Bawtry Wharf in 1700 by Margaret Clarkson

Bawtry Wharf in about 1700

Signed Limited Edition Print by Margaret Clarkson

One of an edition of 75 prints . Each print is signed and numbered with artists remarque.

“Bawtry wharf in about 1700” – The Story behind the Painting

Every major road into Bawtry used to have a sign saying “Welcome to Bawtry – 12th century port”. This confused people because there was no river in the town, let alone a port.

In fact, the River Idle used to loop into the edge of town, and the wharf was just behind St Nicholas church. Bawtry was one of England’s busiest inland ports, certainly since medieval times and possibly earlier. It was probably at its peak in 1700, but was still going at the start of the 19th century. It closed in 1857 when the existing railway viaduct was built and caused the river to be diverted away from the town.

Bawtry wharf served agriculture and industry in the region, notably the West Riding, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. A wide array of goods were carried to Bawtry by carts and pack mules – lead, cast and wrought iron, edged tools, millstones, coal, timber, cereals, wool, cloth and animal hides. They would be loaded into sailing barges at the wharf, and shipped to Hull via the Trent and Humber. From there, they were trans-shipped to London, the Low Countries, the Baltic, and Scandinavia. “Imports” included iron ore, copper, tin, flax, hemp and timber.

Bawtry Heritage Group decided to try to bring this crucial part of Bawtry’s history alive by commissioning a painting from Margaret Clarkson to show what the wharf would have looked like in around 1700. What is shown in the painting is historically accurate – the barges, ox and mule carts, the crane, a warehouse with a “taking-in” door at its first floor, the scales, an excise man. A millstone is being loaded into the barge. The position of St Nicholas church on the right is accurate. The “Wharf Tavern” on the left is our invention – but probably a reasonable one.

David Kirkham, Chair of Bawtry Heritage Group –


Additional Information
Artist  : Margaret Clarkson
Subject  :
  • Figurative
  • Nostalgia
Medium  : Watercolour
Edition Size  : 75
Image Size  : 350mm x 230mm (14" x 9")
Mounted  :
Framed  :
SKU: 059MC112
About the Artist
Margaret was born in 1941 in Rotherham and feels, as do many people in this age group, that the austerity of the 1940s and 50s created its own visual and emotional ethos that is both unique and memorable. Many people regard the 1940s and 50s as the ‘good old days’ whether or not they really were. Materially I suppose, we had very little, but our daily lives were rich with activity and detail. I like to recreate the mood of that post-war era. Margaret was an art teacher for many years in South Yorkshire, after training at Rotherham School of Art and Bromley College of Art. She has had several exhibitions; done commissions for book illustration; her prints have been used in regional and national magazines; her original paintings, limited edition prints and greetings cards are sold in over 200 galleries throughout Britain. A member of the Fine Art Trade Guild for several years, Margaret was a finalist in the Best Selling Published Artist awards in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Since she retired from teaching, there has been more time to produce her work, while her husband, Mac, does much of the publicity and promotion. Margaret is one of the top-selling artists in Britain, with her work being described as a powerful historical record of working class households in the post-war era. Her original watercolours and limited edition prints are a reminder of that time; they make people smile and are highly collectable. "Most of the ideas I have come from my childhood. I don’t know whether I was really observant but the detail and atmosphere seems to have been etched on my memory – which is extremely useful now!" Most of our Artists are able to do commission pieces, also if you see a painting that is sold they will be more than happy to do something similar for you. Please contact us for more information.


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