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Monday, 26 May 2008

Lancaster - Kendal canal, Hincaster

Throughout my early life my family and I used to go to France every few years to visit the grave of my Grandfather, killed in 1918. As a hippy boy in the '60s I called to say 'hello' on a couple of occasions as I set off on my travels to eastern climes. But few others did. At that time the Great War, and its memorials, were largely ignored or forgotten, their origins laid over with another terrible war. Then the tide changed and that amazing generation of 14 - 18 became honoured again and their memorials rediscovered - or at least, most were, but not all!

When researching these things at Lancaster one memorial emerged almost by accident. I put out a mail drop to all parish councils in South Lakes and got two replies. One was from Hincaster, south of Kendal. This informed me that on the western bank of the Lancaster canal alongside the former basin at the northern end of the Hincaster tunnel there was a line of Sweet Chestnut trees that were planted in memory of men killed in the Great War.

But who do they commemorate? Canal Company men? Who Planted them, why & when?
I have no answers to these questions. The Lancaster Canal Company was apparently purchased by the London & North Western Railway Company in the 1870s(?). So do these trees commemorate canal or railway men? Or do they commemorate bargees who lived on the cut?
Mr Arboretum, the tree man at South Lakeland District Council, might be willing to put a tree preservation order on them if their status as memorials can be substantiated, but he cannot do it simply on hearsay, which is all there is at present.

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