The Glamorganshire Canal by Mike Johnson From the Cynon valley mines to the Cardiff City line rolled the old Glamorganshire Canal; Where the pack horse used to load now the iron barges flowed down the old Glamorganshire Canal Chorus : And it rolled, and it flowed, down the old Glamorganshire Canal And it rolled, and it flowed, down the old Glamorganshire Canal Then the iron was no more, and the coal began to pour down the old Glamorganshire Canal; Moving down through fifty locks, destination Cardiff Docks on the old Glamorganshire Canal Chorus Tail to tail the barges filed five and twenty dusty miles down the old Glamorganshire Canal; Then Brunel surveyed the line, and effectively called time on the old Glamorganshire Canal Chorus 1841's the year, and the railway tracks appeared near the old Glamorganshire Canal; And the trains began to roll with the precious loads they stole from the old Glamorganshire Canal Chorus Now, by 1851 nearly all of her had gone, though her basin gates remained there for a while; When the Catherine Ethel rammed she was well and truly damned And she blew into oblivion in style Chorus (twice) The song is sung by its author, Mike Johnson, in the above video. The Glamorganshire Canal, which was opened in 1794, was originally sponsored by Richard Crawshay and other Merthyr Ironmasters, replacing the pack-horse as the major means of hauling iron. 25 miles long, and having some 50 locks, the canal became the main coal artery right up to the 1840s when the Taff Valley Railway extension to Cardiff opened. Use of the canal gradually dwindled. One section survived to service a single Pontypridd business until the 1940s. But by 1950 all that remained was a small section north of the Sea Lock in Butetown. Just before midnight on the 5th December 1951 the sand-dredger Catherine Ethel rammed the inner gates of the Sea Lock. The force of the escaping water blasted the entire structure, together with the Catherine Ethel, spectacularly out to sea.
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