Calne Wordfest
14. The Wharf

Continue to the end of Church Street and, with the library on your right, cross the A4 at the light-controlled crossing. On the opposite pavement turn left and take the inner path along The Wharf (there is a ramp down to this path for wheelchair users and buggies).

The extension of the Wiltshire and Berkshire Canal to the centre of Calne by canalising the River Marden was completed in 1802. Barges came up to the Wharf behind the town mill, a site now occupied by the Town Hall. An official known as the wharfinger managed the canal traffic and a building with warehouses was erected for his accommodation. This handsome, sandstone building at the end of The Wharf is now known as Marden House and serves as a community venue. It was renovated in 1988.

Children were attracted to the canal around the wharf as an area to play and fish. Inevitably some fell into the water.

James Brinkworth, owner of Calne Brickworks, worked in an office on the Wharf. Between 1862 and 1864 he rescued 7 children from drowning in the canal and was awarded a certificate of merit from the Royal Humane Society for his brave actions.