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Architecture

Census

Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

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History

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Transportation

War Memorials

CONTINUED FROM THE PREVIOUS PAGE

 

 

A brick-built clay cellar

A brick-built clay cellar at the old basin

© Richard Harris

 

The new canal facilitated the movement of increased amounts of clay to the port of Teignmouth. Before the construction of the canal the volume of clay shipped through Teignmouth was approximately 20,000 tons per annum. Within just over twenty years of the canal’s construction the volume of clay exports more than doubled.

 

Henry Joslin

Henry Joslin

Henry worked on the Canal. His wife, Jane Scott, came from another family associated with the clay industry.

© Sue Walker, a descendant of Henry Joslin

 

The lighters that carried the clay on the Hackney Canal had black painted bulwarks (in contrast to the white bulwarks of the lighters of Watts Blake Bearne and green bulwarks of Devon & Courtenay) and were crewed by two men. The vessels had to be poled along the canal to the estuary where a sail could be raised for the remainder of the journey to Teignmouth. The work of the lightermen was extremely hard, shifting loads of some thirty tons without the aid of towing horses. Some journeys had to be made at night if the state of the tide demanded it, which added to the hazards of the job. The work was usually passed from father to son and they acquired a reputation for toughness and hard drinking. Some were known to give precedence to refilling their cider jars at the Passage House over the need to meet a high tide at Teignmouth. On the journey down the estuary it was not unknown for fights to break out amongst the crewmen who were worse for wear from the demon drink. An example of this wayward behaviour was reported in the local press on June 10th 1910 when, following a fight on board a barge, one lighterman ended up in hospital in Teignmouth with a broken leg whilst the other was immediately taken into police custody after being hauled from the water.

 

Motor transport led to a decline in canal traffic and eventually replaced the canal as a means of transport.  It closed to clay traffic in 1928 but documentation shows that barges of sand were still taken to the Newton Road terminus by the Clifford Estate as late as 1931. Some older villagers remember childhood summers spent hitching a ride on a lighter from the Newton Road basin to Teignmouth.

 

Clay Cellars either side of the filled-in basin - looking west

Clay cellars either side of the filled-in basin - looking west

© Richard Harris

 

The Hackney Canal can boast to have witnessed the only clay barge to be crewed by the Royal Navy. One evening a canal foreman found he was short of a crew and went to the Kingsteignton Liberal Club looking for volunteers to take a lighter down to Teignmouth. Two sailors, resplendent in their uniforms on the last night of their home leave, readily agreed reasoning that sailing a clay lighter would be easy compared to a battleship. They duly accomplished the task of delivering the clay to Teignmouth but had not reckoned with the need to transfer the clay on to the awaiting ship. Their navy blue uniforms quickly acquired a white hue, which had to be removed by the time they got back to port the following day!

 

Old clay cellar at Hackney Quay

An old clay cellar at the Hackney Quay

© Richard Harris

 

CONTINUED

 

The contents of this page with the exception of Henry Joslin's photo are the copyright property of Richard Harris.

 

 
 
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