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Thelwall Penny Ferry.


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We were up in Warrington this weekend again and took the opportunity to ride on the Thelwall Ferry.

 

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Ferryman. Looking at some of the older pictures, I can see the design of the ferry (ie a single oar) hasn't changed. Wonder why they don't row the traditional way?

 

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My youngest halfway across.

 

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View from the Woolston side looking over to Thelwall. 

 

We had a really nice day, walked from Weir Lane, across the Mersey on the footbridge (seeing the leaping salmon in the Weir along the way) through the nature reserve, ferry across to Thelwall where we had lunch in the Pickering Arms and then back the same way - highly recommended. 

 

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Tracey, the method of propelling a boat by using one oar at the stern of the boat is called 'sculling' it enables the boat to be propelled by one person standing in the rear of the boat and leaves more room for passengers, also less energy is used by this method against two oars used amidship's, the oar is moved side to side while rotating it with the wrist the action acts almost the same as a propellor. I wasn't aware that they now use an aluminium boat it always used to be a wooden rowing boat!.

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Lovely pics Tracey (and Algy) and I didn't even know that the Penny Ferry still ran :oops:   Does it still cost a penny ?

 

Surprised to see that you don't have to wear lifejackets though due to H&S as the canal is very deep and sometimes quite fast flowing near where I am.   

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Yes, I've had those photos off you before Algy! What strikes me now is how clear the banks were then, whereas now there are loads of trees/undergrowth etc. It's also interesting to see the person with a bike too, there were loads of cyclists around last week and I've seen the Ferry mentioned on a lot of cycling websites as a way of getting bikes across the Canal. 

 

I found this BBC link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/domesday/dblock/GB-364000-387000/page/17 which describes it as the 'small' ferry, a term I hadn't heard before. I guess it refers to the rowing boat rather than the pontoon thing that the horses went on. 

 

By the way Dizz, it was 22p each return! It was a nice day out, we only did a short walk as the kids are quite young but it could easily be longer with the paths on the nature reserve, Paddington Meadows etc. 

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Made the same walk with mom and dad many times around 1946, starting from Gig Lane, usually on a warm summer's eve.  Used the same boat shown in Algy's photos.  There were no salmon at the weir and the smell was definitely unusual.   Had my first taste of 'shandy' lying on the grass in front of the Pickering Arms.   Used the same ferry with my bike a few years later, I think it was twopence each way.  Thanks for the memory.

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Really Stallard? I'll have to tell my kids we're not the first to do it! I hadn't really realised before how close Woolston and Thelwall actually are (bit dim of me really) I always think of Thelwall as being miles away because the road journey's so long, it's funny to think of the Pickering Arms as being walking distance from  Woolston. 

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Tracey, I will chance repeating myself, the existing ferry was made as a substitute to replace the original one that existed behind the Old Hall in Ferry lane that you would have passed when you walked or drove down Ferry Lane, it was a right of way and used to cross the River at Thelwall. When the MSC was built the 'new' Penny Ferry as we know it replaced the original. (two maps below). I'm sure we have gone down this track before and your probably well aware of this information!, I think I put the maps on for Stallard a while back, however no harm done.

 

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Funnily enough I was trawling through a load of stuff about the Ferry online just yesterday. My 5x Great Grandfather lived in Thelwall and was there on the 1841/51 Census, I trawled through both Censuses to see if I could find the name of the ferryman at the time but there was no-one specifically listed as a ferryman. I guess it must have been one of the occupiers of the nearby buildings on the Tithe map but, again, hard to be specific about which one.

 

My latest thing is the Gunpowder Mill. My ancestor worked there in 1844, there doesn't seem to be a great deal of information about it out there (compared to other powder mills anyway) I wonder if there's any trace of the buildings on the ground but the area where it was isn't accessible to the public any more. I'd always imagined lots of labourers working in the Mill but yesterday I read that around 1790 ish just one man operated the whole Mill. It makes me wonder whether William Bennett was the only person working there but a lot can change in 50 years so who knows. 

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Well, where the river bend is shown in your diagram it looks like the canal has cut straight through the river course ...i know in certain parts the Mersey & MSC  actually use the same water channel . I am assuming the bend would then become silted up at the ends & form a lake unless it was kept dredged.

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Now I understand!. The loop or eye at Thelwall was the only bend that was affected by the canal cutting through the river, a cutting was made to the north of the canal to join the river back up again then the spoil from the canal filled in the remaining section of the river east of Ferry Lane, after the water had been dained away, of course.

 

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