Sunday, 2 August 2009

The town that gave its name to a toilet

I don't know where the 'Shanks' half came from but Armitage not only gave its name to a toilet, it still makes them in a vast edifice along the side of the canal. Mightily impressive it is too.
Where there's muck, there's definitely brass!

I love meandering through these urban backyards – canals give you a view that streets never can. Mostly of mess and ruin, true, but fascinating all the same. And every now and then, there's a glimpse of a decaying piece of once impressive canalside architecture, like the four-storey Edwardian warehouse we saw a little later at Rugeley. Perhaps it was part of the 'stinking' tannery that Tom Rolt described on his trip - certainly it was near 'Leather Lane'. In another place it would have been 'ripe for conversion' to canalside apartments but here it just died a lingering death. Sad.
Rugeley these days lives in the shadow, metaphorical as well as real, not of a tannery but by the massive cooling towers of its power station, visible from everywhere around.
We pressed on out of the town and, aware of the busy honeypot location that lay ahead at Great Haywood, moored up in open country with distant views of the wooded Cannock Chase - and of the power station.

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