Working life on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.

Black and white photo of boatmen on a workboat Working life on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Several generations of boatmen’s families worked specific stretches of the canal.  

Some families were involved in the construction of the canal and became boatmen when it was finished. The work was hard, especially when the canal was frozen for weeks in winter.

Boatmen could often be away for several weeks at a time. The canal community was close knit, often living in self-contained communities beside the canal.

The traditional crew was master and mate, and if money was short the mate might be the wife or child. The mate would live in the bow cabin, but often ate with the captain’s family in the stern.

Cabin space became even more limited when steam engines were introduced.

There was little time for recreation and crews and families took whatever chance they could to share stories and have fun.

Independent boat owners.

Short boat carrying capacity.

Frozen Locks.

Ice Breaking.

Last commercial traffic.

Details of Bingley to Saltaire trail app

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Last date edited: 20 July 2015