The boat people at Norton Pool… But who, and when?


This photo is believed to have been taken at Norton Pool – Chaswater – in the early part of last century and features men believed to be boaters. Do you know anything about it? Image from the Andy Matthews collection.

It’s always nice to get a bit of new Chasewater history to share with you readers and this curious image from friend of the blog and canal historian Andy Matthews is no exception.

Believed to have been taken in the early part of last century at ‘Norton Pools’, it shows what is believed to be a group of boat operators, who are named on the back of the photo.

Andy said:

Hiya Bob,

I wondered if you could do anything with this image, its of my great uncle I think, possibly great grandad.

Its a group of workers off the boats, taken at Norton pools. I have no other information on why it was taken but Ive included the back of the photo as well where the people are named and its dated 1929. ‘Myself’ is probably named … Foster, no idea of first name to be honest.

Underneath the penned names is some pencil writing which gives the location, looking at it again Im not convinced by the date and it could possibly date to just pre-war with the first person being my granddad.

Not a lot of help! I thought maybe families of some of the others in the pic might have more info on why, when and whatever.


It would be really great if we could firm up the detail or even cast new light on this curious photo. Thanks to Andy for a wonderful bit of history – I know Andy has been amassing lots of local canal material for years and is very knowledgable on the matter of local waterways , their traffic and industrial history.

If you can help, please do: comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers all.


The back of the same photo. Ring any bells? Image kindly supplied by Andy Matthews.

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16 Responses to The boat people at Norton Pool… But who, and when?

  1. frederick b lycett says:

    Not sure, but searching the back of my mind, there is a chance this was a group of BCN employees (company men) certainly Smith, Lindop, Hinton, and Highway are old BCN names, the old wharf at the A5 bridge was always known as ” Harry Highway’s), 2 houses now stand on the site, BW,/ canal River Trust sold them and more recently the remaining strip of land, Till and Holt, I think may have been carpenters or brick layers……

    • Hi Fred, it is certainly possible they are BCN workers, I have sent Bob clearer scans of the images and can confirm the date is 1928. I have other images of BCN crews at Sneyd and one somewhere from Bradley but I cant lay my hands on that last one right now. Think the Foster may be Horace or William ‘Bill’ Foster but possibly an Uncle on the Bates side. Another of the brothers worked for Keays and was known as ‘Half Pint’ aka Tom Foster.
      Are you THE F B Lycett? Lynx Lyra Byfield Bilster Angel Hampstead and mersey weaver Avon?

      • frederick b lycett says:

        The answer to your question is yes, and Monarch after Roland Wood and a lot of activities involving Leonard Leigh, earlier Wulfruna and my father was with Ernie T at various times 1930’s/40’s, Knighton, Bournville, Birchley rolling mills and many other larks

  2. morturn says:

    Why has the image got that big watermark across it?

    • Because it was prepared for use by Andy ‘AAM’ and he’s probably as sick as the rest of us with uncredited image theft.

      He has promised an uneatermarked version


  3. David Evans says:

    Cheers, Andy….and I share The view expressed in Bob’s comment
    is this part of the canal near Yates boatyard
    Kind regards

  4. marion smith says:

    My late fathers brother was Harry Heighway who lived on the canal side On the A 5 and i believe he was a water bailiff for the then Norton pool

  5. John Anslow says:

    On the 1939 Register, a Henry M. Heighway (b. 1895) is shown living at Canal Cottage, 249 Watling Street. He is listed as a Canal Reservoir Attendant. Nearby is Knaves Castle Place and The Queen’s Head Inn.

  6. Pedro says:

    July 1921…

    The Birmingham Canal Company’s reservoir at Norton Canes, which is usually considered to have a circumference of seven miles, has shrunk, in consequence of the exceedingly dry weather of recent months, to smaller dimensions than has been known for very many years. In places the water has receded from the shore for a distance of nearly half a mile, and large areas of ground are exposed that was previously many feet beneath the surface of the water.

  7. Mrs kb evans. (Heighway)single name) says:

    My father’s brother was Harry Heighway.and I can remember visiting him when he lived on the side of the canal just off the A5 in a bungalow. And remember him telling me that he looked after the canal.

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