Traditional skills on the Montgomery Canal

Traditional skills are bringing a tramway wharf back to life on the Montgomery Canal.

In a world stuffed with technology it’s great to see that traditional skills and methods are still being used to great effect and this is true at Grinshill Stone Quarry where masons are dressing large coping stones to replace broken ones at Crickheath Wharf, on the Montgomery canal, just south of Oswestry.

Tom Fulda, project manager at the Shropshire Union Canal Society, which is restoring the canal said: “The generous grant from the Association of Industrial Archaeology (AIA) has funded over 30 metres of sandstone coping stones which will form the top layer of the wharf wall, and these come in various lengths, usually around 1.2 metres or 4ft, as they would have been measured originally.

We’ll end up with about 40 to 45 stones in total and these, when a little weathered, will match the stones we have managed to save. It was fascinating to see the stone being cut with the mill saw and watch the stonemason dressing each stone. We hope to start fitting the stones later this year or early next when the main body of the stone wharf has been relayed. It’s so refreshing to see traditional skills and methods still being used.”

Of course, the wharf wall is not the only work going on at Crickheath as the towpath is being brought to a standard that the bargees of old could only have dreamed of. There is also work on the channel, the wash wall, and the hedgerows – busy, busy, busy!

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