Don’t tell me mum!

I think I see the light - local kids have probably been scaring the life out of each other in their drain for years.

In response to my drain adventure at Chasewater on Sunday, I had a very interesting email yesterday…

Hi Bob

Might be best if you don’t mention my name, my mom might be reading… 🙂

When I was a young bad lad we used to go down the tunnels by Chasewater, there are actually two chambers from what I can remember, the larger one just under the canal and a smaller one towards the far end of the tunnel, by the new road. There used to be a manhole cover just above the smaller chamber and there was a ladder and came up in the heath land.

I’m not sure where this cover would be now as the landscape has changed so much with the building of the new road.

We used to access the tunnel via the route you took or under what we called ‘the grids’ , the canal over flow on the opposite side, a real challenge to access the tunnels without getting wet.

The thing that you may be really interested in is that there was a story that the old mines could be accessed from the tunnels, there was supposed to be a drain cover within the one chambers that lead down to the mines. May well have been few over imaginative young minds, but I’ve always wondered if it was true.

The new tunnels were built in the mid-late 1980’s, I guess following the canal breach near the Anchor Bridge.

Really would be interested to know more about this incident, was just a vague memory of the canal bank bursting just north of the anchor and flooding large area of farmland.

Hi there! I do remember the canal bursting at Lane’s Farm, just where the Sandhills Arm would have been. We’ve speculated in the past, and [Howmuch?] reckons the bank gave way because of a weakness in the cutting off of the disused, dry arm. However, your suggestion that the work at Chasewater’s spillway to install new storm drains was actually at that time suggests it may have been caused by storm loading on the canal. Interesting.

Does anyone have a date for this event? If so, we can probably find news reports. I’m thinking about 1981. Winter, maybe January or February. All contributions welcome.

I think it’s unlikely that the mines were accessible from the storm drain – any such hatch would create a weakness in the system, and the history doesn’t really support this. More on that in a subsequent post. Stay tuned…

David Hodgkinson actually has a picture of the repair work on his site, which I’ve copied. I’m hoping, if he’s reading this, he can possibly scan a larger version for us.

Canal repair work near Lane's Farm in the early 80's. Picture by David Hodgkinson.

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3 Responses to Don’t tell me mum!

  1. warren parry says:

    Bob, believe it or not, i was the one who called the police to tell them the canal had gone! i was 14 at the time and due to sit my mock exams, i think it was in June/July.I had broke my leg playing rugby at school and was off with a plaster up to my thigh. My friend came around to take me fishing, we were to get through a gap in the boards at the bottom of the garages in Fullelove road. as i approached the canal, i noticed the water was about 3ft down and a great sucking noise was coming from behind Millfield school. being boys we approached the hole in the bank, it was about 6ft wide and a black chasm. the water was flying down it at a rate of knots and frightened us. we rushed back to my house and told my parents. my mom called the police and put me on the phone to them. i explained what happened and within minutes sirens were going and the police turned up in the garages. within not much time there was a jcb filling the lock at the back of Baily house, and the rest is history. if i remember correctly there was a hole appeared in the school playing field and another couple in the bank on the fields side of the canal. If i were to put a month on it i would say late June, possibly early July.

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