Lock on the River Avon, Fladbury

Recent Photograph of Lock on the River Avon (Fladbury)

“There was a mill at Fladbury at the time of the earliest record which could be expected to mention it, the so-called ‘Domesday Survey’. We may surmise that a mill and weir of some sort had existed almost as long as Fladbury itself; even the most primitive peoples rapidly discover how to harness water to grind the corn for their daily bread, and the Anglo-Saxons had a certain degree of civilisation”.[1]

This photograph is taken from the side of the lock, provided for the passage of river traffic past the weir. The surge of water from the weir is awesome, and truly terrifying for the novice narrow-boat sailors, in spite of the apparently calm waters in the lock.

Today's “narrow boats” are the successors of yesterday's “fly boats” - a regular means of navigation for both goods, and passenger traffic before the arrival of the railways, even as late as the First World War. As can be seen by dipping into early 19th century directories for areas near to waterways, they ran regular services, even ‘24/7’. They must have been quite remarkable in operation, worked by four-man crews, and changing horses on the move.[1]

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

[1] Quote from Fladbury and its Mills and the Lower Avon Navigation, privately printed at THE KYNOCK PRESS, Witton, Birmingham, MCMXLIX (1949): “The Early History of Fladbury and The Mills”.
[2] For more information see Shropshire Union Fly-boat Preservation Society website.

Image contributed by Rosemary Lockie on 2nd September 2005.
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