Carrying Coal by Ian H Bruce (2008) Chorus: Carrying coal from High Lane to Bosley Then dropping down through Telford’s lock flight Passing through Congleton, onward to Kidsgrove Hoping for beers in the Blue Bell tonight ’Twas late in the day when construction started The railways were coming doom prophets did say But in only five years the canal was completed And Macclesfield’s goods could then move on their way Limestone from Bugsworth, coal mined near Poynton Twist and silk buttons and cotton from mills Barrels of felt hats destined for London In horse powered barges skirting Derbyshire hills The boom years soon passed and boat cargoes dwindled Overwhelmed by the railway, the power of steam Pleasure boats briefly took tourists to Lyme Hall But the silver strewn highway was a vanishing dream The route struggled on for over a century When closure was planned many expressed concern But some valiant efforts by keen leisure cruisers Saw closure abandoned, pleasure boating return Fibreglass followed the wooden hulled cruisers Now the steel narrow-boats need fuels to be burned ‘Coalite’ for cabin stove, diesel for engine So the travelling coal boats have now returned This song is a potted history of the Macclesfield Canal which was one of the last canals to be built. The Macclesfield Canal ceased to carry commercial traffic in the 1960's. Through the efforts of members of the North Cheshire Cruising Club and the IWA it was not allowed to die. The web-site of the Macclesfield Canal Society is a useful source of historical information. The original chorus referred to the 'Red Bull' but a more knowledgeable boater than myself pointed out that the 'Blue Bell', at the junction of the Macclesfield and Trent and Mersey canals, was the favoured boaters' pub. The chorus was changed. Recorded on :
Coalboat ‘Alton’, based at Bollington Wharf, keeps up the tradition of carrying coal.
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