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Any one remember this ?

Latchford Locks

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This may have been forgotten now by most folk but I remember how it was major national news and closed the canal for many weeks.

From Pomona Docks she travelled far,
To the dredger at the Mersey Bar.
The building trade had need of sand
So they scooped it up to take to land.

In the spring of 1961
She set of on her fatal run,
Her cargo, gravel, richly laced
With slightly sea- washed human waste.

With Ellesmere Port and Runcorn clear
The gallant sailors knew no fear,
The happy thought in each man's mind
Of the loved ones they had left behind.

But as she came to Stockton Heath
The Mary Cooper came to grief.
Another ship approaching fast,
In the narrow channel they must pass.

When the SS Foamville came in view,
The helmsman wondered what to do-
Green to green, or red to red?
He could never quite get it in his head.

The vessels met with mighty force
But the Mary Cooper came off worse,
With a hole ripped through her port bow side
She sank beneath the foaming tide.

When he felt the mighty blow
The captain hastened down below.
Was there a seaman e'er so brave?
He saved their whisky from a watery grave.

In the water they must surely die
But a copper who was passing by
Threw a lifebelt in the roaring waves
So the shipwrecked sailors were all saved.

They quickly hauled them to the shore
And helped them through an alehouse door-
A fate that sailors dread and fear,
For the pub served Greenall Whitley beer.

She blocked the cut for many a day
So they had to get her out of the way,
Though cranes and divers got her raised
The hole meant she could not be saved.

The graveyard of this gallant ship
Was a Warrington Council rubbish tip
Interred in bottles, rags and bones
She sleeps as sound as Davy Jones.

But at dead of night by Stockton Heath
When the gale blows pigeons in your teeth
And the dogmuck's washed by the driving rain
The Mary P Cooper sails again.


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When all three lights I see ahead,
I turn to Starboard and show my Red:
Green to Green, Red to Red,
Perfect Safety -- Go Ahead.

But if to Starboard Red appear,
It is my duty to keep clear --
To act as judgment says is proper:
To Port or Starboard, Back or Stop her.

And if upon my Port is seen
A Steamer's Starboard light of Green,
I hold my course and watch to see
That Green to Port keeps Clear of me.

Both in safety and in doubt
Always keep a good look out.
In Danger, with no room to turn,
Ease her, Stop her, Go Astern.

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Nearly as bad as when I had my car nicked once and they tried to dump it into the ship canal. It ended up hanging vertically from a tree with the headlights just touching the surface. It was declared a hazard to shipping and floating buoys were put in place until they could arrange for a floating crane from Manchester to come and remove it. 

I don’t know the cost to the insurance company, but I’d bet it wasn’t cheap.


Bill 😊

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