THE CANAL BENEATH OUR FEET (5): NEW LIFE IN THE OLD DEPOT:7.3.17
All the left over bags from the Old Depot’s previous life are stored on top of what will be the route of the new towpath. The quicker they are moved, the better for us and the contractors. We had the men, we had the muscle and and we had the wheelbarrows, so we began, in chain gang fashion, to ship the bags to the other side of the depot. This will be the new off-side of the canal. We took the opportunity to sort the identical bags by their three different contents, namely sand, chippings and gravel. This will make it easier when it comes to re-using the materials in the reconstruction.
This view, taken looking upstream, of the depot site later that day ,shows all the white bags in the walled bays on the far left. Those not involved in the bag chain had, at the same time, cleared the many years’ growth of buddleia from the walls
and tarmac as can be clearly seen in the picture.
In the afternoon we were joined by Mike and Kelvin (right) from Mitratech, IT technical consultants, in Swansea. Helping out in the community is part of Mitratech’s policy, so we were pleased that they chose us to assist. They barrowed, not bags, but the heaps of local blue pennant sandstone also left in the yard over the route ofhe towpath. They were moved to other bays near the chippings and sand. We hope to see Mike and Kelvin working with us again.
Meanwhile, Gordon and Michelle were establishing the complete footprint of the buried lock in the depot. We consulted our Heritage Consultant, Clive Reed, to get the lock’s exact length and, using the visible remains of the top of the lock, measured the necessary distance downstream. In the picture, Gordon has spray painted the outline of the farthest point of the two walls of the lock. About a third of the height of the lock chamber was removed when it was buried in 1973. Gordon is standing between the lock and the towpath. Obviously, the building behind Gordon will be removed and this can only be done safely once all the utilities are isolated. This was completed today when two men from British Gas arrived to remove and disconnect two final gas meters.