Last Updated 08 Sep 2017

Changes to Stoke Bruerne between (1800 – 2001)

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Stoke Bruerne was a small farming and market village. The main function of Stoke Bruerne changed because of transport.

The Grand Junction canal got its act of parliament in 1793. (Canal side walk).

The canal had a major impact on the village of Stoke Bruerne. The village of Stoke Bruerne developed around the canal. (Maps). Before the canal arrived, Stoke Bruerne was a very small-populated area with about 150 people living in, what was a very agricultural village.

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The first major canal was built between London and Birmingham, this runs through the village of Stoke Bruerne. (Visit).

There was a major objection to this plan by the Rector, the two plans that were drawn up went straight through the middle of his garden cutting it in two. He lost his battle and the chosen plan went ahead. When the canal was built the canal company built the Rector a bridge so that he could walk from one side of his garden to the other. (Visit).

When the canal was built many jobs were created and with it people to fill the vacancies. (Whittaker Minutes). Houses were built for the people who worked on the canal, this was the start of Stoke Bruerne becoming a busy area during the canal era. (Visit).

The boats struggled to get across the canal and so pathways were made either side of the canal so horses could walk along pulling the boats behind them. The horses could not pull the barges through Blisworth Hill so 'legers' would walk the barges through the tunnel, where the horses would again take over. The horses stayed in the tunnel stables when there were no barges to pull. While the legers were waiting to pull barges through, they would wait in the legers hut. This was a small shed in which they could keep warm and dry. (Visit). The barges also struggled

up the hill of the canal, and so locks were put in. Evidence that the canal became more congested is that double locks were built in 1835, although only locks 14 and 15 affected Stoke Bruerne. (Canal Company Minutes)

Many businesses were set up on the side of the canal this was because businessmen new it was a quick, easy and cheap way of transporting goods to many places like London using barges on the canal (Booklet). Many wharfs were set up so that goods could be loaded and unloaded. The goods being loaded on the barges would have been brought from local factories and people who made things that could be sold. The goods being unloaded from barges would have been taken to the local market and sold. (Visit/Booklet).

A steam-powered Corn Mill was set up and this attracted many people to move to Stoke Bruerne because off the work on offer. Four Mill Cottages were built beside the mill so the workers could live there.

So the canals arrival really gave the world of Stoke Bruerne a whole new way of life.

In 1851 the double lock shut (Canal Company Minutes).

Railways took over from canals as the main form of transport about 1851. The reasons why people started to use the railway more is because it was:

* More direct and Quicker - the trains could travel a lot faster than the boats, which meant they could get to their destinations more efficiently.

* Easy to extend - the trains were more direct, and a lot less hassle for companies that extend the track because unlike the canal no digging was required only a flat piece of land (Visit).

* Transporting goods - Transporting heavy goods and pottery was easier and safer because it was less likely to break because the ride was smoother than the barges had been. The best thing with trains and transporting goods was food. Food could finally be transported over large areas. It could get there quickly and so it would stay fresh for markets and stalls the following day.

Between 1874 - 1879 the Navigation Inn shut closed (Whittaker).The Corn Mill shut down at the start of the 1900's (Guide book).

Work hours were cut in 1938 and so people had more leisure time. The railway had an impact on Stoke Bruerne because people could get there and go to various other places (Visit).

One of the first motorways built was the M1.It is still very much used today by workers who commute to and from work.

The roads in 1960 were not the same in quality as they are today. People did however prefer these to railways because their car was more convenient, they could leave there home when they wanted. Also people had more leisure time because they had paid holidays and worked fewer hours. So people looked for leisure pastimes.

Tourism in Stoke Bruerne really started to flourish. Many of the old buildings were changed into businesses that would make money from tourism. The old corn Mill became a museum in 1963 and for many years previously a disused warehouse. The mill had its own docks, which has been made into the picnic area and car park (Canal side walk, booklet). The Boat Inn, a pub to go and have a drink in while visiting was a pub, a butcher, then a stable. It changed as the needs changed (Visit).

The wharf office shop sells souvenirs, but was previously used to sign for documents, send letters. Etc. (visit)

The mill cottages that were built for the workers to live in are now split in to two groups of two. Two are privately owned and two are rented out to tourists.

The chapel tearooms used to be used as a dock to the toe path to bring coal to the steam engine to run the mill.

The land cutaway known as the Blisworth tramway where the horses worked is being made in to a nature reserve by the British Waterway.

As you can see Stoke Bruerne has changed dramatically in the last 250 years.

Stoke Bruerne Sources.

The best source I used was the visit because it gave a full picture of what Stoke Bruerne was like and the way it changed, for example:

* The roofs on the buildings all had different styles e.g. slate, tile, etc.

The visit also gave us a visual view, I picked up lots of little facts from our tour guide and the museum.

Also the Whittaker Minutes and the Canal Side Walk were very useful for the certain information that I got for it although it was only 1 or 2 facts from each.

The postcard disagreed with my visit because we saw quite dull boats, but the postcard showed bright boats, which we were also told, would not have been the case. Postcards are painted in the light of being sold and so make the village look a great place, this makes it bias.

A historian could use the Whittaker Minutes and the Canal Side Walk to gain key information of what stoke Bruerne was like. These are documents from the time of the canal and so are likely to state the facts. This would be a reliable source as well as the land and its shape at Stoke Bruerne, for example you can see where the horses walked and so proves this did happen.

Changes to Stoke Bruerne between (1800 – 2001) essay

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