The drains in this part of the fen were constructed to allow horse-drawn boats to use them. So it was possible to bring building materials in and also take local produce out to market.
When New Bolingbroke was being built a new length of drain was cut to link it to the Medlam Drain to the east of the settlement. At the New Bolingbroke end it was completed with a wide â€˜basinâ€™ section to allow for boats - perhaps two or three at a time - to load and unload and turn around.
By 1835 there was a daily (except Sundays) passenger boat leaving the basin for Boston at 7.30 am; and on Wednesdays a boat carrying local produce for Boston market left at 7.00 am. The last mention of boatmen is 1878.
New Bolingbroke can still be accessed by modern narrow boats from the river Witham via Antonâ€™s Gowt, the canal being part of the Witham Navigable Drains.
However, the canal had to be culverted in the 1960s where a new farm track crossed the canal about 70m east of the man road. As a result, the truncated basin was cut off from the Medlam Drain and waterway system.
Jean Howard, April 2023