Allen Wilson, 22, road repairing labourer, his wife Edith and daughter Barbara.
  • Boat yard, William Booth, signalman, his wife and children George and Vera.
  • Boat yard, Thomas Snape, police pensioner.
  • Boat yard, Emily Jackson and her boarders Frank Maddocks and George Hounslow, both railway workers. Silas and Leonard Jackson were working away from home in Middlewich.
  • Boat yard, Cyril William Hawkins, signalman, and his wife Harriet.
  • Boat yard, Charles Oram, farm labourer, his wife Jane and son Albert.
  • New Buildings, John Winfield, road labourer, and his wife Elizabeth.
  • New Buildings, William Henry Allen, signalman, and his son Sydney.
  • New Buildings, Annie Elizabeth Whitehouse and her three children.
  • New Buildings, Samuel Sproston, his wife and two sons.
  • New Buildings, David Urmson, his wife and two daughters.
  • New Buildings, Robert Symcox, his wife, two sons, and a visitor.

Julia Alice Brain, from 1916

In 1916 Mary, Emily, Isabel sold their father’s moiety of the property, as described above, and William Jackson sold the other moiety, to Julia Alice Brain. Julia was a spinster, the daughter of Elijah Brain (who died in 1910) and Mary Julia Brain. She had a sister Mary Elizabeth, and a brother William H Brain who was a member of the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and in 1915 he became Commander of No,1 Platoon of the Staffordshire Motor Volunteers in the Potteries, with 160 men and 80 cars under his command. Julia remained unmarried all her life. In 1911 she was living with her mother and sister in Fenton, and working as China Works Clerk, presumably in her late father’s business.

The area sold to Julia was a neat rectangle comprising the Boat House, Boatyard Cottages, the boat yard and its various buildings, two fields to the south of the dock, and all the land to the east of these back as far as the railway line. The sellers hived off a small strip of land marked by two points on the map attached to the conveyance to create a right of way – Boatyard Lane.

1921 Census

The 1921 census is not yet freely accessible, but I have checked all the names from the 1911 census and confirmed the following:

  • Mary Brain, Julia, and Beatrice were at the Boat House.
  • Silas and Emily Jackson were still at the boat yard.
  • Eliza Wood was still in Barlaston, possibly at the boat yard.
  • Allen Wilson was still in Barlaston, possibly at the boat yard.
  • Cyril Hawkins was still in Barlaston, possibly at the boat yard.
  • The Cliffe family were new residents at the boat yard.
  • The Edwards family were new residents at the boat yard.
  • The Matthews family were new residents at the boat yard.
  • Louisa Moss was a new resident at the boat yard.
  • William Allen was still in Barlaston, possibly at New Buildings.
  • Annie Whitehouse was still in Barlaston, possibly at New Buildings.
  • David Urmson was still at New Buildings.
  • Robert Symcox was still at New Buildings.
  • Raymond Foster was a new resident at New Buildings.
  • The Johnson family were new residents at New Buildings.

Julia Alice Brain, continued, 1922

After the death of William Jackson in March 1922,  an auction was held to sell his house, The Limes, which had been built for him in about 1897, the gardener’s cottage at the entrance gate to The Limes, the New Buildings cottages, and a 5½ acre parcel of pasture adjoining Station Road, tenanted by Mr A E Wood. New Buildings were included in Lot 2:

LOT 2. Six well-built COTTAGES, with pleasant Gardens, known New Buildings, Barlaston, in the respective occupations of Messrs. Winfield, Allen, Bates, Johnson, Armson, and Bullock, at annual rental of £68 5s, the landlord paying the water rate. Included in this Lot is a Piece of Land on the north and eastern sides the present boundary, of the width of 30ft, shown on the plan, which will produced the time of Sale, and may previously be inspected at the Offices of the Vendor’s Solicitor. (Mr. Vincent H. Jackson, Hanley).

Julia bought this Lot which included all the land up to Station Road and New Buildings.

Julia’s mother Mary died at The Boat House on 23rd October 1923.

LATE MRS BRAIN, OF BARLASTON. Funeral at Fenton. The funeral of Mrs Brain of Barlaston, widow of Mr Elijah Brain formerly of the firm of Messrs Elijah Brain and Co China Manufacturers, Foley Works, Fenton, took place on Thursday. The interment in Fenton cemetery was preceded by a service at Mount Tabor Chapel, Fenton, with which the deceased lady had been connected all her lite. The officiating ministers were the Rev Cuthbert (resident minister) and the Rev John Fleming (of Zion Chapel, Longton), and feeling reference to Mrs Brain’s life and church work was made. […] Both in the chapel and at the graveside there was large gathering of relatives and friends. The coffin, which was of oak, was borne by six employees from the works. The inscription on the breastplate was: “Mary Julia Brain, born May 20th, 1847, died October 23rd, 1923.’ Mrs Brain, who passed away on Tuesday, left a son and two daughters, who were the chief mourners. There were many beautiful floral tributes, the senders being [a long list followed], all at the Boat Yard, [further names], all at the New Buildings [etc]. The funeral arrangements were satisfactorily carried out by Messrs Challenor and Hughes, of Wesley Street, Fenton.

It seems unlikely that Julia Brain lived at the Boat Yard, or at her mother’s former home, the Boat House. She was living at Halcyon, Tittensor Road, Barlaston, in 1928 and in 1939, when she was still working as a clerk at the china works. Julia Brain retained the boat yard estate for several more years and tenanted out the different parts of the property.

The Hall family, The Boatyard, c. 1926 to 1957

The residents of The Boatyard from about 1926 were the Hall family. They may have begun as tenants, (this remains to be confirmed), but eventally they bought the freehold. Edward Hall, a plumber, was born on 10th December 1884. His wife, Mary, was born exactly a year later on 10th Dec 1885. They married in 1909 and had seven children, Edward 1909–1975, George 1912–2001, Annie 1914–1915, Mary 1916–1958, Albert 1920–1997, Ethel 1924–2001, and Minnie 1927–2018. Edward was a Gunner in the Royal Regiment of Artillery and served in France during WW1, earning the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. 

The family were living in Stone in 1921 when the census was taken. Edward’s grandson Mike has confirmed to me that Edward converted the boat yard’s joinery into a house with the help of his sons, probably between 1926 and 1927, as Edward’s youngest daughter Minnie was born at The Boatyard in 1927. 

An original plan of the Boatyard dated August 18th 1926 shows three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs, whilst downstairs there is a parlour and kitchen (later a lounge) at the front, and the scullery, WC, larder, and coal store accessed from an outside door. According to Guy Barks, the Halls converted the upstairs timber store into four bedrooms, and turned the joiner’s shop downstairs into a sitting room, but this information conflicts with the plan. Guy Barks also said that the dock was filled in about 1926, but according to Mike Hall, the dock may have been filled in before his grandfather converted the property.

In the meantime it sounds as if the last tenant of the yard had recently gone out of business. On 1st October 1927 Heywood and Sons advertised in the Staffordshire Advertiser:

“OCTOBER 5 – BOAT YARD, BARLASTON, WEDNESDAY NEXT, SALE of BUILDERS’ and JOINERS’ TOOLS and MATERIALS, under County Court Execution.”

Sales in 1928 and 1929 tell us of other changes in the boat yard to this time. The Staffordshire Sentinel carried an advert on 15th March 1928.

NINE Cottages For Sale, situated in the Boatyard, Barlaston. – Apply, Brain, Halcyon, Barlaston.

In July 1928 a similar advert appeared.

Nine Cottages situated in the Boat Yard, Barlaston, close to train and bus. Apply J A Brain, Halcyon, Barlaston.

The sale seems to have been unsuccessful and Julia kept the property.

Edward’s daughter Mary won a consolation prize for the Staffordshire Sentinel’s painting contest in 1930.

Hugh Ward Hulme, 1934

In 1934 Julia Brain sold the boat yard and nine (formerly ten) cottages, including the Boat House, to Hugh Ward Hulme. It is possible that she sold the freehold of The Boatyard to Edward’s widow Mary Hall at around that time. Julia died at 10 Diamond Ridge, Barlaston, in 1968.

The 1934 advert for the Boat House read as follows:

BARLASTON: Sale. with Possession, attractive Residence, known as The Boat House; 3 reception, 4 bed, 2 attics, kitchen, larder, tiled [conserv?]atory, garage, electric, old world garden and [?]vns. 3 minutes station, buses; view any time. Apply above. Adj’ning Field & Bldg if desired.

Hugh Ward Hulme was a chemist, and later, from at least 1939, a hotel proprietor at the Red Lion Hotel, Shelton, Stoke on Trent. He was married to Mary Jane Walker. They had at least five children, Dora, Winifred, Hilda, Alfred and Gerald. Their son Gerald Thomas Hulme who was a dairy farmer, still living at the Hotel with his parents in 1939. At some point before 1953 Hugh bought the freehold of part of the boat yard estate. When Hugh died in 1953 (intestate) his son Gerald Thomas Hulme was living at the Boat House, and Edward Hall’s grandson remembered that he kept cows on the field to the rear and right of The Boatyard.

In 1972 his surviving trustees were party to an assent allowing them to divide the proceeds of the remaining portion of the Hulme estate when sold. This 1972 assent references a former cottage, and is the only clear indication which I found to show that a cottage was demolished. Gerald Thomas Hulme died at Boat Yard Farm in 1980, and his widow Freda Hulme died at Boat Yard Farm in 1989.

HULME. At rest on November 14th, Freda (nee Beardmore). of Boat Yard Farm, Barlaston, wife of the late Gerald Thomas Hulme, dearly loved mother of Linda, Roger and the late Gordon. Service in St. John’s Church, Barlaston, on Friday at 11 am, prior to cremation at Stafford Crematorium.

Painting of the Boatyard by a friend of Albert Hall, copyright the Hall family, reproduced with permission

The Halls, continued from 1934

Edward Hall died in Newcastle R S Infirmary in 1930, at the comparatively young age of 46, and was buried in Newcastle Cemetery. Edward Hall’s widow Mary remained at The Boatyard with some of her children after his death. I have been lucky enough to speak to Mike Hall, the grandson of Edward Hall, who remembers enjoying many visits to The Boatyard as a boy in the 1940s and 1950s. Mike and his cousins never knew their grandfather Edward, but have vivid memories of their grandmother Mary and their Aunts and Uncles. 

In 1939 Mike Hall’s father Edward was recently married, an Accountant for a Brewery, Wine & Spirit Merchants, and was living with his in-laws. His Uncle Albert was still at The Boatyard and was working as a plumber like his father. Mike’s Aunt Mary was still at The Boatyard and working as a shop assistant selling wallpaper and paint. In 1943 she married Harold James Morgan. The wedding sounded delightful:

BARLASTON WEDDING. The wedding of Miss Mary Hall, eldest daughter of Mrs Hall, and the late Mr Edward Hall, Boat Yard, Barlaston, and Mr Harold J Morgan, son of Mr and Mrs A Morgan, Forber Road, Trent Vale, took place at Barlaston Parish Church on Saturday, the Rev A Freeman (vicar) officiating, with Mrs Freeman at the organ. Given away by her eldest brother, Mr E Hall, the bride wore a gown of ivory taffeta cut on mediaeval lines, with long embroidered veil and wreath of orange blossom, and carried a bouquet of pink roses. Her two sisters, Miss Ethel Hall and Miss Minnie Hall, had frocks of pink and mauve, coronets of silver leaves, and carried bouquets of mixed rosebuds. Their chain necklaces were the gifts of the bridegroom.

Mike’s Aunt Ethel married Eric Paddison in 1955. Minnie remained at The Boatyard until about 1955, when she also left to live in the Rugeley area. She was the last of her generation when she died at the age of 91 in 2018.

The Boatyard c. 1950s, photographed by Eric Paddison (1928-1978), copyright the Hall family, reproduced with permission.

Mike and his cousins have shared some memories of The Boatyard in the 1940s and 1950s:

I remember going to The Boatyard with my father (Edward). While my dad was busy chopping sticks to light the fires and top up the log pile, I was given the job of operating the wall mounted hand pump to pump water from the well in the back garden up into the storage tank in the loft. 

In the kitchen there was a copper cauldron which was used to heat the water for the regular weekly washdayThe cauldron was beaten from a sheet of copper, probably by Grandfather Edward. It was built into a framework of bricks with a fire opening, and a wooden board cover fitted over it.

We all remember climbing up a vertical ladder fastened to the wall by the front workshop double doors, to get into the loft where Uncle George kept his paint and other things. Uncle George was the plumber and painter and decorator for Barlaston’s villagers.

My cousin George remembers climbing ladders placed over the dividing wall between the front and back workshops used as a short cut to the back workshop, the entrance to which was in the rear garden. George also recalls that the piece of land between the track to Gerald Hulme’s Farm and The Boatyard was used as allotments by some of the residents of the canalside cottages.

My cousin Kay remembers cycling down from the village with her friends to play at The Boatyard in the garden, the workshops and the house. Kay remembers at least three bedrooms upstairs, but George and I can not recall ever going upstairs. We did have a look in our grandmother’s parlour which was on the left of the entrance hall. We rarely went in via the front door, as our entrance was the back door up the side entry. 

[The parlour is now a study. The side entry no longer exists. It was an internal passageway from front to back along the right hand side of the kitchen.]

Kay also remembers playing ice hockey with a stick and a brick on the frozen canal. On one occasion I fell into the canal when I was ‘fishing’, but I didn’t catch anything! 

Mike’s grandmother Mary died in 1962 and was buried with her husband Edward in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Guy Barks at the Boatyard, via the Staffordshire Sentinel 10 Aug 1991

Guy and Molly Barks 1957

In 1957 Guy and Molly Barks bought The Boatyard from the Hall family at auction for £1,500. (Guy Barks stated £1,400 in several articles, but I have seen the solicitor’s bill confirming otherwise). They had not seen inside it. It was empty and old fashioned and yellow goldenrod was growing abundantly at the front of the house. Guy had been fond of boats since before the war, when his canoe held the first ever pleasure boat permit on the Caldon Canal. Guy, helped by Molly, built at least 150 boats, most of which were rowing boats destined for amusement parks like Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park. He was a founder of the Stoke-on-Trent Boat Club in c.1958, and in 1962 he was at the head of the campaign to restore the derelict Caldon Canal. He was also involved in the launch of a canal boat for handicapped children, the Beatrice. He spent 39 years in local government, including 25 years in the treasurer’s department, eight years in the social services department, and finally six years as General Secretary of the Stoke on Trent Council for Voluntary Services until his retirement in 1986, which was reported in the local paper. He had been building his own 39 foot narrowboat over the four years between 1981 and 1986, in preparation for his retirement.

In 1986 Guy was in the paper again for a rather more frivolous reason. He had erected two signs outside The Boatyard to encourage boaters to slow down to reduce wash and avoid collisions with his own recently completed narrowboat. The signs read “SLOW – Beaver Sanctuary” and “SLOW – Coypu Crossing”. The signs were a success, and Guy must have stifled many a chuckle as boaters passed on tickover keeping a careful eye out for the furry fellows.

One of Guy’s most memorable achievements was to take a major part in the campaign by the James Brindley Memorial Fund to erect a statue of Brindley at Etruria. An article in the Staffordshire Sentinel on 30 May 1990 describes its notable 150 mile journey on an 80 year old steam narrowboat, Pacific, up the Thames and through the canal system to Etruria. It was erected on July 20th 1991 and still stands today.

An article in the Staffordshire Sentinel, 10 August 1991, describes Guy and Molly’s time at The Boatyard, and includes four photographs. This article provides evidence of several snippets of history, although some is hearsay:

  • the workshops were converted into a house in 1926
  • the (then) sitting room used to be a joiner’s shop
  • the bedrooms upstairs were converted from a timber store
  • a spur off the canal let to a basin divided into four dry docks (the evidence suggests only two)
  • the dock was filled in about 1926
  • mains water replaced a hand water pump a couple of years before the Barks moved in
  • a big chimney stood in the present front garden over a steam chest, where oak planks were softened and bent into shape
  • canal boats once ‘sailed’ in through arched doorway of the garage (I have found no evidence of this).
Statue of Brindley at Etruria via Roger Kidd, Geograph

Neil and Hellen Ecclestone

The present owners of the Boatyard are Neil and Hellen Ecclestone.

The Boatyard in 2004, copyright Neil Ecclestone

The restoration of the dock in 2002

Photos supplied by Neil Ecclestone.

The Boat Yard Estate, Boatyard Cottages and New Buildings

Below are a number of additional snippets which came to light whilst researching The Boatyard, Some of these were found because the name Boatyard, was often used as a generic address, referring to the whole boat yard estate rather than a specific house.

1851 – a hint of New Buildings

In September 1851 Edward Aston put 3 acres of land up for sale. This was described as adjoining the station and ‘Barlaston Wharf’, and was on the left when proceeding from Barlaston to Tittensor. The description also stated that it might be suitable for building purposes. This sounds very much like the land around New Buildings and ties in well with the previous ownership of the area by John Aston. Note that the only references I have found to ‘Barlaston Wharf’ appear in this advert and later in an advert of 1862, and an article about some missing timber boards in 1864.

New Buildings built 1861-1871

I believe New Buildings were built between 1861 and 1871. No households are listed there in the 1861 census but 6 households precede the manager’s house in the 1871 census.

Robert McLachlan April 1894

This short article in 1894 is the first I have found which mentions New Buildings by name.

Found Drowned. The body of Robert McLachlan. aged 62 years, who had for some time been living retired at New Buildings, Barlaston, was found in the canal at Barlaston yesterday morning. The deceased had been on business the Potteries on Thursday. There is nothing to indicate how he got into the water.

The Boat House c.1905

I believe it was called ‘Ivy Cottage’ in and around 1905.

Boat Yard Cottage to Let, 1908

On 22nd January 1908, just a week after advertising the boat yard to let, the Staffordshire Sentinel reported:

A Small Cottage To Let, Boat Yard, Barlaton; rent 2s 9d per week. — Apply, Elijah Travis, Barlaston.

It appears that the advert was unsuccessful. A similar notice was placed in the Staffordshire Sentinel on 25th April 1908:

BOAT Yard, Barlaston — A Small Cottage To Let; rent 10s. monthly. — Elijah Travis, Barlaston.

William Wood, 1909-1910

The following article appeared in Sep 1909.

A CASE FROM BARLASTON — WiIIiam Wood, an ex-soldier, of the Boatyard, Barlaston, was charged with assaulting John Fox, of the Railway Lodge, Barlaston. Mr G F Paddock prosecuted. According to complainant’s evidence the defendant spoke to him and suggested that if he (complainant) would allow him to hang wires on the Barlaston Hall estate, he might have half the rabbits that were taken, and this, defendant said, would pay him better than what Mr Paddock gave him. He also stated, said complainant, that he was nearly caught at Farrell’s, and further that if complainant would not agree that he would have rabbits in any case. On complainant declining the arrangement, defendant took his jacket off, rushed at him, struck him whilst on top of him, and left him stuck fast in the hedge. — The defendant stated that complainant’s evidence was false. It was the other way about, complainant asking him to share the rabbits. Defendant also asserted that complainant was partly drunk, and both had left the public house together. Complainant, however, said he had not been in the house ten minutes. — The Bench fined defendant 2s 6d, and costs, 11s altogether.

The following article appeared in 1910.

STEALING DUCKS — Arthur Moore, Oulton Road, Stone, and William Wood, of the Boatyard, Barlaston, were charged with stealing eight ducks, the property of A W Bowyer, of Cotwalton. — Arthur W Bowyer stated that on Sunday April 10th he saw the eight ducks on a pool near the house. Their value was 24s. About 6.45 he saw the two prisoners near the brook, about 100 yards away. On his shoulders Wood was carrying something. When witness went to fasten the ducks up he could not find them. Early next morning he went in search of the ducks, and found where they had been killed, and found footprints of a clog and a boot, together with feathers. — Alfred John Preece stated that, at 6.15, he saw the two prisoners on the Peatshill Farm, near the place where the previous witness said the ducks were killed. — PC Parkes, stationed at Hilderstone, said that at 12.30 on the 12th, he saw the prisoner Moore in Edward Street, Stone, when he denied knowing anything about the ducks. Prisoner was taken to the Police Station. His house was then searched. The bag (produced) was found, containing down and feather. The wing and other bones of a duck were found. On being charged with the offence prisoner Moore said: “I met with Wood on Saturday night, on Sunday we went for a walk to Spotgate. We went to Hilderstone and had beer. We came across the fields, saw the ducks on the brook, the dog fetched the ducks off the brook, and we wrung their necks out, Wood and myself. There were seven ducks and a drake. We put them in our jacket, and brought them away. We sold six and shared the money. Two of them were cooked at my home.” The same day Wood was arrested, and, when charged, replied: “I know nothing about the ducks.” He was taken to Stone. and when at the station the statement made by Moore was read out to him, and he made no reply. Later on being formally charged, he said: “I was with Arthur.” Witness added that feathers were found in Wood’s pocket, and the boots and clogs corresponded with the imprints where the ducks were. Prisoners both pleaded guilty, and were sentenced to a month’s imprisonment with hard labour.

Samuel Herbert Johnson 1920

In 1920 Samuel Herbert Johnson of New Buildings, Barlaston, was charged with embezzlement, whilst working as a travelling salesman for Messrs Burrows and Sturges, mineral water manufacturers, Spa Works, Derby. He was charged with embezzling five sums, totalling together £17 6s 4d. He had since been working for the Staffordshire Mineral Water Company.

William Jackson, The Limes, 1922

William Jackson’s obituary, published by the Staffordshire Sentinel in January 1922, tells us a great deal about him (see below under The Limes).

MR WILLIAM JACKSON. Death of Well-known Personality. Mr William Jackson, whose death occurred at his residence, The Limes, Barlaston, on Wednesday, in his 73rd year, was well known throughout North Staffordshire. Ha was essentially a self made man. Indeed, he commenced his business life in a humble capacity, but, by diligence and attention to his duties, he rose by degrees to a position of trust and responsibility in connection with licensed properties in the district. He had held the licence of the Sea Lion Hotel, Hanley, the Grapes Inn, Stoke, and had been managerially and financially concerned in a number of other properties, including the Angel Hotel and the Dolphin, Hanley. Genial and urbane in his conduct with all with whom he came in contact in business and in private life, he was generally held in high esteem. For a long time he was prominent among the officials of the North Staffordshire Licensed Victuallers’ Protection Association, and in his presidential years he was most popular with his brother officials and the rank and file. Mr Jackson was much interested in music, and never lost an opportunity, until recent seasons — when bronchial trouble compelled him to spend the coldest period of the year at the seaside — to attend the principal local concerts. The late Stoke-on-Trent Philharmonic and Hanley Philharmonic Societies had his sympathies and support, and he was identified from the first with the scheme which eventuated in the establishment of the North Staffordshire Triennial Musical Festival. He was a vice-president and a member of the Executive of that organisation. Since those days his love of music had increased, and he made frequent visits to London, in order to hear any exceptional performance in opera, or by an orchestra, or by a star vocalist or instrumentalist. He was a most regular attendant at the greater local entertainments, and gave support and encouragement to all the leading societies with a fine spirit of impartiality. A greatly interested member of the North Staffordshire Field Club, he years ago was regular in attendance at the excursions. Mr Jackson took especial pride in his beautiful home at Barlaston. A great lover of flowers and a keen judge of arboriculture, he spent many hours in his grounds, which he delighted to show his friends. The loss of his wife some years ago had a lasting effect on the deceased gentleman, and to the very last he spoke of her in terms which showed how deeply he felt her removal by death. The funeral will take place at Barlaston Cemetery tomorrow (Saturday) at 2.30. The 1.28 train, Stoke to Birmingham, will stop at Barlaston, for the convenience of those attending the funeral. 

Samuel Edwards, boat yard, and John Fox, New Buildings, 1923

An assualt was briefly reported in the Staffordshire Advertiser in September 1923:

Assault. — Samuel Edwards, Boat Yard. Barlaston, was summoned by John Fox, New Buildings, Barlaston, for assault. Mr T Bagley appeared for complainant. — Defendant was ordered to pay the costs, 10s, with advocate’s fee of £1 1s.

New Sewerage, 1935

In March 1935 a new sewerage scheme was proposed for Barlaston:

Under the scheme it is proposed to construct approximately two miles of sewer. This will commence east of the entrance to Barlaston Hall and proceed by way of the village, along a suggested new road to a point between the canal bridge and the boat yard, where it will go under the canal to Holdcroft’s Corner.

Horse and Pony for Sale July 1937

Two horses, a 16 hands roan gelding vanner, thick set, reliable and used to traffic and town work, and a child’s riding pony, were advertised for sale at Boat Yard Farm in 1937. Unfortunately no owner’s name was given.

Joseph Parker, the boat yard estate, 1938

NEWCASTLE PEDESTRIAN INJURED. A pedestrian named Joseph Parker, Boat-yard. Barlaston, was injured in collision with a car in Clayton-road, Clayton, Newcastle, at 7.40 last evening. The car was being driven by William Alfred Garner, of 10, Temple-street. Basford. Parker sustained head injuries and was taken by Police ambulance to the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary.

Sarah Ann Noble, the boat yard estate, d.1939

Sarah Ann Noble died at ‘The Boatyard’ in 1939. I suspect that this was a generic use of the address.

The Stazaker family, Boatyard Cottages, 1939

The Stazaker family, James, a postman, his wife Esther, and one child (redacted from the Register), were living at Boatyard Cottages in 1939. Their son, James William Stazaker, was a member of the Tittensor Boy Scouts and the Barlaston Home Guard. He volunteered for the RAF in March 1941, and became a Flight-Sergeant. He took part in a large number of raids over Germany. In February 1945, at the age of 23, his plane was hit by a German plane whilst returning from a raid over North-West Germany, and he was declared missing. In November 1945 his parents received a letter from the Air Ministry stating that no further evidence had come to hand, and that he must now be presumed to have lost his life. The Staffordshire Advertiser reported on 10th November 1945:

BARLASTON AIRMAN’S DEATH. Mr and Mrs J. W. Stazaker, The Boatyard, Barlaston, have received a letter from the Air Ministry stating that their only son, Flight Sergt. James W. Stazaker, R.A.F.V.R., officially reported missing in February, must now be presumed to have lost his life. Flight Sergt. Stazaker, whose father has been postman in Barlaston and district for the past 22 years, was aged 23. He volunteered for the R.A.F. in March, 1941, and took part in a great number of raids over Germany. Well known in the district, he was formerly employed at Shelly’s Poultry Farm, Tittensor.

The Staffordshire Sentinel also reported:

In a letter to Mr and Mrs Stazaker, the pilot of the aircraft, who was the only survivor, paid a tribute to the deep respect in which Sergeant Stazaker was held by his fellow members of the crew.

Eighteen months later, in May 1947 James was found to be buried in Woensel Cemetery, Eindhoven, Holland.

Emma Wright, Boat House, d. 1940

WRIGHT. — On March 22nd at the Boat House, Barlaston, Emma, beloved wife of the late Elijah Wright.

Tittensor, The Boat House, 1942

The artist Harry Tittensor, husband of May, died on 19th July 1942. The Staffordshire Advertiser reported his obituary:

DEATH OF LOCAL ARTIST. The death occurred on Sunday at his home, The Boat House, Barlaston, of Mr Harry Tittensor. who was well known as an artist in water-colours both in North Staffordshire and London. He began his career as an industrial designer the Royal Doulton Potteries, Burslem, under the late Mr Charles J Noke, and during his apprenticeship attended the Burslem School of Art, where he was contemporary with a group of promising young artists who have since achieved distinction in London and elsewhere. Mr Tittensor was for many years associated with the Chromo Transfer Company, with whom he gained reputation tor high artistic standards. Some time ago he was honoured being elected member of the Royal Institute of Water-colour Painters, and was regular exhibitor at the annual shows of the Royal Institute, the Royal Academy, and the Society of Staffordshire Artists. His death at a comparatively early age is a distinct loss to the English school of painters in general and to the pottery industry in particular. The funeral look place Barlaston Cemetery on Thursday.

Mrs P Mould, the boat yard estate, 1944

Article in the Staffordshire Sentinel, 23rd November 1944:

Mrs. P. Mould, of the Boatyard, Barlaston, has received a souvenir photograph of her twin son, Private Frederick Mould, and other soldiers who were among the first troops to enter Deurne, near Antwerp. Also on the picture is a soldier named Green from Burslem.

Auction of 1 New Buildings, 1945

Heywood and Son Estate Agents offered 1 New Buildings for auction on 2nd Aug 1945.

LOT 2 – No 1, NEW BUILDINGS, THE BOAT YARD, BARLASTON: A FREEHOLD COTTAGE, occupied by Mr W T Johnson on a service occupation.

John Grocott, Boatyard Cottages, 1947

John Grocott tragically drowned in the canal on 20th Dec 1947. His address was given in the Stafforshire Advertiser as The Boatyard, but in 1939 he lived at Boatyard Cottages.

Drowning Tragedy. — The body of Mr John Grocott whose home is at the Boat-Yard, Canalside, Barlaslon, was recovered from the canal on Saturday afternoon after a neighbour, Miss Florence Buckley, had seen a hat floating on the water. Mr Grocott, who was 82, had spent the morning shopping in Stoke with his wife, returning home shortly before 2.30. He was last seen alive when he left the house shortly before 3 o’clock, to fetch some bread from a nearby shop. The canal is not fenced. A native of Stoke, Mr Grocott was formerly employed as a coach painter on the old North Staffs Railway for 50 years. He retired about 19 years ago, and he and his wife celebrated their golden wedding about 10 years ago.

The verdict on John’s death was published on Christmas Eve – such a sad way for an elderly man to leave his family.

CANAL TRAGEDY. An Open Verdict. A verdict of “Found drowned”, with no evidence to show how he came to be in the water, was recorded by the Deputy Coroner, Mr R S Marshall, at the inquest held at the Plume of Feathers Hotel, Barlaston. on Mr John Grocott, aged 82, of the Boat Yard, Barlaston, whose body was found in the canal near his home on Saturday afternoon. – Dr J H Browne. of Barlaston, who conducted a post-mortem examination, said death was due to asphyxia through being in the water. This may have been preceded by a heart attack. The condition of the deceased’s heart showed he was likely to have suffered from attacks of dizziness. Mr W A Hughes, of the Old Road, Barlaston, said his father-in-law was always bright and cheerful and greatly liked by everybody. He had stumbled and fallen on several occasions lately. The Coroner expressed deep sympathy with the relatives.

Moreton, The Boat House, 1949

Someone named Moreton lived at The Boat House in 1949.

Brown, The Boat House, 1970

Dr. D. E. M. Brown lived at The Boat House in 1970.

Sale of 1 New Buildings, 1975

The estate agents Robert S Heywood advertised 1 New Buildings for sale in 1975.

BARLASTON – 1 NEW BUILDINGS, THE BOAT YARD. End terraced type Country Cottage lending Itself to modernization and fronting the Trent & Mersey Canal. Sitting Room, Living Room, Kitchen, Pantry, 2 Bedrooms, Wash-house/Store Room. W.C., Garden. Key to view available from and offers to be made to the Estate Agents.

Coutoundis, The Boat House, 1976 to present

John Coutoundis has lived at The Boat House since at least 1976 when he was mentioned in the paper for being awarded a PhD in History.