Cosy in Coventry

We left Chathiron this morning in blustery weather with sunshine. Unfortunately it also rained and we had hail! Still, compared to yesterday the wind was benign. We made Hawkesbury Junction (Sutton Stop) by lunch and then turned left (west). Yes, for the first time we explored the Coventry Arm. We have passed this way often but always found ourselves pressing on towards our destination. However, we haven't totally neglected Coventry before, having visited the Herbert Gallery and the Canal Basin back in 2010 (not by boat).

James Brindley looking out over Coventry Basin

After turning onto the Coventry Canal we stopped for lunch and then made our way past the Ricoh Stadium and the outskirts of the city. 

Maggie giving Martha some TLC 
(Hawksbury junction)

Ricoh Stadium

New Footbridge

Cash's former factory, Coventry
(now cottages)

I was taken by the former Cash's factory alongside the canal which has been converted into cottages. I think that many of our age will have had Cash's name tapes sewn into their school clothes. 

This area is not unknown to me. Back in 1968, whilst studying for my bachelor's degree I worked for a year as an assistant chemical engineer for Courtaulds whose headquarters were in Coventry. I was based in the research laboratory which was opposite the main factory on the Foleshill Road close to the canal. 

Courtaulds' buildings on the Foleshill Road 
(modern scene from Coventry Message Board)

Courtauld's main building from the canal

 However, before we got to Bridge 3 where the Foleshill Road crosses the canal we passed by a huge empty site that was being redeveloped. Machines were moving earth and test bores were being carried out. It suddenly dawned on me, just after we had gone by, that we were passing the site of Courtaulds Little Heath works. I spent a little time there carrying out some routine measurements for one of the senior staff. It was an acetate production plant and I remember clearly the high solvent concentrations that pervaded its atmosphere. I mentioned this at the time to one of the process workers who said, without irony, what smell son? I presume he and most of those directly involved with the process were desensitised.

We moored up in the delightful basin at the end of the arm.  It is busier than in 2010 and Valley Cruisers are operating from part of it. The only negative of our journey along the arm was the amount of rubbish in the water. I managed not to "get a prop-full" until the last few yards. I winded in front of the statue to Brindley, reversed into our mooring and as I put on power to stop we collected a mix of polythene bags and other debris. Another exciting (?) trip down the weed hatch in cold water.

Coventry Basin
Tonight we are warm and cosy in the basin and we have good satellite reception although tonight's choice leaves much to be desired. Tomorrow I will try and get some pictures of the Little Heath site as we return down the arm and head for Atherstone.