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Crick Wharf

Historical Profiles: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2020

Kerry Dainty

Kerry Dainty explores the history of the Leicester Line location, and uncovers a fascinating insight into the life of wharfingers

On 9th August 1814, three boats and their boatmen were sat waiting at Crick Wharf. A rather harassed clerk had overseen the lead boat being festooned with flags and flowers, and watched a band carefully wedging themselves at the bow, before drumming it into the boatmen to be seen and not heard. The newspapers describe the passengers of the lead boat as “a large assemblage of beauty and fashion” while the others were merely said to be carrying “such ladies and gentlemen who chose to be of the party”. But it is safe to assume that all those aboard were politely bred enough to carefully ignore the fact that they were joining the opening journey of the Grand Union Canal at what was, in essence, a building site. Crick Tunnel itself was something of a sore point, having cost an extra £7,000 to get it re-routed, and despite all the extra work, it still passed under quicksand and a number of streams. In consequence, the roof leaked like a sieve (and still does.)…

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