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Moira Baths Wharf, Moira, Leicestershire, c 1913
Scarratt, F W
Ashby de la Zouch Canal
About this image
Moira Baths Wharf on the Ashby-de-la-Zouch Canal looking north-west.
There is much worth noting in this view. A number of narrowboats can be seen with the substantially built pair on the right (the nearest one is named 'Pioneer') most likely loading coal from Rawdon Colliery. This has arrived at the canal by rail, the mine itself being about a quarter of mile to the north. The building on the left with the lamp bracket is the rather grandly named Moirabaths Hotel (sic), which, along with other structures close by formed part of the complex of workshops and other coal mining related buildings known as Bath Yard, the headquarters of the Moira Colliery Company. Beyond the Hotel the bridge to the rear of the two smaller narrowboats carried the towpath over a covered boat dock, the curved roof of which is obvious. This was used for repairs. In the distance, where the canal appears to be blocked, there is a swing bridge. The building behind the coal stacks on the right was an engine shed, while crossing the scene from left to right on the horizon the embankment of the Midland Railway line linking Leicester and Burton-upon-Trent can be picked out.
Moira Baths owed its name to the fact that the saline nature of the water pumped out of the coal mines was found to have 'valuable medicinal properties'. This discovery was made in the 1830s, bathing facilities being incorporated into the Hotel with visitors arriving either by boat or coach. After a few years nearby Ashby became established as a more suitable and gentile venue for such an enterprise, the water being transported there from Moira in tanks.
The Ashby Canal ran for 31 miles from a junction with the Coventry Canal at Bedworth in Warwickshire to a terminus at Woodlands Wharf, Ashby Woulds (1 mile north of this view) and opened in 1804. The northernmost section became plagued by mining subsidence and was eventually abandoned between Donisthorpe, Moira and Ashby Woulds in 1944. However, that proved not to be the end of the story as between 1999 and 2005 Donisthorpe to Moira was rebuilt with a new terminus basin established on the site of the by then vanished Moira Baths Wharf, adjacent to what had become the National Forest Centre (Conkers). However, in 2014 this section still remained physically isolated from the remainder of the canal, which had closed south of Donisthorpe and through Measham to Snarestone by 1966 and still awaited reinstatement.
This image was produced by Derby-based postcard publisher F W Scarratt and was numbered in his own series as No 809.