Tuesday 25 November 2008

The Inland Waterways of England

Book Review
The Inland Waterways of England by LTC Rolt

Woa Captain, you are entering deep and turbulent waters here. You cant go criticising the late great Mr Rolt himself, founder and single handed savior of all things canal.

Rest assured that I am not about to do a knocking job on this, or its companion, Narrowboat.

Mr Rolt's impact is undeniable, but he aint God neither. People tend to glorify the the past and its this that really gets up my nose. There's only one God, and he resides up above, a nd probably has as much interest in the preservation of some muddy ditches in England as he has over the results of the next World Cup.

This pair of books have been on my shelves since the 1970's, bought by my father (Captain Snr) and served as an inspiration for his relentless cruising during the dark days of the 1970's.

This book is a technical manual about the evolution of waterways from the earliest of rivers through to the canal era. It also provides detailed information on the construction of locks, weirs, bridges etc together with sections on boat building, boat people, motive power and top tips on water travel. The style is blatantly dated as is the "Pathe News" clipped language, but as the canals don't change much, the contents of this book are as relevant and useful as they were when written in the 1940's.

I have read this book at least three times and continue to unearth gems I had previously missed. Its not the easiest read but is a "must have" item as it represents a watery right of passage from interested participant to enthusiast.

ISBN 004 386006 0

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