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Midge Walkers

Walk No.74

New Years Day Walk - 2015

The invitation to shed some of the seasonal excess and join in a walk on good flat surfaces, taking in aspects of industrial heritage and local history around the Preston Docklands and not exceeding 2 hours duration produced a bumper turnout. Could it have been based on the rumour of our leader’s new found 2015 resolution to in future “tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”?  Whatever the reason, 29 adults, 9 children and 3 dogs met at 11 am in the Morrison’s car park and despite a forecast of somewhat damp conditions, set off around the dock basin.

After just a short distance those who had read the instructions thoroughly threw food to the many varieties of water birds which flock the area. Our education started with a short history of the Dock, which having started work in 1884, was opened some 8 years later in 1892 by Prince Albert, the second son of Queen Victoria, hence the name of the Albert Edward Dock. The dimensions of the main basin were recorded at 1066 yd's long, 200 yd's wide and a depth of 40 ft. The construction resulted in the former river course being adopted as the basis for the dock and a new river route being channelled as a sort of by-pass.

Our route took us beyond the marina and round the end to cross by one of the massive lock gates to turn back towards the properties which now occupy the sites of the former warehouses which included grain, wood pulp, coal and banana stores. When in full use these were manned by workers who lined up seeking employment on a daily basis with as many as 400 looking for work but less than 10% being selected.

The walk continued by crossing the railway to the river bank which forms part of the Guild Wheel route to a position just prior to the Penwortham by-pass where we were again shown an area where no less than 400 liners and warships were scrapped and a little further on the shipbuilding site of Allsups where such boats as tugs and ferry boats for the Mersey were constructed until 1908. Retracing our steps towards the dock and continuing the route around the basin brought us back to our starting point and the luxuries of the Morrison’s café.

Was this then the real reason that so many had turned out? Was it the thirst for improving ones local knowledge? Or was it simply the enjoyment derived from sharing time with like minded friends in a healthy pursuit.