Interview 21 - Barry Slade

Barry Slade, volunteer for the Canal and River Trust

Interviewer: Diana Roberts
Total recording time: 48 min : 29 sec


  • Barry was interviewed at his home in Oxford
Access available in Oxfordshire History Centre and Libraries only

Click on track number below to play

Track Content summary Length
21.1 Barry was born in 1945 in same house as father in Hayfield Road next to the Anchor. His father worked for the Co-operative Society in George Street. The back door to the store opened onto George Street Mews and the lane ran to the coal wharf at Crate Basin – so called as goods in boxes, cases and crates were unloaded there. The Coop was a large trader in coal brought down the Oxford Canal from Coventry. 6 min : 37 sec
21.2 Barry talks about what became a life-long interest in local history including the canal describing outings to Thrupp which had a narrow boat maintenance depot and his friendships with the workers. 4 min : 53 sec
21.3 Barry talks about the gradual decline of the canal and the loss of heritage structures including the wharves and canal trade. 1 min : 25 sec
21.4 Barry recalls the local trade in crude tar carried by Thomas Clayton and Albert Beechey and some number ones - narrow boats owned and operated by self-employed boatmen that continued until 1955. 5 min : 31 sec
21.5 The last coal delivery to Morris Radiators, 1948 (horse-drawn). Jack and Rose Skinner, famous working boaters, became known to Barry who visited them over the years. He tells the tale of Jack saving the canal a second time from closure due to some help from friends at Aristotle Bridge. 5 min : 31 sec
21.6 What remains of the canal buildings – Barry identifies four – former Oxford Canal Company buildings now part of St Peter’s College, two small buildings at Castle Mill Boatyard in Jericho and the Lock Keepers Cottage at Duke’s Cut. Then he lists what has been lost. 1 min : 22 sec
21.7 Barry points out that some iron canal bridges including Isis bridge bear marks from the continual almost unnoticeable indentations made by ropes strained against the bridge as the narrow boat went under and the horse drawing it went over. 3 min : 7 sec
21.8 Barry describes acquiring his cabin cruiser in the 1960s which he cruised through almost deserted canals until the boom in leisure cruising in the 1980s. 7 min : 57 sec
21.9 Barry returns to the era of working canal boats and relates a series of tales and observations including that of Rose Skinner falling in Wolvercote Lock. 12 min