They’ve been part of my life
AFTER reading the various letters in your newspaper about Roswell Pits, I feel I must write to you with my memories. I was born in Ely in 1935, and have lived here all my life. I was taken as a child by my parents for walks down the pits. As a schoolboy,
AFTER reading the various letters in your newspaper about Roswell Pits, I feel I must write to you with my memories.
I was born in Ely in 1935, and have lived here all my life. I was taken as a child by my parents for walks down the pits. As a schoolboy, I played down there with my friends. When I became a father myself I took my own children down there and when I became a dog owner I took my dog for walks down the pits.
In my younger days, the pits were a busy industrial area with steel barges being made and repaired on the slipway and lock gates constructed in the workshops. There were strings of barges towed by tugs in and out of the big collecting gaunt which were dredged by dragline.
Lorries loaded with gault were also going backwards and forwards. There were two floating cranes in the pits a narrow gauge railway was stored there.
When dredging stopped in the big pit in 1950, the small pit to the right of the road was dug and gault was taken from there in a small way until 1975. It was a proper bridge under the road then.
As for the age of the pits, look in the book of old Ely by Reg Holmes and Mike Rouse and you will see a photograph of Roswell Pits taken around 1885 with a caption stating that they had been in existence for three centuries, so I don't think anyone in Ely could possibly remember them being a grass field!
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When they ceased being an industrial site, nature took over and made them the haven for wild life that they are today.
They are pits, not lakes and the material taken from them is gault, not clay.