A History of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal
by Michael and Peter Fox
This was another of those speculative purchases, on this occasion trawled from the inland waterways box of the WRG's stall at the Chesterfield Canal Festival.
My search is always for the interesting and obscure, but anything covering the Huddersfield Narrow tends to catch my eye. You all know my fascination with this unique canal!
So I enthusiastically grabbed this 60 page Huddersfield Canal Society booklet published, I would guess, in about 1988 (I can't see a date).
Whilst I have previously read a very comprehensive history of the canal, and its rebirth, this one is both shorter, different, and in many ways better. It is divided into four distinct sections:
1. The beginnings of the canal
2. The making of then canal
3. The working years
4. Revival and restoration
This author uses masses of original source material, which really bring the story to life. I was particularly gripped by the account of the tunnel which still stands as one of the Inland Waterway's greatest triumphs. There are accounts of the plans, the setbacks, bugdet problems, changes of engineer and somewhat sadly, a tally of the traffic carried in the later years as through traffic spluttered to a halt after which the bore stood silent and empty for decades.
Perhaps the best bit about the booklet is the lovely collection of black and white photos it contains. My favourite is a moody shot of the Marsden portal at the turn of the century, set in the context of the three railway tunnels it helped create. This is just a sample image - its well worth getting a copy for the rest.