cyclists' lives matter
do we need to rename some of our locks and bridges?
The National Trust is revaluating the history of all of its properties in light of the most recent bandwagon revelation i.e. the results of slavery - several centuries ago. This is the finest use of a Trust’s money since The Canal and River Trust spent cash on a new corporate sign which resembles a floating car tyre.
We at the Banal and Dither Trust (Life is Better by South Shields) are currently following the excellent lead of the NT by reviewing all canals, bridges and lock names with a view to renaming them should any of the names have a connection with slavery or be disrespectful in any way whatever.
This vastly important job will, as you realise, take several thousand-person hours, as a result scheduled maintenance i.e. the repainting of my office will be postponed. We at the Trust appreciate that this will bring heartache to many readers but please realise that the task of renaming is of vast importance by not allowing this disgrace to last for many more centuries. People in the future will be proud to walk the ruins of the old canal network and be able to say, ‘This old canal system was paid for by slavery and it is now gone - be careful of the concrete’.
Take Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater. He, as far as we know, had nothing to do with slavery. He merely employed children down his coal mines... so the name can stay. Alas the commercial owners of the canal will, I am sure, eventually obtain planning permission to build contemporary exclusive executive homes along the entire stretch, therefore we need worry not about that water here in South Shields.
The Trust has formed an independent committee as you would expect. It is funded by The Trust and staffed by Trust members and their friends. So, entirely similar to all governmental independent enquiries (and like these enquiries ours will take years and pay lawyers millions, with the results determined beforehand). For example, I am sure that there will be a lock named after the Editor of CanalsOnline and her bridge partners.
During the Pandemic - which as we all know was caused by the erection of G2 masts and the square wooden strapping posts uselessly positioned at locks affording great expense by British Towpaths - our committee will have to progress through internet means. Should any reader wish to serve on our committee this can be done by slipping the Chairman, Devid Scowcrovich a fiver.
Our first task is to look at the River Thames as this has Roman connections. As we all know the Roman Empire was built on the back of slavery - over 30% of the people were slaves.
Once life returns to normal such as above inflation price rises, and NHS Porter Strikes, the committee can meet at The Waterside to review a new name, that is the Waterside Restaurant. Perhaps it could be called ‘The Elizabeth River’ since most new projects are called ‘Elizabeth’ – no idea why. ‘Gawd Bless Er’.
The Kennet and Avon Canal will have to go obviously, as ‘Shakespeare’ is forever connected with ‘Avon’ and he included slaves in a couple of his plays. Kennet was a small hunting dog, used in medieval and Tudor England and we certainly cannot have anything to do with barbaric hunting, unless it has to do with non-licence payers.
As you are aware the K & A divides into two: the first stretch from Reading is very difficult so we could call that bit ‘Dammit’.
The second canal part around Bath is easy but full of persons who prefer to stay tied to the bank, who are normally called, due to good PR, ‘Wonderful’.
So, there you are instead of K & A we could have the ‘Wonderful Dammit’.
An initial glance at canal names gives me:
- Black Junction - Obviously needs to go due to sexual connotations.
- Heartbreak Hill - I had my heart broken when I was eighteen so this will have to go.
- Cae-dan-y-cwnwl - not even Google Translate can tell what this means.
- Fancy bridge - You are not allowed to ‘Fancy’ anyone anymore particularly if they of an opposite sex. Can you have the ‘opposite sex’ anymore?
- Newport transport bridge - Transportation - the connection with slavery is obvious.
- Wyre Piddle - just causes giggling in class.
- Rotten Park Reservoir - there can be nothing rotten in the Banal and Dither Trust.
One pair urgently need renaming - that is the ‘Scowcroft Lock and Bridge’ on the Rochdale Canal. Presumably named after Major (Retired) David Scowcroft of Gas Street Basin. I mean, who is he?
On a different topic the Banal and Dither Trust, having time on its hands due to no canal maintenance being undertaken, is now retailing a range of non-ethical world-polluting clothing made exclusively in Fifth-World Countries by young female orphans. The range is ever expanding, and any suggestions are welcome.
At the moment there are a choice of bobble hats, Trust’s trusses, engine cleaning rags (only available until 2030 when all engines will be banned). We are assured that Primark in response will not be entering the field of waterways navigation. Each item is individually made by the child who gets paid the minimum working wage in their country. We had looked at an ethnic clothing range but that would have just involved us in a financial loss whilst admittedly making us feel superior, fortunately our Chairman has taken on himself the ignominy of the decision (for a considerable fee).
Any unsold items will be used to stop breaches on the canal system by dumping them in the hole. Although with the obvious sound financial planning involved in the venture there may not be enough items to fill all the breaches. All items are washable in the cut (bucket and chukit) but should not be placed in a modern washing machine as the ‘Better by South Shields’ logo may wash-off due to poor manufacture and a picture of the Duke of York appear. On the plus side the items are all resistant to sweat except in Annabel's Nightclub.