Thursday, September 22

"Firing into the Brown" #20 - Canals, gundecks, books and stuff..

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update..

The "canal project" that I mentioned back in #14 [clicky]  has at last started (it's been a cracking, long warm, summer and there have been other calls on my time I'm happy to say.. ๐Ÿ˜€) with the start of the section I have an interest in, namely the Chichester end of the inshore route

Map courtesy Chichester Canal History - Chichester Ship Canal

Red marks the navigable route - I need to do some further digging to confirm this, but I already know that the crossing point at the top of Hayling had a swing bridge to allow boat traffic through, and just to the east of the bridge there are the remains of a pier/wharf so I'm fairly comfortable with that part of the route, but the map above indicates that the route would originally also have been north of Thorney, and that warrants some investigation as I have an idea where it might have been.. 

Blue is the Portsmouth end of the navigation which is next on the itinerary

The yellow ring is the following - Salterns Lock - which is the end of the Chichester navigation, and the entry to the tidal harbours...  

Lock basin - following - with the harbour beyond...

These are the lock gates - following - at the Chichester canal end of the basin...  no longer used to my knowledge, but apparently still operational...

Looking up the canal towards Chichester - following - fair to say it's probably changed a fair bit since the days when it was navigable by the big barges...  ๐Ÿ˜€

Loads more of interesting stuff here:

Constructing the Chichester Canal 1818 1822 :: Twog post :: Love Chichester


The summer/retirement was also an opportunity to go walkabout with the grandson one day when his mum was working...  our destination of choice HMS Victory, which is about to enter a massive renovation over the next three or so years...  she was completely covered in scaffolding and plastic the day we went, and we heard while we were there that the renovation was in fact due to start the next day...  I would say that having really enjoyed our day she is long overdue for it, she was looking a little sad and sorry in places, evidence of water ingress, some rot, and paint peeling, but she is still utterly awesome, and still projects a sense of raw power...

Imagine that bearing down on you out of the powder smoke..

Upper/second deck - 24 pdrs

To the immortal memory...

Since the last time I went, ooh years ago, you now also have the opportunity to go down below and see her hull below the waterline...   this was the first stage of the refit, to redo the hull supports so as to better spread the loads, the next two are from down there...

It is believed the rudder is original to Trafalgar



Well worth a read!!


 Laters, as the young people are want to say...


  1. That (map) looks a really interesting route from the Channel to the Thames. Wouldn't it be great if you could do the whole route by boat?

    1. Hiya Nundanket - interesting proposition indeed, I must investigate... for sure most of the Chichester to Hunston section is not navigable end to end - unless you count canoe/kayak!

  2. Thanks for showing the photos of the Victory Steve. I am in Australia so unlikely to get a chance - probably not allowed in ๐Ÿ˜
    I find the canals and their history fascinating - such a big capital cost to create and then relatively quickly replaced by railroads but highly profitable during their time. But obviously a important part of the early industrial revolution. Plus they leave a great built history behind them - unlike today where all that will be left of internet shopping will be at best some soulless tin warehouses.
    The architecture of the past always seems more elegant. Looking at the columns in the gun deck of the Victory. They could have just been square or round posts, whatever was cheapest, but instead they have a pleasing curve and a simple designed top (finial?) Anyway, it seems we have lost our way of building nice things for society. - sorry for the rant and thanks again for posting the pictures of the Victory and the canal.

    1. Thanks Ben - little to disagree with - Portsmouth end of the canal was only operational 3 years despite all that cost!

  3. Always nice to see photos of other folks out and about. I have fond memories of visiting Victory, Warrior and the Mary Rose alongside my father who served in the Royal Navy in WWII.

    1. Ahhh... another matelot's kid, like me - mine was a cold war submariner based in Dolphin... :o)