Kendal Oral History Group aims to compile a picture of earlier times through the recorded memories of the area’s older residents. TOMMY KNIGHT was interviewed in 1997...

MY EARLY recollections of the canal, which was nearby, was remembering the Zion schoolchildren going on their Easter trip to Levens Park on the canal boats, which were used for bringing coal up to the Gas House on Parkside Road.

They used to put tarpaulins in, clean them out and place forms across and they all went down pulled by a horse-drawn boat.

They used to sing “Life on the Ocean Waves” and all that.

They had a day in Levens Park, playing games and having a picnic. They came back in the evening and they’d all the seats to take out and put back in the chapel.

As well as that we used to have two or three boats with coal every week unloading into the Gas House retort at the bottom and it was took up by buckets on an escalator.

I think there were about 60 tons on those boats and it used to take two of them a full day going up and down these planks with the barrows of coal.

Another thing I remember was the fishing on the stretch from Highgate Settings bridge to the Lound. It was well known for fishing competitions.

They used to come from all over Lancashire, generally on a Sunday and there were some top prizes - sometimes a bedroom suite or a suite of household furniture.

They also used to have a barrel of beer on the stocks and it was served all day. They were allotted their place along the bank and us boys used to walk along and watch them at the banks for the weigh-in.

I’ve seen them, when there were no judges about, putting sinkers down the mouth of the fish to make that little bit of extra weight for the prize.