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Canal Workers in The 1851 Census

Lock Keepers Cottage October 2008
Lock Keeper's Cottage October 2008

The following references to canal workers come from the 1851 Census return for Linslade. Clearly some canal workers on the Linslade stretch would live elsewhere but these figures show the impact on Linslade.

Charity Wharf lay on the west bank of the canal in the area recently redeveloped for housing known as The Wharf. Lawford's Wharf was later known as Brantom's Wharf and lay on the east bank of the canal just south of the road, between Grand Union House and the canal. Linslade Lock lies just off the northernmost point of Bossington Lane.

As can be seen the personnel have risen from three noted in 1841 to 22; however, this may in large part be accounted for by the more diligent undertaking of the 1851 census.


  • William Readhead, 28, boatman, Hillmorton [Warwickshire]

Charity Wharf

  • John Preston, 33, agent for hay salesman, Wigston [Leicestershire]

Clay Cross Wharf

  • Richard Turney, 34, coal agent, Leighton Buzzard

Lawford's Wharf

  • Thomas Forrest, 65, accountant, York
  • Thomas Ellis, 41, wharfinger's clerk, Leicester
  • William Ellis, 15, coal porter, Leighton Buzzard
  • Henry Mason, 21, coal porter, Saint Marylebone [Middlesex]

Linslade Lock

  • John Samuel Hollyer, 37, toll clerk on Grand Union Canal, Saint Catherine's [Middlesex]
  • Samuel Gilbert, 37, lock keeper, Leighton Buzzard
  • Joseph Steven Faulkner, 27, toll clerk's assistant, Linslade New Town

Old Road

  • James Betts, 41, boatman, Leighton Buzzard
  • Mathew Hodgins, 40, boatman, Linslade
  • William Hodgins, 18, boatman, Cosgrove [Northamptonshire]
  • Edwin Hodgins, 10, boatman, driver [of the horse], Linslade


  • Samuel Quick, 35, labourer at coal wharf, Linslade

Wing Road

  • Joseph Hitchman, 35, canal labourer, Henley-on-Thames [Oxfordshire]
  • Joseph Blundell, 28, canal labourer, Simpson [Buckinghamshire]
  • James Powell, 27, boatman, Leighton Buzzard
  • John Powell, 57, boatman, Stony Stratford [Buckinghamshire]
  • Thomas Smith, 57, boatman, London
  • Joseph Pebody, 43, boat builder, Bedford
  • James Mobley, 22, wharfinger, Dunstable  

Total: 22
8 boatmen
3 clerks and assistants
3 labourers
2 agents
2 coal porter
1 accountant
1 boat builder
1 lock keeper
1 wharfinger