Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Back on the Trent and Mersey

It was a bitter cold day with no sun, just the biting wind in our faces as we left the Caldon Canal on Wednesday and joined the Trent and Mersey again.  We were heading down the 5 Stoke locks, back into the countryside to Barlaston and the Wedgwood Visitor Centre.

Josiah Wedgwood was one of the first business entrepreneurs to invest in canal building as he saw their potential for the safe transport of his delicate porcelain wares. 

He was born in Burslem to a pottery, or should that be a potting, family.  By the age of 9 he was able to craft the workaday pots that the family business produced.  He began work as an apprentice potter with his older brother, but after suffering from smallpox he had a weakened knee and was unable to work the potters wheel.  So he began to concentrate on designing the pottery and experimenting with different clay mixes and glazes.

He was able to start a business in partnership with Thomas Whielden at the Ivy works, soon moving onto the site he named Etruria before finally building a new complex here at Barlaston.  All these sites have the Trent and Mersey Canal running beside them.  so the industry was changed from small home based family potteries to large factory production, inspiring new design and experimenting with various techniques resulting in 'Jasperware', most famously, and 'Creamware'.

Today we made our way down to Stone,
following nb Sokai down through the locks.
Here the CRT guys are working on a lock repairing the gates. 

They are apparently on schedule to be finished tomorrow, then we shall make a quick dash down to Fradley to get past the next locks for repair starting on Monday.

Walking down into the town this afternoon, we came across nb Emily Anne, a steam powered boat, just a massive chimney showing from the outside, sadly no-one on board so didn't get a view of the engine.

Etruria - Barlaston
6 miles, 6 locks

Barlaston - Stone
3 miles, 4 locks


  1. It's actually the Emily Anne.

    1. OOps! I noticed my mistake as I walked past again this morning. I have edited my error.