Weekly Photo Challenge: Eerie

Just beneath Workhouse Bridge on the Trent & Mersey Canal in the centre of Stone, stands the wooden carving of Christina Collins.  It is easily missed, the carving eerily mixes with the textures of a stone wall and the undergrowth – as in life, Christina blends into the background until one dreadful night in June 1839.

The narrowboats that plied the Trent & Mersey would carry the occasional passenger, fares being cheaper than travelling by coach due to the slow journey times.  Christina boarded a boat heading south from Preston Brook, bound for London to meet her husband. This from the nearby information board:

“After leaving Stoke the three boat men and a boy started to drink heavily and when they reached Stone Mrs Collins told Hugh Cordwell at the Toll Office that she feared the men would “meddle” with her. He told her to report the men at the end of the journey.  The following day Christina’s body was found in the canal near Rugeley.  She had been raped and her body thrown overboard.  Two of the men were hung for murder at Stafford and the third transported.”

Christina Collins


  1. Greg Urbano · November 3, 2013

    Sad tale captured nicely in your image.

    • northumbrianlight · November 3, 2013

      Thanks Greg – even across the centuries it remains a sad and poignant story.

  2. Tina Schell · November 3, 2013

    Oh my, creepy from start to finish. Good entry!

    • northumbrianlight · November 3, 2013

      Thanks Tina – there is more – 20 miles south by canal is where Christina was found; she is immortalised again by the “bloody steps”, a flight of stone stairs used to carry her to rest at a nearby inn. A spooky tale.

  3. LaVagabonde · November 3, 2013

    Sad. Women have always had to fear this kind of thing when traveling alone. I guess I’m a pessimist, but I doubt it will ever change. The carving is an eerily beautiful tribute to her. You really nailed the photo challenge, Robin!

    • northumbrianlight · November 3, 2013

      Many thanks Julie, much appreciated. It is a too sad story somehow made worse by the desperate circumstances. Working narrowboats of the 1800s would have been wholly ill-suited for carrying passengers with no space for privacy or security, bearing in mind the journey from Preston Brook to London would have taken at least a week.

  4. Meanderer · November 3, 2013

    How poignant.

    • northumbrianlight · November 3, 2013

      Exactly the right description – I was typing that word in response to another comment when yours appeared – very eerie 🙂

      • Meanderer · November 4, 2013

        That is a strange coincidence!

  5. mybeautfulthings · November 3, 2013

    What a terrible story, captured in your eerie photo and your words.

    • northumbrianlight · November 3, 2013

      It is such an understated and discreet monument it is all too easy to pass it by – just like poor Christina. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

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  10. gingerfightback · November 4, 2013

    Heartbreaking story and a remarkable image

  11. tms · November 4, 2013

    Whoa – that is eerie!

    • northumbrianlight · November 4, 2013

      It is – coming across that carving on a dim winter’s day on the canal is quite disturbing – you look more than once just to believe what you are seeing. There are no markers or signposts to explain other than a general information board some distance away.

  12. Malin H · November 6, 2013

    So sad…

    • northumbrianlight · November 6, 2013

      It is and it still resonates across the centuries.

      • Malin H · November 6, 2013

        Very much, yes.

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