Harry Palmer’s canal eccentric archaeology

VICTORIAN ICE-SKATING CLOG  It was with some amusement that local fisherman, Alf Barnsley, retrieved this skating clog from Soho Loop, Winson Green in 1972. But where did it come from? The story concerns the great winter of 1901 when the entire stretch of the canal from central Birmingham towards Smethwick became iced over. Many people came from all of the West Midlands to enjoy skating and join with the local canal families (who were usually resistant to ‘foreigners’ as they called them). It became such a marvellous four weeks in January that ice skating competitions soon started to occur. Many enthusiastic people made their own ice skating clogs. As you will see from this original clog specimen, many had managed to adapt their working boots to great effect, never underestimate the innovation of the canal boatworker!

VICTORIAN ICE-SKATING CLOG It was with some amusement that local fisherman, Alf Barnsley, retrieved this skating clog from Soho Loop, Winson Green in 1972. But where did it come from? The story concerns the great winter of 1901 when the entire stretch of the canal from central Birmingham towards Smethwick became iced over. Many people came from all of the West Midlands to enjoy skating and join with the local canal families (who were usually resistant to ‘foreigners’ as they called them). It became such a marvellous four weeks in January that ice skating competitions soon started to occur. Many enthusiastic people made their own ice skating clogs. As you will see from this original clog specimen, many had managed to adapt their working boots to great effect, never underestimate the innovation of the canal boatworker!

The Siren (in which this excerpt is taken from)

About Harry Palmer

Harry Palmer is an eccentric archaeologist who has, for many years, actively explored places, spaces and people, circumstances and situations. From early work from the mid 1990s as a reverse pedestrian world record attemptee, through to conversations with Catfish specimen masters and friendships with allotment champions, Mr Palmer has taken it upon himself to joyfully roam and enquire (within) here on planet earth for a sustained period since his birth…
Harry is the co-founder and research editor-in-chief of The Eccentric City newspaper – the world’s first dedicated eccentric tabloid newspaper

Forthcoming events: Eccentric Treasure Hunt across Birmingham (UK). Also, touring talks and visits. For more information and updates www.eccentriccity.co.uk

Harry Palmer’s Life and times of a Submerging Artist 1990-2009 pending www.harrypalmer.co.uk

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