Monday, 12 June 2017

Stoke Prior (and a walk up Snowdon)




Thursday was wet yet again but I was determined to find more of the buildings that John Corbett built for his workers.  He was the philanthropist who ran the UK’s largest salt works of the time, at Stoke Works, which is near where we have been moored for the last week.  My aim was to find some of the houses he built for his retired workers; they are along the A38 which isn’t a particularly attractive location but the houses are nicely kept.

Row of retirement houses for the salt workers


Plaque showing the workers were referred to as Salt Makers and that they were decayed rather than retired

John Corbett’s raven emblem on the houses – see website extract at the bottom of this blog entry for more information


Walking back to the boat I passed lots of wild honeysuckle.  The larvae of one of my favourite butterflies, the White Admiral, feeds on wild honeysuckle but not in this area.  They prefer woodlands where the honeysuckle grows on oak.

Wild honeysuckle nearing the end of its flowering season

My middle son, Steve, came up in the afternoon as he was stopping over on the Thursday night ready for our weekend trip to Snowdonia with my middle daughter, Lauren. We went for a walk in the afternoon and then went over to the Boat and Railway for the evening – Karen joining us after she got home from work.

Buddy teaching Steve how to cross lock gates

On Friday afternoon, we drove up to Telford to pick Lauren up from the station and continued on up to Snowdonia.  As usual we stayed in an AirBnB as we have never had any problems at home or abroad.  This one was absolutely fine – lovely and clean etc. but Danny didn’t have any idea about running a house – he had only recently bought it.

We all wanted showers when we arrived but soon realised the boiler wasn’t working.  It transpired that the oil tank had run dry.  Danny hadn’t realised it needed refilling; in his mind, it was like gas and supplied continuously.  He was very good and got things sorted out very quickly.

Here I am writing about someone who was a bit clueless about running a house when I had done something equally stupid when packing for our weekend away.  We were getting ready for the 30-minute drive from the AirBnB to Snowdon on Saturday morning when Karen asked where her walking boots were – it transpired I had left them on the boat.  Fortunately, we were in the ideal place to get replacements and were really lucky in picking up a good brand of £150 shoes for £50 at the Cotswold Outdoor shop.  They had a section where they were selling off returns and you just made an offer if you saw something you wanted.  These shoes had been returned because they squeaked!   At least Karen has a spare pair now. 

We knew that there was heavy rain forecast all day on Snowdon but we hadn’t realised quite how windy it was going to be.  We each got blown over several times in the stronger gusts and had to lay on the ground until each one eased.  We continued on and were soaked and cold by the top – wind chill was minus one in the middle of June!

The picture at the top is us looking happy at the summit - Buddy came up too but couldn’t get in the picture.

In the evening, we popped into Betws-y-Coed for a well-deserved drink and a meal and then made our way home on Sunday.   Undaunted we are now booked into a cottage in the Lake District in September so we can walk up Scafell Pike.



This extract is from the Worcestershire historical society website:

“John Corbett (1817-1901, born Brierly Hill) considered his name to be an anglicisation of the Latin for raven, hence the use of the bird for his emblem. Corbett bought 6 acres of land at Stoke Prior near Bromsgrove in 1854 on which to build his salt works. It was then the largest of its kind in Europe. Corbett wanted to turn Droitwich into a fashionable spa town. Corbett owned several businesses in the town of Droitwich, he bought the Raven Hotel in 1887, and built the Worcester Hotel in 1891. He had the Chateau Impney built by the architects Tronquois of Paris and a local architect Richard Phene Spiers, as his 'palace' between 1869-1875.”

Chateau Impney


















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