William Bird's Carp

Leicester Evening Mail 15.11.1952

With a 10lb. carp lashing about in the bath at his home in Coleorton, near Coalville, Mr. W. Bird has found that the compleat angler can be a very worried man.

Mr. Bird wants the fish – prize catch of his life - to be adopted by someone with an ornamental pool. Meanwhile, it dominates the household, monopolises the bath and draws a steady steam of astonished visitors. The saga of Mr. Bird started at the old Bug and Wink reservoir. The water had been partly pumped out and the swimming area for the fish reduced. In the battle that followed the carp’s bite, Mr. Bird was pulled into the mud ruining his sports jacket and flannels. When he finally landed it, he wrapped it in a sack, ran home and popped it in the bath. Then he changed into his football kit and added to his sporting prowess by scoring two goals for Coleorton Rovers. After the match he tried to weigh the carp in a bucket, but refreshed by the crystal tap water after the muddy pool the carp tried to jump through the bathroom window. Assessing its weight by the 2ft. length Mr Bird calculates it is a ten pounder. Of his growing problem Mr. Bird said to an Evening Mail reporter:

“It is a beautiful fish, I can't put it back in the reservoir because the water is so low. Anyone with a big aquarium or pool can have it, but I want it to go to a good home, and I don't want to see it stuffed”

The next day an article appeared in the same newspaper announcing that the lucky fish was being offered a new home in an aquarium at Leicester Museum. No doubt much to the delight of Mrs Bird and the rest of the family who could now have access to their bathroom again.


In 1952 work began on the redundant Bug and Wink Colliery site at the end of Pitt Lane to sink a 1 in 4 gradient drift (or footrail as it was known locally) connecting to the New Lount Colliery, its purpose being to improve ventilation and access to Lount Colliery itself. As part of this work the reservoir on the Bug and Wink site, which had once been part of the water management system for the old colliery, was drained. According to the Journal of Henry Williamson, a local diarist, during this process more than one large fish was revealed including one of 14 pounds caught by Tom Brooks that went to George Neal, landlord of the Kings Arms. The Bug and Wink colliery site was cleared in the 1970s for return to agriculture and later in 1991/2 planted with trees to create the present day Coleorton Wood and nature reserve.

Coleorton Drift 1952

Construction of the Coleorton drift 1952

Compiled by: Terry Ward

Published in Community Voice magazine January 2023.

Articles by Coleorton Heritage Group members