Skip Navigation

Welcome to Bedford Borough Council

Home > Community Histories > Linslade > Canal Workers in the 1861 Census

Canal Workers in the 1861 Census

Site of Whichellos Wharf seen from Leighton Road bridge October 2008
The site of Whichellos Wharf seen from Leighton Road bridge October 2008

The following references to canal workers come from the 1861 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. Whichello's Wharf lay on the west bank of the canal north of the road, now immediately opposite the Tesco supermarket and its car park. The coal yard is probably at Brantom's Wharf which lay east of the canal and south of the Leighton Road between Grand Union House and the canal. Railway Wharf also lay east of the canal but much further south, opposite what is now Tiddenfoot Waterside Park. Linslade Lock lies just off the northernmost point of Bossington Lane.

For the first time the occupants of the various boats berthed in Linslade at the time of the census are listed.


  • Royal Oak - Thomas Barrett, 53, timber merchant, Clifton [Warwickshire]
  • Royal Oak - John Cashmere, 15, assistant, Hillmorton [Warwickshire]
  • Antelope - James Curtis, 60, timber merchant, Brinklow [Warwickshire]
  • Antelope - John Holt, 21, assistant, "Whillery" [Willoughby?] [Lincolnshire]
  • unnamed - James Fox, 45, boatman, Wigston [Leicestershire]
  • unnamed - Isaac Powell, 23, boatman, Linslade
  • unnamed - James Lloyd, 14, boatman, Blisworth [Northamptonshire]
  • unnamed - Thomas Smith, 68, boatman, Chiswick [Middlesex]
  • unnamed - Joseph Hodgin, 14, boatman, Linslade

Boat House

  • George Parkley, 53, assistant toll clerk, Paddington [Middlesex]


  • John Brotherton, 60, day labourer wharfinger, Newport Pagnell [Buckinghamshire]

Canal Lock House

  • John S.Hollyer, 46, toll clerk on Grand Junction Canal, Commercial Road [Middlesex]

Charity Wharf

  • William Wesley, 37, labourer wharf, Slapton [Buckinghamshire]
  • John Faulkner, 25, wharfingers' manager, Linslade
  • George Fall, 36, boatman, Braunston [Northamptonshire]
  • William Fall, 12, boatman, Leicester
  • Alfred Buck, 25, boatman, Boxmoor [Hertfordshire] "visitor"
  • John Buck, 17, boatman, Boxmoor "visitor"

Coal Yard, Leighton Road

  • Thomas Ellis, 51, wharfinger clerk, Leicester
  • William G.Laker, 40, accountant, Rochester [Kent]

Ledburn Road

  • John Baylis, 25, wharf labourer, Oxford

Old Road

  • Jane Birey [?], 22, boatman's wife, Linslade

Railway Wharf

  • Richard Turney, 44, coal merchant, Leighton Buzzard
  • James Turney, 21, clerk at coal wharf, Linslade

Soulbury Road

  • Thomas Hubbins, 47, labourer wharfinger, Eaton Bray


  • William Redhead, 38, boatman, Hillmorton [Warwickshire]

Whichellos Wharf Yard

  • James Mobley, 32, wharfinger's clerk, Dunstable

Wing Road

  • William Preston, 19, wharf labourer, Twowaters, Boxmoor [Hertfordshire]
  • John Hawkins, 45, wharf labourer, Ivinghoe [Buckinghamshire]
  • William Pebody, 26, journeyman boat builder, Linslade
  • Ellen Powell, 29, boatman's wife, Smethwick [Staffordshire]
  • John Bishop, 25, boatman, Hertfordshire
  • John Powell, 64, boatman, Leighton Buzzard
  • Sarah Powell, 28, boatman's wife, Leighton Buzzard
  • George Thomas, 45, boatman, Wing [Buckinghamshire]
  • Joseph Blundell, 38, day labourer on canal, Simpson [Buckinghamshire]
  • Francis Faulkner, 16, day labourer on canal, Linslade 

Total: 37 including 3 wives and 2 visitors - 28 on shore, 9 on boats
13 boatmen (including 2 visitors)
8 labourers
5 clerks
3 boatmen's wives
3 merchants
2 assistants
1 boat builder
1 accountant
1 manager