Across the road from ‘the pipe’ was Chivers Factory (the Jam Factory), nowadays called the
It was the sort of place that I would have loved to explore, but we would have got short shift from the men who worked there if we had attempted to venture in through the front gates. Even in the evening time, after work for the day had finished, we still didn’t dare explore the wonders of the Jam Factory for fear of the night watchman.
Scott’s big house was beside the Jam Factory. There was a large orchard to the rear of this house. At certain times of the year we used to try and relieve the good people who lived there of their surplus apples. They were not amused by this and usually resorted to putting the dog after us.
This point on the canal side is officially the end of Canal Quay and becomes the beginning of the towpath. As we travel onwards and around a left hand bend on the towpath we come to the first of the thirteen locks on the inland canal (Not counting Victoria Lock on the ship canal).
This first lock was known to us as Riley’s Lock. Mr. and Mrs. Riley lived here; they had two sons Tommy (who later reared a family in The Meadow) and Pete. Mr Riley was the lockkeeper here in the days when the canal was in commercial use. They had a pretty little side garden bounded by a picket fence. Mrs Riley also had a hen house in this garden and there were always hens wandering around somewhere or other.
Behind the lockkeepers cottage was Brady’s Field. We used to play in this field; strangely enough it was one place that was not classed as out-of-bounds to us.
‘Mum we’re going down to Brady’s field to play.’
‘Ok but mind you stay away from the canal!
And I’ll skin you alive if I hear that you’ve been near that pipe.’
… personal tragedy …