Personal tragedy : Canal/towpath

One cold frosty morning in the mid nineteen sixties, just a few hundred yards further on along the towpath from Riley’s Lock there occurred an extremely sad incident. 

What happened was that there was a pipe line been laid under the towpath and canal. A crane was on site to handle the lifting of the heavy lengths of pipe.  The crane driver was having a difficult job starting the crane after it having been sitting out all night in the cold.  The unfortunate crane driver resorted to using copious amounts of Easy-Start in an attempt to coax his cold, stubborn engine to life.  The result of the overuse of this volatile ether-based aerosol was that the engine exploded, killing the luckless driver.


The next lock along the canal was known to us as Fearon’s Lock.  Old Mr Fearon and his wife lived here. Mr Fearon was married twice; his first wife died a few years after a very sad occurrence in the Fearon household.


The Fearons had a daughter called Brigitte.  Brigitte was a young married girl in her twenties and was expecting a baby.  One St Patrick’s Day Brigitte went on a visit to her Mother and Father and during the course of that visit the young woman decided to help her Mother with a few simple chores about the house.  Brigitte left the cottage to draw some water from the canal to mop the floor of an old outbuilding.


As her daughter appeared to be taking a long time performing her allotted task, Mrs Fearon was getting a bit concerned, so she went to look for her. The reason for the girl’s lengthily absence became clear when Mrs Fearon discovered her daughter floating face-down in the canal; the unfortunate girl had fallen into the lock and drowned. 


Mrs Fearon herself was to die a short time after this sad event.  Mr Fearon himself was later to remarry.


The second Mrs Fearon I can remember quite well. She had a very pronounced nasal sound to her voice (she talked through her nose) and she appeared always to wear large green Wellington boots. This lady, although small in stature was quite fierce and as kids we were always afraid of her.


… towpath: snipe …

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