Thursday, 18 November 2010

Lee weir keeper sacked for leaving sluices open all night (in 1934)

In a comment on yesterday's post where I mentioned Ware, my attention was drawn to Ware Weir. Martin asks if I was impressed by its location. I didn't understand what he was getting at, so I did a quick internet search, and found a website with a feast of historical information on the Lee and Stort. It's at The page I landed on was that on Ware Weir. Richard Thomas has collated information from the National Archive, the London Metropolitan Archives, and a box of Lee Conservancy staff record cards. There's also information from census records. The entries under "Ware Weir Cottage" are fascinating. Here are a few to whet the appetite (it's arranged with the latest dates at the top, so read from the bottom up).

19.1.1934  Gold had left the sluices open all night and drained the river above to a foot below bottom level., stranding barges and wasting an “enormous volume” of water.  “Further employment of this weir keeper would be dangerous; …that he had given trouble before…lately become absolutely unreliable”  “Dismissed forthwith” (NA Rail 845/118)


W Gold

Weir keeper

+ 2/6 per week

NA Rail 845/115


W Gold (56)

Weir keeper

Appointed at 21/- per week plus house and uniform

NA Rail 845/114

17.4.1920  Letter received from Ware UDC asking if the Board have any objection to the weir keeper at Ware Weir acting as steamroller driver occasionally.  Resolved that “Weir keeper Phillips be allowed to act…as steamroller driver, provided his work…is not interfered with…and that he does not wear the Board’s uniform during the performance of his work for the Council” (NA Rail 845/47)


Thomas Rock

Weir keeper

Died on 30th June but his goods have not yet been removed from the cottage

LMA ACC 2423/15

30.6.1916I regret to report that Thomas Rock and his wife have been taken to the Infirmary and both are in a very serious state of health.  They were allowed to live in the Weir keeper's house rent free on condition they attended to the Weir.LMA ACC 2423/15
22.5.1914- as the Amwell Magna Fishery Co's lease of the cottage expires on 24.6.1914, the occupant of the cottage, Thomas Rock, asks to be allowed to stay on.  The Amwell Magna Company pay us £20 per annum for the cottage and we pay Rock £5 a year for attending to the weir.  Rock, who is 72 years of age (and his wife 75) offers to hire the cottage at 4/- per week and will also attend the weir.  He is very old for the job, but I think he might be allowed to remain for a time.LMA/ACC 2423/014
2.4.1911Thomas Rock (68)Water BailiffSarahTumbling Bay Cottage, WareRG14PN7477 RG78PN363 RD133 SD3 ED1 SN159


Thomas Rock (44)

River keeper


Lea side

Great Amwell/6/39


John Wells

Tumbling Bay keeper


NA Rail 845/22


John Wells (68)

Lock keeper


Amwell End Lock, Crane Mead

Great Amwell/5/58


John Wells

Lock keeper

To Hardmead Lock to look after lock until house is ready for occupation

NA Rail 845/21

The records start in about 1761 and chart details of who looked after Ware Weir up until 1947. The entry dated 22nd April 1881 shows that the job wasn't without its dangers.

The successor to the unfortunate John Wells, Thomas Rock, is appointed at age 44. In 1914 Mr. Rock is 72, and attracts the following comment: "He is very old for the job, but I think he might be allowed to remain for a time."

He died just two years later, just after being taken with his wife to the infirmary.

There's lots more where this came from, including the sacking of a Mr. W. Gold in 1934. He had "left the sluices open all night and drained the river above to a foot below bottom level, stranding barges and wasting an “enormous volume” of water ..." Well worth a look.

Oh, and I still don't know the significance of where Ware weir was. (Or is.)


Neil Corbett said...

Spooky. Late last night I was thinking about blogging a piece on the differences between EA locks and BW locks (I still may do), so I googled Ware lock and it gave me the leeandstort site, which as you know, I referred to on the Herbie blog. I've been to busy to study other folks blogs over tha last day or two, so I hadn't seen yours at that time.

Do you believe in telepathy?


Halfie said...

Nah. It's just a coincidence. I'd looked up "Ware weir" after a comment left by someone called Martin.

Martin, if you're there, thanks!

Martin said...

Not at all, glad my attempt at humour led to something......