Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Glasson Dock and The Stork at Condor Green

The other week on my way back from viewing the remains of the Space Tower ride at Morecambe, I stopped at a pub that I must have passed over a hundred times without ever stepping inside.

The Stork at Condor Green sits on a bend, thus enabling it to face the oncoming traffic over the humpbacked bridge over the River Condor. It places an obstacle in the road as far as drivers are concerned, for the road bends to the right in front of it and then sharply to the left to bypass it and carry on into Lancaster just three and a half miles away.

The pub and B&B haven't changed in appearance, certainly since the 1970s which is when I took my earliest photo of it in glorious monochrome and I suspect it has looked the same for a good many years prior to that. The old coaching inn dates back to the time of Charles II - I'm sure he must have popped up all the time to get away from Great Fires and the constant pestering of Sammy Pepys for "any juicy tit-bits for the diary, your majesty...?" The wrought iron figure of a stork with outspread wings sits now as it did then (the 1970s not the 1660s...) over the doorway to the pub.

I didn't have anything more exciting than a tuna sandwich but my eye caught various bits on the menu like "Bobotie" and signs hung on walls showing the way to the "Braii / BBQ" and asking the young barman confirmed that it is owned by a South African. Not sure about the bobotie and if I'm ever offered Rooibos tea I run a mile I'm afraid, but the sandwich was excellent as was the beer that I ordered with it and I think a second visit must be undertaken at some near point!

Not visited on this occasion, but a regular afternoon out haunt of the late 1970s was the nearby Glasson Dock. I suspect it doesn't get as busy as I remember it in those days and the floating cafe, the Ba-Ba-Gee, on the side of the marina is long gone.

Glasson Dock is not as old as it might appear. It didn't exist at all until the 1780s when the River Lune up to Lancaster started to silt up and they built this dock here just a short distance from the river mouth and the Irish Sea. A set of lock gates against the river ensured that ships could stay afloat in the dock when the tide went out and when the canal was built ten years later a branch was built with more locks allowing the passing of ships from sea into the canal system. Here we see the lock between the dock itself and the canal basin and marina.

You would normally expect to see a sizeable town grow up around a dock, but the fact that schooners could enter the dock and then sail along the canals to Lancaster or even Preston meant that there were no vast requirements for employment of men and Glasson Dock remains a small village.

And amongst my photos of 1977, here is Miss Franny standing guard over the MacLaren buggy which holds our baby, Gillian.

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