Shardlow Heritage Centre
The Working Port 1770 - 1948
written 22 January 2000 
written 28 January 2000
written 14 April 2000
written 1 December 2000
  • John Varley and many other carriers will follow!
James Sutton and the Shardlow Boat Company; Broughton and Sutton 
minor revisions 29 January 2000
The first Sutton that appears in our records is Thomas (? to 1814). He is in the village in 1775 recorded in the  Town Book receiving expenses as a village official. His earliest known project is building the Navigation Inn 1788-9. In the early 1790's he also builds the two houses which adjoin the warehouse (no. 34 on the 1852 plan) and the butchers shop which adjoined the Navigation Inn. Between 1792 and 1817, together with his son James (1767 - 1830) he builds a large cottage, a small cottage and a salt warehouse on the triangle of land between the river Trent,  the canal and the turnpike road (number 7 on the 1852 plan). This James Sutton (nicknamed 'old bag' by the villagers, after a scandal) is reputed to have started his working life as a simple boatman (George Gilbert memoirs) - he was later to possess considerable wealth, including ownership of Shardlow Hall as a result of his business success especially in the salt trade. In 1795/6 James is in occupation of the Navigation Inn and a lease in 1818 shows that he  had a riverside wharf on the Derbyshire bank upstream of Cavendish Bridge, where the river runs close to the turnpike road. By then he has a teenage son, another James (1801-1868). 
There are records of Upper Trent Boats being built by the Shardlow Boat Company for their own use from 1774 to 1785, the most recent of these was sold in 1796. We do not have evidence of a connection between this company and the Sutton's at that time. 
Thomas Sutton was a regular supplier of coals to the Shardlow Overseer of the Poor as early as January 1803 which implies that he was carrying then. James the elder purchased Trent sailing boats from 1808 and by 1820 was trading as 'James Sutton and the Shardlow Boat Company'. However the name James Sutton and Co. continued to appear after 1820, presumably as an abbreviation. With the competition from the railways the family fortunes decline and James Sutton the younger, faced with a re-evaluation of his property for assessing the amount of poor rates he must pay, bemoans in 1851 that '....we think the Property over rated and if he [John Bromley 1852 surveyor] used Sanders [1837 surveyor] (in dear times) valued at certain rates it will influence him in valuing in these very low times.' [letter from Sutton to Soresby Nov 4 1851 - Derbyshire Record office 1326A/P057] 
By 1850 the Suttons have stopped building boats. By 1858 they had closed their wharf in Derby, and the 1860 Directory for Shardlow no longer lists them as Canal Carriers - although James Clifford, close friend and former partner is then listed as a general carrier. 
J Sutton and SBC conditions
enlarged reverse of the below ticket
ticket for shipment of church bells from Coventry to Shardlow
the ticket for shipment of 5 bells, wheels etc. for Shardlow Church April 26 1841
the bells were cast at the Whitechapel foundry (London) and were taken as far as Coventry by Messrs Morris Herbert and Co
Shardlow Boat Company and Sutton's Boats  
Trent Boat c. 1815 Upper Trent Boats 
The Trent Navigation Company gauging tables show Upper Trent Boats owned by the Shardlow Boat Company from 1774, and at the time of measurement 1799 the 2 early boats had jury mast and line (for hauling or towing), and the boats built 1785 and 1795 had mast and sails. The tables show that Sutton & Co was  operating Upper Trent Boats with large mast and sail between Shardlow and Gainsborough from 1808, salt from  Shardlow to Gainsborough being a principal cargo. Corn and malt to Shardlow is also listed , as is 'Trade' between the two ports. 
These boats were approximately 72 feet long by 14 feet wide, with considerable individual variation - the largest was 76' 5'' by 14' 1''  and was built by Wood and Tingle at Shardlow. The tables do not give names for the boats. 
(We have not yet reviewed the Trent Navigation Tables for 1816 - 1854, but we know that Sutton boats are plentiful in these) 
The tables for 1855 onwards indicate that by then Sutton's  may have finished trading, only being listed as previous owners of several boats.
Sutton Narrowboats 
The Trent Navigation Tables for 1855 do include 2 narrowboats built by Sutton & Co at Shardlow in 1838 and 1840. These boats had width of only 6' 6'' and 6' 8'' respectively, so may have been used as flyboats. We have not yet seen any gauging records for Sutton's boats on the canal system. 
Some of Sutton's narrowboat names in 1831 were: 
Expedition, Speedy, Norway, Robert, Zealous, Hambro, Northwood, Swift, Safety  

Sutton Employees  
Names of boat masters on Trent boats were: Thos Crane, Joseph Woolley, Josh. Woolley, James White, and John Tomlinson. There will be more names in the portion of Trent Navigation Tables that we have yet to review.  
We know of more than 40 names of narrowboat captains working for James Sutton from the 1830's to 50's of whom just a handful have been identified in the Shardlow census records. The family of whom we know most is that of Samuel Till senior and junior:  

Till, Samuel junior   [died 14 Nov 1872 aged 51, buried in Shardlow churchyard with his wife and daughter Diana]  
Schedule76   1851 census   Shardlow Lock  
Samuel Till 29 Canal Carriers Boatman Middlewich
Catherine 26   Shardlow
Edward 5   Shardlow
Joseph 3   Shardlow
Diana 10 months   Shardlow
Samuel Till is listed in the 1852 Poor Rate Survey living at plot 179 owned by Holden [no. 7 on our 1852 plan]  
         We think built by Thomas Sutton (photo much enlarged background of small snapshot from 1930's)  
plot 7 (1852 plan)
 Canalside - Plot 179 on 1852 plan
1861 census -  Boats on the Canal - 'Swift'  
Edward Till 15 captains son Shardlow
Joseph Till 13 captains son Shardlow
from Cargo records  
Samuel Till senior Feb 12 1844 1 truss hosiery Leicester to Middlewich
Samuel Till junior July 29 1850 40 loads malt in 48 sacks Shardlow to Middlewich
Samuel Till junior Aug 3 1850 1 box starch,  
1 hogshead sugar,  
1 chest tea,  
1 bag coffee,  
1 tin molasses
Liverpool to Middlewich
                                 The 1816 list of inhabitants in Shardlow who were not parishioners include the following people who have been brought in to work for the Suttons:  
Joseph Cubley  from Swarkestone a clerk in Mr Sutton's office
Joseph Gilbert from Loughborough a warehouseman
Jonathan Glasby from Yorkshire a clerk to Mr Sutton
George Wilkinson from Gainsborough ropemaker to Mr Sutton
Sam Shepherd from Weston Mr Sutton's blacksmith
     We also know from the Will of Sarah Cantrell 1855 that her son in law and executor was John Hinkley Williams, Accountant and Clerk to Mssrs Sutton and Co.. Interestingly the Witnesses included Thomas Sephton of Shardlow who was a boatbuilder. 
 The  1832 Cholera epidemic had dreadful consequences for one of James Sutton's boat families. The Derby Mercury of 12 Sept 1832 reports:  
'We understand a case of cholera occurred at Shardlow on the 2nd. The person afflicted was the wife of a boatmaster in the employ of Messrs Sutton & Co. A meeting of the inhabitants was convened on the following Sunday, James Sutton Esq. in the chair, when it was resolved to fit up a vessel as a temporary hospital afloat on the river Trent.'  

Sutton's cargo  
Entries in the 1827 and 1850 Directories show the extent of the trading network:   

1827 - Conveyance by water. James Sutton and Shardlow Boat Company's fly boats, every day to Derby, Market Harborough, Hull, Sleaford, Loughborough, Leicester, Nottingham, Grantham, Lincoln, Newark, Boston , Gainsborough, Horncastle, Manchester, Melton Mowbray, etc.: also conveyance to all places on the line of the Trent, Mersey, and Bridgewater canals.  

1850 - CONVEYANCE BY WATER. To LEICESTER, DERBY, HULL, Sleaford, Lincoln, Nottingham, Gainsborough, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, the Staffordshire Potteries, Cheshire Salt Works, Stourport, Wolverhampton, Stourport, Coventry, and all parts of Yorkshire, Jas. Sutton & Co's Fly Boats, daily; goods forwarded to all parts of the Kingdom.

                          Details of James Suttton's cargoes are known from 1831 - 1850. The earliest, from the records at the Derbyshire Record Office, list goods from Red Bull Wharf to Liverpool and Shardlow but do not list the contents of the bags, chests, crates, casks and hampers.  
From the records at Ellesmere Port Boat Museum which cover 1842 - 1850 (with gaps) the total variety of goods is fascinating but those from Shardlow are confined to malt, beans, oats, barley, flour, timber and the odd 1/2 hogshead of vinegar.  
Examples of other shipments are as follows:  
1842 1 box of hats  from Manchester to Middlewich
1843 5 bundles of spades from Preston to Middlewich
1843 3 sacks of seeds from Etruria to G. Geesby, Middlewich
1843 1 cask of ale from Stoke to Mr Greatbatch, Middlewich
6 Mar 1847 1 box of candles from Leek to James Wall of Chester - landed there (9 Mar 1847)
60 bags of malt  
from Shardlow to R. Longton of Winsford - note several bags  
in a very wet  state 
                                 The records for the second half of 1850 seem to be complete and some idea of journey and turn-around times for individual boatmen can be given.   
5 July 1850 James Drakefield travels to Middlewich from Stoke with vinegar. On the 13th he is in Middlewich again with a cargo of matches from Manchester, he returns to Middlewich from Liverpool on the 22nd, from Shardlow with malt on the 25th and from Liverpool with tea and flour on the 29th.  
In  September of 1850 he is in Middlewich from Manchester with candles on the 21st, from Leicester  with 1 truss on the 26th and from Liverpool with molasses on the 30th.
                          We also know that in the Staffordshire Record Office there are vouchers  for the transport of goods by James Sutton and the Shardlow Boat Company for James Wardle of Leebrook (a dying company), 1830 - 1845 which we will be looking at soon. (ref D1313/2)  
Broughton and Sutton  
The title 'Broughton and Sutton' appears in Glover's Directory in 1827 as 'Broughton and Sutton  - salt men - Shardlow' and is recorded as a boat owner in the Trent Navigation Tables between 1804 and 1815. Four boats are listed, No.1 to No.4, being Upper Trent Boats with large mast and sail, purchased between 1804 and 1809, and  the last record shows one being sold in 1815 (The other boats may have continued in use for years without needing re gauging, as implied by the 1827 Directory entry).  They carried salt from Shardlow to Gainsborough, and two of the masters were John Sutton and Thos Johnson.  

It is natural to assume that the company name refers to the Broughton after which  Broughton House was named, the house  which had been built by Thomas Sutton who died in 1814.  We do not have any records of Broughton residing in Shardlow, and this connection needs further investigation. Maybe he came from the Cheshire end of the salt trade? The boat master John Sutton was not descended from Thomas Sutton, but may have been related.  

Soresby and Flack, J and W Soresby written 28 january 2000
The Soresby family moved to Cavendish Bridge from Eyam in Derbyshire sometime after 1758. James, with his wife Sarah  and his recently widowed mother Elizabeth, may have come to join Edward Soresby and his family. Edward built the last ferry to operate at Wilden before Cavendish Bridge was opened in 1760. 

The earliest reference is in the Derby Mercury 5th July 1771: 
"Yesterday pm, accident in Derby - John Wright waggoner to Mr Soresby of Cavendish Bridge - in loading some red lead near St Marys Bridge, a barrel rolled back out of the wagon  and falling upon his breast killed him on the spot." 
The Lady in Grey The family moved to Shardlow on the news of the proposal for the canal, buying a large plot of land given to Richard Attenborough  at the Enclosure award in 1760. The canal bisected the land providing the Soresby's with two areas for wharfs and warehouses, (marked 21 and 29 on the 1852 plan). In the 1770's they built  the family home, now the Lady in Grey (30) and raised two children, James (1766 - 1837) who took  over the business on his father's death in 1790 and Elizabeth (1771 - 1806) who married James' partner, William Charles Flack in 1799. On their marriage Elizabeth and William lived in the Firs (20)
James and Elizabeth (nee Stevenson) had six children, two of whom died in their teens. The two remaining sons inherited the business (W C Flack had died in 1831) which runs from 1837 as J[ames Stevenson] and W[illiam Charles] Soresby. The daughters Elizabeth (1807 - 1886) and Jeannette (1815 - 1886) lived with James (1804 - 1870) who never married, at the family home until their deaths. William (1811 - 1868) married Rebecca Holbrook and moved to Nunsfield House, Alvaston, Derby. 
the Granary on Millfield In the declining years of the carrying business, the family was also involved  in the cotton mill at Great Wilne and built a steam corn mill in 1860 on Millfield (26 on the 1852 plan) which was burnt down in the 1890's. The granary, office, stable block remain, all very much altered. 
The last entry we have found for the carrying company is 1860, and in the same year Joshua Fellows bought 10 of James Soresby's boats according to Soresby family records.  

Charles Holbrook Soresby, (William's son) returned to live in the Firs c. 1910 and his grand-daughter still lives in the village. 
Soresby Property 
In addition to the two wharf and warehouse plots already mentioned as owned by the Soresbys, in the early years they tenanted the areas numbered 7 and 35 on the 1852 plan and possibly built the 1780? warehouse. They were also tenants of the Liversage Trust  and had  land and property in Derby on the Morledge beside the Markeaton Brook. 

Lease on plot of land, part of old bowling green, in the Morledge - Derby April 1806 for 60 years.  
between Mssrs Soresby and Flack and the Liversage charity trustees. The land "is now in the occupation of the said James Soresby and W C Flack and upon which they have lately and at their own expense erected and built, or are now erecting and building, a dwelling house and other buildings (576 sq yds) by the Morledge Brook the surface or soil of which for a depth of 6 1/2 feet has lately been cut and taken away for the purposes of widening and making the said brook navigable. Year rent £13 - 10s -. And before the end of three years cause to be erected such other good and useful buildings as will make the same premises with those now erected to be always of the yearly value of £20 - 5s - and finding ropes for the capstan and supporting and keeping in repair the capstan" ........"the capstan is at the mouth of the Morledge Brook for assisting navigation of boats and other vessels passing out of the river Derwent into the Morledge brook to and from the Holmes Mills"  

Soresby Boats  
In 1702 a document listing charges for building the new ferry (Wilden Ferry) shows:  
'paid to Ed Soreby for building her £24 - 10s -  
 paid to Ed Soreby for 2 days more £- - 2s -  
We have not established that there is a connection between this Soreby and the later Soresby family.  

The Trent Navigation Company gauging tables show three wide boats belonging to Soresby and Co c. 1780 - 1800 having small jury mast and lines, built by Benjamin Clifford at Shardlow. One ('boat no. 4') is recorded as carrying coal to Shardlow but the others had already been sold on, yielding no information on their use by Soresby.  

Between 1796 and 1838 boats appear under Soresby and Flack ownership, fleet number 7 onwards, their highest fleet number being 24.  

Like the Sutton boats, they are about 72 ft by 14 ft but with considerable variation, plus two at about 60 ft 6 ins by 12 ft 6 ins (trading Shardlow to Leicester) and one at 51 ft 6 ins by 11 ft (trading Shardlow to Nottingham).  

The larger boats traded Shardlow to Gainsborough, with large mast and sail, as did one of the 60 ft boats. The 50 ft boat had a jury mast and line. The largest of their boats was No 22, built by Soresby and Flack in Shardlow, being 76 ft 3 ins by 14 ft 3 ins.  

Upper Trent Boat
an Upper Trent Boat
The last recorded gauging is for boat No. 3 in 1841, although they could have traded for many more years without the need for re-gauging (required only after alterations to the boat).  

There are two Soresby and Flack narrowboats in the above table, and being only 6 ft 6 ins and 6 ft 8 1/2 ins beam, they may have been part of their flyboat fleet  

When James the younger died in 1838 the Company name changed to J and W Soresby - the last two recorded weighings being in that name (1838 and 1841)  

We do not yet have any records of their narrowboats being gauged on the canal system.  

Many of their boats were built by Benjamin Clifford of Shardlow - we believe he was located at the dockyard owned by Soresby (no 21 on the 1852 plan) because we know that by 1841 Samuel Clifford was located there, and continuing there in 1852. 

The Soresby family records show that Joshua Fellows bought 10 of Soresby's boats in 1860 - "8 Trent boats and 2 canal boats". 

Soresby Cargoes  
Entries in the 1827, 1850 and 1860 Directories show the extent of the trading network: 

1827 - Conveyance by water:  
Soresby and Flacks fly-boats 4 times a week to Derby, Leicester, Loughborough, Manchester etc. 
also to all places upon the line of the Trent, Mersey and Bridgwater canals 

1850 - Conveyance by water: 
To London, Liverpool, Manchester, Derby, Leicester, Loughborough, and intermediate places 
J & W Soresby's and Pickford & Co's boats daily 

1860 - Carriers by water 
Soresby James & William C - Shardlow Wharf 

business card
J. & W. Soresby's business card

Apart from saying that they carried just about anything it is difficult to be specific as we have little hard information. 

Most of the cargo tables say that they are employed in "trading". We know from the notice of John Wright's death that they carried red lead and from the tables that one boat was employed in bringing coal to Shardlow in 1800.  

Three surviving invoices for 1843 at the Boat Museum add a little information:   

Jos or Jas Williamson master. 
Etruria wharf to Middlewich 17 February 1843
1 bundle of hoops and 1 bundle of staves to R. Beck, Chester from Mr Whittaker of Hanley
John Potts master. 
Brassingtons Wharf, Stoke to Middlewich 28 March 1843
1 hamper of goods for John Carney, to be called for at Middlewich
William Williamson master
from Stone, Field Wharf to Middlewich 5 February 1843
4 bundles lead?  to Charles Sproston, Carrier at Middlewich - to be delivered immediately
                      Also regarding this period a lady visitor to the Heritage Centre summer 1999 told us that her ancestor was transported in the 1840's for stealing 15 cheeses from Mr Soresby's warehouse in Shardlow. 
 Soresby Employees  
The earliest known employee is Mr John Wright the waggoner who was killed in 1771 (see above).  
Then in 1792 we have our earliest boatman. When John Smith took soundings of the River Trent to update his own of 1786 and those of Jessop in 1782 he was:  
"attended in the above Survey by John Beighton, Joseph Sheffield, and John Hickon, three persons who are Master- men of Boats belonging to the Grand Trunk Canal, the Burton Boat Company, and Mr Soresby, I was enabled to take the foregoing Soundings, pretty accurately."  

From the early boat cargo tables (gauging records of T. N. Co.) we have the masters of Soresbys boats being weighed in these years:  

Cowlishaw, J 1800
Robotham, R 1801 (narrowboat)
Vickers, Jno 1811
Turner, Christopher 1811
Kemp, Richard 1811
Slater, Joshua 1811
Bosworth, Perc 1814
Elliott, J 1814
Beeby, John 1814
Kilbourn, J 1814
Ironmonger, R 1815
John Vickers must be the same as one of the two John Wickers in the following extracts from the   
'1816 list of inhabitants - not parishioners of Shardlow':   
Henry Smith   Castle Donington clerk Mr Soresby's office
Thomas Thorpe   Shipley boatman to Mr Soresby
Dolly wife      
John Wickers    [Burton on Trent scored out] Willington boatman Mr Soresby's
his wife (scored out)   dead  
John     married and lives in house of Mr Soresby
Thomas     a soldier
Ann     married
Nathaniel 14    
William 12    
John Wickers   [Burton on Trent scored out] Willington boatman Mr Soresby
Betsy 3    
Eliza 1    
Martin Wardle     Mr Soresby's sailmaker
his wife      
George Gilbert's [1817* - 1880's] memoirs -
*date corrected 4/00
"....most of the men employed in the wharves and working the boats belonging to the two local firms of Sutton and Co. and the Messrs Soresby and Flack resided in the numerous villages which surround this place but chiefly at Castle Donington." 
George's brother Thomas b. 16 February 1812 in Shardlow, after leaving school, went to work for Mssrs Soresby and Flack the river and canal carriers. He became a clerk in the office but died 3 July 1833, buried in Castle Donington.
                      In the records at Ellesmere Port Boat Museum we found three of Soresby's boatmen of the 1840's: John Potts, Jos or Jas Williamson and William Williamson. John Potts and his family appear in the 1841 and 1851 census:  
1851 census schedule 36 Cowlishaw Row [Long Row]
John Potts   48 boatman Shardlow
Ann wife 47        "
John son 19 labourer      "
Ann daughter 12        "
Robert son 10        "
Mary daughter 8        "
We can tell from the 1852 poor rate survey that the family lived in part of plot 276 owned by George Cowlishaw which means that they  occupied the third house from the far end of the row of 20 on Long Row.  
Cowlishaw Row
Cowlishaw Row [Long Row] where John Potts and family lived in 1851
By 1861 John Potts had become an agricultural labourer. 
We may know even more about John Potts as he could be John, the son of Thomas who appears in the 1816 list of inhabitants as follows:-  
Thomas Potts 
Castle Donington Boatman, settlement 
gained by service with  
Mr Wright - Donington Park
                      In 1841 and 1851 Soresby's clerk John Taft lived in what is now 14 Millfield (26 on 1852 plan). By 1861 just after the steam corn mill was built the house was occupied by the miller John Buxton, his wife Martha and their two small children.  

Thanks to Soresby's descendants 
We are in contact with several descendants of the Soresby family who are all being very helpful. They have lent us photographs, family histories and family trees and are still searching for other material which may add to the story. 

The Cowlishaws
written 14 April 2000
The Cowlishaw family was a long established farming family in the village before the coming of the canal. The family homestead was on the corner site between  London Road and Aston Lane (opposite the Dog and Duck). Here the senior branch of the family built and lived in the present Shardlow House (see '1882 map' and 'a Walk Through the Village') which is on the site of their previous residence. 

The earliest record we have of the Cowlishaws on the waterways is from the Trent Navigation Company's Gauging Tables. George Cowlishaw bought an 8 year old boat second-hand in 1792, and it was gauged in 1799, 73 ft by 14 ft 2 ins with  mast and sail, carrying coal to Loughborough and Leicester, and corn etc. from those places to Shardlow. 
George Cowlishaw received payments from the Shardlow Overseers of the Poor, for regular deliveries of coals to the poor, every few weeks throughout the winter e.g. Jan 13 1803 George Cowlishaw for coals £1 - 1s - 0d 
In 1799 George was assessed for duties and paid 12 shillings duty on 2 horses used for business purposes. He also paid for one '4 shilling dog', and 4 shillings and 6 pence for  a house with 6 windows. 
The horses appear again in his will (probate 13 October 1812) : 
'I give and bequeath unto my eldest Son John Cowlishaw and to my third Son William Cowlishaw my Boat with the (?Lines) Ropes Poles and all other Implements and Appurtenances thereto belonging and my Horses with all the Tackle and Gearing belonging to them equally to be divided between them my said two Sons share and share alike.' 

John Cowlishaw (1779 - 1845) is recorded as Master of Soresby and Co boat No 4 in 1800, carrying coal to Shardlow. In 1805 he purchased his boat No 1 (74 ft 5 ins by 14 ft 3 ins) from the Gainsborough Boat Company (who had built it at Shardlow in 1798), and this was reweighed August 1812 when he was carrying coal on the Erewash Canal. He appears again as owner/master of boat No 1 in 1816. 
In the 1828 directory, John and William Cowlishaw are listed as coal merchants at Shardlow, but are not listed in the 1835 onward directories. 
William (1789 - June 1862) had 2 children Mira and William Joseph and in later life describes himself as a proprietor of houses and land, and a rate and tax collector. He lived at Holly Villa, at the corner of Long Row and Wilne Lane. See below for more about his son William Joseph (1854 - April 1918). 
Returning to John Cowlishaw (1779 - 1845), he had 3 children - Sarah (1819 - 1891), John Dewsnop (1824 - 1884) and George (1827 - 1882). 
John Dewsnop takes over the family wharf (No. 28 on the 1852 plan) in the late 1850's, probably in 1858 on the death of his mother Hannah. This wharf had been run for some years (at least since 1835) by Philip Burton who also occupied 'the Lawn' as a tenant. John Dewsnop Cowlishaw receipt
The 1861 census shows 'the Lawn' being occupied by: 

John Dewsnop Cowlishaw Head Coal Merchant
George Cowlishaw Brother Clerk in carriers office
Sarah Cowlishaw Sister Housekeeper
George Cowlishaw was listed in Directories as the Agent to Joshua Fellows & Co between 1864 and 1874. As Joshua Fellows bought James Soresby's boats at the end of 1860 and set up his local depot here in 1861, we suggest that George was Clerk to Mr Soresby and transferred to Joshua Fellows employ at this time. 

Returning to George's cousin William Joseph (1854 - 1918) he seems to start his own business in 1887, combining being a coal merchant with the office of Assistant Overseer to the Poor. 
William Joseph Cowlishaw's boats appear in the Trent Navigation Company Tables and the Ilkeston Register of Canal Boats (to register the boats as a dwelling). He is believed to have run 3 boats at any one time although there appears to have been replacement of some of the fleet at sometime. 
The Ilkeston Register describes 3 boats each with cabin (the Registration also gives cabin dimensions and cubic capacity) as follows: 
Ilkeston Reg. No. Boat Name Date of Record Event Master
No. 37 'Shardlow' 6 October 1887 Registration John Woolley
16 November 1909 Inspection Bradley
11 May 1910 Inspection Bradley
9 August 1916 Inspection G. Sheffield
20 May 1920 Inspection  G. Sheffield
Route: Shardlow to Shipley and Langley Mill
Cargo: Coal:
Propulsion: Horse
Max. number of persons: In aft cabin, 3 persons
The 1909 inspection specifies it as a wide boat.
No. 38 'Admiral Dundas' 6 October 1887 Registration John Woolley
19 July 1910 Inspection ? (3 men)
9 Nov. 1911 -'this boat is in full working order' note
Route: Shardlow to Shipley and Langley Mill
Cargo: Coal and Coke
Propulsion: Horse
Max. number of persons: 2 Adults 
1 Child under 12
No. 39 'The Hope' 9 May 1888 Registration James Woolley
(no subsequent records)
Route: Shardlow to Shipley and Langley Mill
Cargo: Coal
Propulsion: Horsepower. Wide Boat
Max. number of persons: In aft cabin, 4.
We have a photo of this boat in Shardlow Lock, showing the Ilkeston Registration number. 

The Trent Navigation Company also records 3 boats, but does not quote their names, and one was not built until 1892, and did not join the Cowlishaw fleet until some time later, and appears to be a narrowboat (judging by hold length and gauging weights/freeboard - unfortunately the table omitted the length and beam measurements...). Maybe this boat was a replacement for the original 'Hope'. 
The Trent Navigation Co. records are summarized: 
No. 2151 (late 1529) Reweighed 24 Jan 1903. Master - H. Hackett 
Built by Samuel Clifford of Shardlow in 1838, for a previous owner. 
W. J. Cowlishaw purchased in year (unknown). 
Rebuilt by W. J. Cowlishaw in year (unknown). 
74 ft 9 ins by 14 ft 2 ins with 2 Trent lines 

No. 2155 (late 1903) Reweighed 16 March 1903. Master - W. Webster. 
Built by Joseph Barnsdall of Nottingham Trent Bridge in 1841, for William Jackson of Newark. 
W. J. Cowlishaw purchased in year (unknown). 
71 ft 3 ins by 13 ft 10 ins with jury mast and Trent lines. 

No. 2173 Weighed 18 March 1905. Master - D. Brown. 
Built by Mssrs Rudkin Bros. of Leicester about 1892 for Messrs Kendal & Co of Nottingham. 
Length and Beam not recorded. Hold length 48 ft, max. gauged load 30 tons. 
W. J. Cowlishaw purchased about 1901. 

Two newspaper articles quote Mr. John Nash's memories of Cowlishaw in the 1890's. One article is from Nunews, the cutting is undated but believed to be from the 1970's and the other, from which the quotations are taken, is from the Long Eaton Advertiser 21 March 1975. John describes the following trip taken with his father who was one of Cowlishaw's boatmen: 
"At Cowlishaw's coal wharf .... coal was brought by horse-drawn boats from the various coal pits via the Erewash Canal. My father was a boatman and sometimes he would take me on these trips. 
I was not very old for I was wearing petticoats and skirts at the time. It was all right going down for I had the empty hold to play about in. But coming back with the boat loaded I had to stay in the cabin or in the well deck. 
I well remember one of those journeys. We had just cleared Sawley Lockhouse Lock into the River Trent. I had managed to climb up on to the bow and was watching the bow cutting through the water. 
Old Joe Sabin, who lived in Long Row, was at the helm when he drew my father's attention to my dangerous position. I can just remember being snatched off the bow, hard across his knee, my clouts being turned up and having a good belting, After this I had a leather belt around my waist and a piece of rope fastened to it - so it was a case of so far and no further." 
The article in Nunews lists the boat names and their Captains: 
Shardlow (Capt. J Bradley), Hope (Capt. W Webster), Admiral Dundas (Capt. Beeley from Castle Donington). 

The Cowlishaw boats were used for the village annual outings before the first world war: 
"Once a year we had our annual treat. Mr. Cowlishaw would have one of his wide boats cleared out. Zachary Smith would supply barrels. Ellis the joinery works on the Wharf would supply timber to be placed on top of the barrels to make seats. One of Cowlishaw's boat horses would be dressed up in coloured ribbons, its hooves black-leaded and polished. On Saturday  afternoon all the village kids would load up and we would set off to Weston Cliff for tea and sports." 
The two photographs are of the 1913 and 1910 boat trips, Capt. Webster is standing in the boat nearest the balance beam on the left hand photo. The right hand photo shows the awning that was erected to protect the women and children. 

Cowlishaw boat trip 1913 Cowlishaw boat trip 1910
Boat trip 1913
Boat trip 1910
The Cowlishaw family are responsible for erecting many of the buildings in the port area. Henry, the brother of George whose story began this section, sold the latter some land for the wharf and the house, 'the Lawn', which George built in 1795. As Henry was unmarried, he also gave an important piece of land to George's children to be divided among them equally. The land had been allocated to Poulson at the Enclosure of the village in 1758 and had been separated by the canal in 1770 into two very unequal parts. The land to the South of the canal (No. 27 on the 1852 plan) was given to William, whose sons sold it. Part of the land to the North of the canal (No. 25 on the 1852 plan) was laid out as a road (originally called Cowlishaw's Row, now Long Row) and all of the children got together and in about 1840 built a row of 20 houses, owning 4 each and the plot on the opposite side of the road on which two of them built a further two short rows of 4 houses each. Many of these were occupied by boatmen (see section on Soresby with photo). In 1891 Cowlishaw's boatman John Woolley lived here with his wife Charlotte and his grandson. 

John Nash was also involved in the distribution of the coal: 
"When I grew up I joined several other lads and with  some home-made barrows, we would call on Mr. Cowlishaw to see  if he wanted any coal taking out to the local houses. This would be half a hundredweight or one hundredweight at one shilling per hundredweight. After several journeys we would receive anything from a ha'penny to tuppence. I can tell you we felt like millionaires when we went into John Pegg's toffee shop for a farthing bull's eye." 
William Joseph Cowlishaw and his wife Louisa had 4 children, two boys and two girls but obviously none wanted to continue the business,. The executors ran it for at least five years after William's death as a photograph in the Heritage Centre of one of their boats unloading at the wharf was taken in 1923. 

Joseph Moore and Sons. later J and G Moore
written 1 December 2000
 Joseph Moore (1821 - July 7 1900) was the son of John a boatman, and Alice - both born c.1795. 

Joseph married Harriet Milward, the daughter of a bricklayer at Octbrook, in 1845 at Derby. They had 5 children known to have survived - Alice, Sarah, Mary, John and George. The 2 sons continued the business as J and G Moore. 

On his marriage Joseph was already described as a boatman of the Morledge, Derby. In the very early years Joseph and Harriet lived on Cowlishaw Row (now Long Row) in the 5th house from the far end. There is a picture of Long Row in the Soresby section (above). They soon moved however to a house on Canalside (picture in the Sutton section above), where Joseph lived for the rest of his life with his son John and his family, with George and his family only 2 doors away. 

The earliest that we know he was in business for himself is from the Ilkeston Registration of Canal Boats, 1894-5. At that time he had: 
Ilkeston Registration Number No. 53 No 55
Boat Name Cambridge No. 2 Harriet
Owner Joseph Moore and Son, Shardlow Joseph Moore and Sons*
Master George Moore Joseph Moore*
Route Erewash Erewash valley
Traffic Mineral Minerals
Propulsion Horsepower narrow boat 
not as fly boat
Horsepower narrow boat
Cabins One One
8' 10" by 6' X 5'  
Rule of Dimensions Rule B. No 1 one fifth (Rule one)
5' 0" 5' 2"
8' 10" 8' 6"
6' 7" 6' 6"
Cu Cap
290' 10" 285' 5"
58' 2" 57' 1"
232' 8" 228' 4"
Applied 25 October 1894 1 November 1895
Examined 25 October 1894 1 November 1895
Registered 1 November 1894 ?(sic) 4 February 1896
Place Registered Ilkeston ? Ilkeston
Number of people 
In aft cabin 4 persons ?3 
?3 1/2 
In aft cabin ? 3 1/2
  'Broken up' [presume pre 1946 when register finished] Broken up 24-10-24 
Mr Trevethick - Lenton
    *name of owner and master altered 
27 July 1906 when new cert sent  
to Gotham Co Ltd

After Joseph's death in 1900 his estate gross value £275 was divided equally between his sons John and George who continued trading. We have just one reference to their wide boat: 

Trent Navigation Company table 13. No 2172 weighed 29 December 1904 
70' 6'' by 10' 7'' with Trent line and jury mast. Rebuilt by Mr R. Gilbert of Lenton for J and G Moore of Shardlow. 
Master G Moore, cargoe - Coke, route - to Shardlow 

We know that the 2 narrow boats were still in use in the 1920's as we have snapshots with them in the background under the arch of the Clock Warehouse in Shardlow, still bearing the name Moore - the image is very much enlarged from one of the snapshots. 

J and G Moore's narrowboat at Clock Warehouse

John (1858 - 1940) and his wife Mary Ann (1855 - 1931) had a son Joseph who died in France in 1917. 

George (1865 - ?) and his wife Mary had at least one child - Gertrude. 

We are grateful for information on the family from Joseph's great, great grandson. 

 to continue, see links to other sections of THE WORKING PORT below:
Home Page 
Exhibition and Special Events   
Brief History of the Village   
1882 Map of Shardlow
Shardlow - placename and surname 
A Walk through the Village
Photo Gallery REVISED 11/2000
Village Services 
Food and Drink 
Links to Related Sites 
NEW FORMAT 11/2000
 Setting the Scene and 1852 Plan 
 Carriers by River and Canal at Shardlow (THIS PAGE)
 Boatbuilders at Shardlow NEW 12/2000
 Other Traders in the Canal Port 
silent counter 
 This page is maintained by  Shardlow Heritage
last updated on 1 December 2000