Water Gypsies: A History of Life on Britain's Rivers and Canals

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Water Gypsies: A History of Life on Britain's Rivers and Canals

Water Gypsies: A History of Life on Britain's Rivers and Canals

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At the start of this age, canals were built by groups of private individuals with an interest in improving communications. In Staffordshire the potter Josiah Wedgwood saw an opportunity to bring bulky cargoes of clay to his factory doors, and to minimise breakages of his fragile finished goods as they travelled to market. Within just a few years an embryonic national canal network came into being. [13] Well written, exciting and a brilliant historical / period novel which evokes a wonderful spirit of a time past. Main trade for keels was merchandise and raw materials from Hull to the industrial towns and cities. The return cargoes included coal, pitch, slag, steel and other finished products. Sometimes we loaded a cargo of Trent sand and gravel dredged from the bed of the river by hand; the skipper would pay all expenses and when loaded the cargo belonged to him. He would then sell it to the best market, his customers being corporations, builders’ merchants and contractors.

British Waterways began to see the economic and social potential of canalside development, and moved from hostility towards restoration, through neutrality, towards a supportive stance. While British Waterways was broadly supportive of restoration, its official policy was that it would not take on the support of newly restored navigations unless they came with a sufficient dowry to pay for their ongoing upkeep. In effect, this meant either reclassifying the Remainder Waterway as a Cruising Waterway or entering into an agreement for another body to maintain the waterway. [17] Today the great majority of canals in England and Wales are managed by the Canal & River Trust which, unlike its predecessor British Waterways, tries to have a more positive view of canal restoration and in some cases actively supports ongoing restoration projects such as the restoration projects on the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal and the Grantham Canal.

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Census - Age 37, a Provision Dealer, living at Queen Street, Thorne with wife Frances,37, (assisting in business) Frances,15, James,11, Zenny,8, Thomas,6, and Cicely Maud,1.Details on census- Married 17 years, 7 children, 6 of whom were living and 1 dead. The sound of someone hailing 'Keel – a – hoy. Are you there, Captain? Come ahead with that keel' faded away about 1940. He [Mr Johnson] has painted a completely different picture. I can’t understand where he is coming from.

this item as been sent in BY his granddaughter judith Porter who has researched the family history for over 20 years has spent his working life in Humber keels, a craft now gone from the rivers and canals of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Learn more about Britain’s waterways

The gypsies used to haggle and fight like mad; we used to keep well away because, when they got really mad, they used to throw knives at each other and many were badly hurt. His memorial certificate (CWGC) describes him as Sergeant James Alfred Oliver. (Company Quartermaster Sergeant) Service Number- WR/501333, Inland Water Transport, Royal Engineers.

Tony Latham, 52, grew up in Hull and has spent most of his life living on boats travelling across Europe. He returned to the city five years ago on his work boat Castille and says things have certainly changed over the years. My family lived in Owston Ferry and my g grandfather is listed on the 1891 census as being on board a Hull Keel tied up at Owston. He was a master mariner and his son was crew. In March 1926 a disaster shook the town of Thorne. I had a cousin, called Maria after my mother. She spent a lot of weekends with us at Waterside. My aunt, her mother, had quite a large family – eight in all – and Maria she enjoyed being at Waterside. They had only a small house and she felt 'penned in' as she called it. She got to know a boy called Charlie Walton, and it was not long before they were married. They were devoted to one another, and came together to see us often. They had been married nearly ten years before news came that she was expecting a baby. After that crochet needles were never still. In the early 1900s the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Canal was alive with these small craft, loaded with all kinds of merchandise and minerals, hailing from Thorne, Stainforth, Hull, Goole, Beverley – in fact, lots of small villages on the banks of the Ouse, Hull and Trent, and navigations connecting them. It was a fine sight to see these craft in June, around Thorne Fair time, when standing on the canal bank. At Thorne, the keels lay moored there with their burgees, and bunting flying. Men were painting and fettling them, and getting things ship-shape. Same with narrowboat painting. Dutton quotes Rolt, (who had similarly over-romanticised views) who was convinced that the progenitor of narrowboat art was gypsy caravans. But if one bothers to read Flowers Afloat: Folk Artists of the Canals Hardcover – by Tony Lewery - then it's clear that there were many influences on narrowboat painting, including popular Victorian mass produced pictures, pottery designs, painted tea trays, etc.

Whatever has impelled people to leave behind ‘ordinary life’ and take to the water, the history of the houseboat is an evolution from necessity to choice, and tracing its line all the way from the fisherfolk of ancient times to the bohemian artists and writers of post-war England and beyond, to the current wave of some 30,000 liveaboards, is to delineate a unique and fascinating seam of British history. In almost every history book, living and working afloat achieves at most only a passing mention, despite being an important part of British life for centuries. There are numerous works on the history of canals and rivers, yet most focus exclusively on the economic and industrial dimension; none tell the complete social history of the life and lore of those hundreds of thousands of Britons who over the past two millennia and beyond have spent their lives adrift. Many different varieties of boats were used on the canals. They included cabin cruisers, fly-boats, Humber Keels, Mersey Flats, narrowboats, trows, sloops and tub boats. The Industrial Revolution [ edit ] The Sankey Canal as viewed from Spike Island in Widnes The Bridgewater Canal The Anderton Boat Lift



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