Memories of Fazeley, written by Joseph T. Hunter in August 2008 when he was 88 years old.

Fazeley Wharfs

I once read that other than visualising the water power to drive his proposed cotton mills, Parsley Peel was impressed by the number of wharfs and cranes in the village of Fazeley alongside the newly opened canals and induced him to build his mills here.

Yes, there were four in Lichfield Street, starting from the village centre with the timber wharf. Behind the Navigation Inn opposite the Methodist Church, Samuel Barlow unloaded his coal barges, this being the most recent one used in my time.

A few yards past the Three Tuns near to where my mother's family were born, there was a large warehouse for manufactured goods and a crane. A little further up the road, next to the Laurels and opposite where I live was a large wharf, crane and workshops for canal workers and near the road, an office and weighbridge and two entrances, in and out, where the coal laden horse and carts would be weighed.

In 1986 we had a heatwave summer and drought and the level of water in the canal was so low that the narrow boats could not move. One lunchtime, large conveyances arrived at the wharf, lifted a narrow boat out of the canal onto a truck and took it to the Thames at Bablockhythe, one mile from the bomber aerodrome where I was stationed and two miles from where my wife lived. What a coincidence. A journey by canal via Coventry, Banbury and Oxford to the Thames takes one week.

Years ago after the showing on the BBC of a children's serial called The Railway Children, BBC cameras arrived at Fazeley Junction, along with children and adults to film what was to be a Victorian serial called The Canal Children, but I don't think it was ever shown to the public. The only excitement and panic that day was when one of the cast, a young girl, fell into the canal, at the junction the canal was very deep.

Just off the junction near the Methodist Chapel a horse pulling a boat once fell in the canal and despite all the exertions by boatees and the public, the poor animal expired.