|The iconic Clock Warehouse that straddles one of Shardlow's basins|
And Shardlow seems a very good place to start. It's the southern end of the Trent & Mersey Canal and the most complete example of what the canals were all about – a magnificent inland port that was dubbed 'rural Rotterdam' in its heyday.
You can't be in Shardlow without giving a respectful nod to the bold and brave entrepreneurs who came up with the idea for a 93 mile canal driven across England to link the Trent with the Mersey way back in 1766 when roads were mud tracks and the only JCB was a bloke with a pick and shovel. And credit to James Brindley who took the task on and got it built in only 11 years. A 93 mile motorway would probably take us close on 11 years these days!
|The old salt warehouse that houses the Heritage Centre|
|Sad sight: the canalside warehouses slipping further into decay|
|Broughton House, looking out on the river was home to the wealthy Sutton family|
|This handsome grain barn is one of several around the village|
|Rather more modern, the elegant footbridge across the Trent|
Hopefully next time we are there, things will have brightened up. Shardlow is a wonderful piece of our history that deserves to be looked after better.
Photos of Clock Warehouse, by Shaggy359; grain barn by Russ Hamer. Both licensed under CC via Wikimedia