Wednesday, 27 April 2011
I'm always learning something new as I look out for interesting subjects for this blog. I've passed these cottages daily for several years, as they're very close to where I work. They are right on the canalside (I was standing on the towpath to take this photo) but I hadn't known until I visited the exhibition on the Kennet (see yesterday) that at one time some of these properties were lived in by boatmen who worked on the canal. The working boats' trips were short enough that the boatmen didn't need to live permanently on board, so they and their families tended to live beside the canal, many of them in places like Burscough in Lancashire.
The three oldest cottages here date back to 1796 and were originally two homes with a textile workshop attached. Wool would have been loaded in directly from the canalside through a door on the gable-end, now blocked up. Other buildings were added in the mid-19th century. Before Saltaire was built the buildings would have been quite isolated in a rural setting. Salts Mill is about a quarter of a mile up the canal.
One of the cottages is currently for sale but the estate agent's details don't tell you how old and historic the property is (it is Grade II listed) ... and nor does it mention some other important details about the site....