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Topic Originator: Mike Laughton
Post Date January 22, 2016 @ 7:11 PM

Mike Laughton
January 22, 2016 @ 7:11 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Several times during my lifetime, the water has been drained from the River Welland in Stamford exposing the riverbed. Usually this is done for dredging or other important maintenance work to take place. I think it usually happens about once every 15 to 20 years.
I remember on one occasion during the mid-1950s, while I was still at school, the water was drained revealing thousands upon thousands of fresh water mussels buried in the mud. I spent several hours collecting hundreds of mussels and took them home thinking I would presenting my family with a culinary treat. But none of my family or neighbours would touch them so I was forced to return them to the river.
The last major drainage work I recall took place about 25 years ago - around 1990.
I recall that the riverbed threw up quite a few secrets, some of which were quite embarrassing to certain local people.
Among the items in the exposed riverbed was a motor scooter. It's sixteen year old owner had reported it stolen the year before and claimed on the insurance. Was he red-faced when it was dragged from the river.
Anybody else have any memories of the river being drained?

January 31, 2016 @ 3:52 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

I can recall a couple of occasions when the river was reduced to a trickle to enable work to be carried out, but, of course, this was before the days of Anglian when it was the Welland and Nene authority who really did "dredge" the river. If memory serves me correctly they had a RB dragline whose drivers' name was Chuck. They also had aa small compound in Uffington Road where they kept a couple of Morris Minor vans and various pieces of  pipe, valves and other water related ephemera.

Oh how things have changed! If it stops raining long enough they'll be able to get out and put up hosepipe ban notices!!

Beau smith
January 31, 2016 @ 8:13 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Well mike it was one of the things that I used to watch for and as I worked near the river for 27 years I could always see when this had taken place, one of the best places for seeing what the river had squirreled away was at the bottom of the Weir in Uffington Meadow, many an old bottle has been picked out of there by myself, but one of the best finds was when they drained the river to take down Pile Bridge which took the old railway line over the River Welland and also the Canal when it was still fed by the river! This took place sometime in the 1970's the Welland and Nene River Authority had a Dragline brought in past the old East station down the track and across the field to the bridge it was cut up and lifted in sections onto two Tolfree Plant Hire Tipper lorries of which I was one of the drivers, the bridge was a wooden structure and for the life of me I can't remember where we took this timber but it wouldn't have been too far away, while I was waiting to be loaded I had spotted something white in the basin below the Weir on a little knoll and thinking it was an old Ginger Beer Bottle I went to investigate but what a surprise when I got to it and found it to be an Anchovey Paste Pot lid , these were quit big over 4 inches across and in perfect condition an unusual find in a river, probably from a posh Pic Nic in the Edwardian period.

Beau smith
February 2, 2016 @ 9:04 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

The yard Peter is referring to where the Welland and Nene river authority were on Uffington road was the same yard that Tolfree Plant Hire were in and they often worked together, one job they did was in 1968/1969 east of the Town Bridge down to the old Ford, the River Authority had a Drott in the river bed and loaded Tolfree lorries with the silt which was taken to Barnack road tip, which was being excavated of gravel by Nene Barge and Lighter Co from
Wansford then back filled with all sorts of waste, ie dredgings from the river.

John Tyers
September 27, 2016 @ 9:26 PM Reply  |  Email  |  Print  |  Top

Just spotted this thread but I have to observe that in thousands of years time someone may find my beautiful Waterman fountain pen which fell out of my top blazer pocket into the river when I was leaning over the parapet of the town bridge back in the summer of 1951.  Grey with a gold knib and clip.  My mother had bought me this for the school exams so it was only a few weeks old when I lost it.  One day in the future it might be termed a primitive writing instrument from an unenlightened era should it one day be dredged up out of the silt!