Old Stratford Wharf

We pass along Watling Street almost daily since we live just north of Stony Stratford. I am familiar with the route of the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Junction and the Old Stratford Branch in particular. I often sit at the traffic lights at Old Stratford in queues of traffic thinking of the boats that used to pass under Bridge 2 (the so-called Old Stratford Tunnel) on their way to and from Deanshanger and on to Buckingham. I blogged about the tunnel back in 2015.

It therefore came as a pleasant surprise to see a model narrow boat being constructed just by the lights and close to one of the former local canal wharves. I have been promising to photograph it for some weeks but not had the opportunity - Watling Street is a busy road. However, between Christmas and New Year the roads were relatively quite and the sun was shining so I took the opportunity to take a few snaps.

The impression the wooden model gives is of a very short narrow boat because what might be the traditional back cabin is finished off by a prow which is adorned by the usual bow decoration and a boat name - Falcon which in the days of carrying was the name of a nearby inn.

An unusual road side memorial
Watling Street, Old Stratford (MK19 6AE)

The boat is decorated traditionally with the name of JT Canvin, Coal Merchants who operated at the adjacent wharf. The registration is given as Cosgrove 1928. Canvins were well-known locally. It appears that at the turn of the twentieth century they owned a steam narrowboat Jubilee which, if records are to be believed, was not very sound and appeared to sink in tunnels. It was eventually reported sunk in Old Stratford in 1961.

I think Alan Holloway, who appears to be responsible for this monument, should be congratulated for his enterprise and handicraft. What a good way to commemorate a location's canal history - particularly one that hasn't got a functioning link to our current system.