Waterways Journal

Waterways Journal is published annually and has been put together by volunteers at the museum for many years.

Waterways Journal Volume 23

Each edition covers interesting and varied subject topics, often the product of years of research by the authors.  Halfway between a magazine type article and a technical research paper, they bring to life the stories of canal life over the years.


The origins of the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port 1970 – 1974: Cath Turpin

It was in September 1970 that a small group of canal enthusiasts met together to discuss setting up an Inland Waterways museum in north west England. Initially it was intended to be at Preston Brook, at the junction of the Bridgewater and Trent and Mersey canals, but over the succeeding four years, plans and objectives changed. This article tells the convoluted story of how Ellesmere Port was eventually chosen to house what is now the National Waterways Museum.

Wirral Cruising Club Part 2: Joseph Boughey

In Waterways Journal Volume 22, Joseph described the origins of the Wirral Cruising Club, an early but small, short lived organisation based at Ellesmere Port. Here he completes the story, putting this club within the context of private canal boat ownership in the early 1950s, at the beginning of the leisure use of the canals.

A new woman on the waterways: Sara Jeanette Duncan (1861-1922): Jodie Matthews

Jodie takes the novel ‘Two Girls on a Barge’, published in 1891, and looks at it from the cultural context of late Victorian attitudes to women’s roles in society. Illustrated by copious drawings by F.H. Townsend, it tells of a voyage from Paddington to Coventry aboard a converted working narrow boat, the “Industrious”.  Another, even earlier use of canals for leisure, but by people who had a completely different agenda to people who owned their own craft.

Early River Mersey Passenger Steamers up to circa 1840: Terry Kavanagh

Terry returns to his interest in early paddle steamers which used to work on the River Mersey from Liverpool to Seacombe, Runcorn, Eastham, Ellesmere Port and Chester. He uses contemporary newspaper accounts of incidents and the dangers of navigating this busy waterway in the first half of the nineteenth century.

Norman Anglin – a postscript 2020: Joseph Boughey

Norman Anglin, an early precursor of L.T.C. Rolt lived on a converted narrow boat, the “Russian” and by the end of the first part of this account in volume 15 of Waterways Journal the boat had seemingly been abandoned at Pershore. In this postscript, Joseph continues the story into the 1930s and includes reference to meeting Cyril Herbert Smith, who also wrote of his travels on the Avon in pre-war years.

Addendum - Buns and Ginger Beer: Alan Jones

As a follow-up to his article in Waterways Journal, Volume 22, Alan has found an account in local newspapers of an event which brought much pleasure to children from Preston Brook in 1854.

Buy a copy

If you would like to order a copy of Waterways Journal please telephone the museum on 0151 355 5017 during opening hours making payment by debit/credit card or send your written request and cheque, made payable to “Canal & River Trust” to National Waterways Museum, Waterways Journal, South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port CH65 4FW.  

Purchases can also be made in the museum shop open Monday to Sunday from 10.00am to 4.00pm.

The prices, including P&P are listed below: –

Volume 1 – £7.95
Volumes 5,7,8,9 and 10 – £7.99
Volumes 11 to 17 – £8.99
Volumes 18 to 20 – £9.99
Volume 21 onwards – £10.99

Please note that Volumes 2, 3, 4 and 6 are now out of print.  However, if you are interested in receiving a pdf copy of these editions, this can be arranged by contacting the museum.

Previous editions

Volume 22
Bridgewater Boat Building at Bangor–on-Dee, Part 2: Paul Sillitoe
Preston Brook: mission boats, school boats. Evidence and conjecture. Some observations on a canal company’s involvement with them in the 19th century: Alan Jones
Pleasure boating in the Mersey area in the 1950s – the case of the Wirral Cruising Club: Part 1: Joseph Boughey
The Company Minutes of Thomas Clayton (Oldbury) Ltd: Cath Turpin
The City Road Basin and its people in the 19th century: Giles Ayre

Volume 21
Bridgewater boat-building at Bangor-on-Dee: Paul Sillitoe.
Vessels operated by the Chester Leadworks: Terry Kavanagh.
The Manchester Ship Canal hospital at Ellesmere Port: Nigel Rose and Carl Collier
The Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation Company: a voyage from the archive: Jonathan Pepler
The latest news from the Waterways Archive: Linda Barley & John Benson.

Volume 20
Traffic on the Upper Dee: Terry Kavanagh.
Nationalisation and inland waterways: Joseph Boughey.
British Waterways’ early involvement in leisure craft: Cath Turpin.
The Development of the Waterways Archive at Ellesmere Port.
The Big Lift.

Volume 19
“Little Ventured: Little Gained”: Dee Navigation improvement plans between 1836 and 1854: David Parry.
The Patent Slip and Associated Buildings at Ellesmere Port – Hannah Holmes.
Steam on the River Weaver Navigation: Terry Kavanagh.
Holt Abbott – a pioneer in canal cruiser design and hire boat operation: David Brown and Angela Clark.
John Wilkinson, his role in the ore trade: Peter Sandbach
Tilbury: A correction from Richard Thomas

Volume 18
Construction and engineering staff on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal – Mike Clarke
The British Ambulance Flotillas of the Great War – David Long
Amaryllis and the rise of Pleasure Boating on Britain’s Canals – Joseph Boughey.
Commercial Steam on Inland Navigations – Terry Kavanagh
Kingsholme and Ilesha – a correction

Volume 17
John Fletcher of Chester, Peter Brown.
Sea Routes to Wolverhampton between the 1820s and the early 20th century, Peter Sandbach.
Fire Boats on the Inland Waterways in WW2, Cath Turpin.
The story of Charlotte Ethel Parkes.
Postscript on Shropshire Union Pleasure Boating, Joseph Boughey.

Volume 16
Robert Aickman and the ‘garish Wild West melodrama of the campaign for the waterways’, Joseph Boughey.
Concrete boats & barges – Solutions for Wartime Steel Shortages, David Long.
Box Boat 337 – A rare survivor restored, Di Skilbeck.
Richard Abel & Sons, of Runcorn and Liverpool, Terry Kavanagh.

Volume 15
Tugs of the ‘Norwich River’- a personal reminiscence, Mike Stammers
The Tug/Tender Ralph Brocklebank, and its conversion to Daniel Adamson, Tony Hirst
Norman Anglin, Predecessor to L T C Rolt, 1925-1944, Joseph Boughey
The Griffiths Family – Boatmen, Canal Carriers, Boat Builders, Publicans, Farmers, and
Shopkeepers, Eileen Coulter
Ship and Boat Building at Ellesmere Port: A History, Terry Kavanagh

Volume 14
The Wolverhampton Corrugated Iron Company of Ellesmere Port, Cath Turpin
Chester and Liverpool Lighterage and Warehousing Company, Alan Faulkner
Rover Scouts’ Cruises on Tangmere 1933 and 1934, Alan Jones
The Draper Family of Foulridge, Mike Clarke and Timothy J Peters
The Chew family – A Follow up, Chew family members with Cath Turpin

Volume 13
Two Centuries of Boatbuilding – The Story of the Taylor Family – a Boatbuilding Dynasty in England and Canada, Geoff Taylor
Market Boats, Tom Foxon
George III and canals – A Comparison of English and French Philosophies of Canal Construction in the 18th Century: King George III in Gloucestershire, T. J. Peters
The Cut Runner – A history of policing on the canals and inland waterways, Graham Major
Waterways between East and West Europe: a history to 1930, Mike Clarke

Volume 12
L T C Rolt Waterways, Conservation and Writing: (1910-1974), Joseph Boughey
Transport in the Chester Area in the early nineteenth century, John Herson
A Leeds and Liverpool Canal Boatyard: Hodson’s of Whitebirk, Mike Clarke
Transport of Gas Tar and associated liquid cargoes by Inland Waterways, Cath Turpin

Volume 11
The River Weaver Navigation, a proud Engineering Tradition, Colin Edmondson
Aspects of family boating on the Shropshire union Canal, Terry Kavanagh
Early narrow boats on the Thames – a follow up, David Blagrove
BCN tugs, Bowaters and Chance & Hunt, Martin O’Keefe
Complete list of Chance and Hunt fleet to accompany volume 11 can be downloaded as a pdf file.

Volume 10
The Rochdale Canal and its carrying department, Mike Clarke
The waterways of Central Scotland and the craft that used them, John R Hume
The early history of Runcorn Docks 1773 – 1914, Alf Hayman
A brief history of E. C. Jones & Son (Brentford) Ltd., Cath Turpin

Volume 9
‘This Special Kind of Traffic’, Pat Crecraft
Tom Puddings in the 1960s, Mike Taylor
How the Llangollen Canal was Saved, Peter Brown
The Experiences of a first canal holiday in 1948 on a newly converted ex-working boat Phosphorus, Tony Hirst

Volume 8
The Restoration of a Shropshire Union Fly Boat: The Saturn Project 2000-2006, Tony Lewery
The Rise and Fall of Saltport, Tony Barratt
The Later Years of Thomas Clayton (Oldbury) Ltd., Cath Turpin
Sailing Flats on the Chester and Ellesmere Canals, Terry Kavanagh

Volume 7
The Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation, 1888-1947, Mike Taylor
A 1930s Journey by a Tug towing Flats on the River Mersey, Bill Leathwood
Tunnel Tugs Worcester and Birmingham of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, Cath Turpin
Early Pleasure Boating on the Shropshire Union Canal, Joseph Boughey

Volume 6
The Puffer -The Ultimate Scottish Canal Boat, Len Paterson
Flats and Flatmen of the Rivers Mersey and lrwell, Terry Kavanagh
The Growth of Shardlow Port, Pat Crecraft
The Early Years of the Douglas Navigation, Mike Clarke

Volume 5
Wartime waterways, Mike Clarke
Building flats at Runcorn, Mike Stammers
Life and times of a Shroppie fly-boatman, Terry Kavanagh
Liverpool Docks of the Bridgewater and Mersey & lrwell Navigations, Alf Hayman

Volume 4
Narrow boats on the Thames, David Blagrove
Carrying craft of the Bridgewater Canal, 1773-1974, Alf Hayman
Declining traffics on branches of the Shropshire Union Canal, Joseph Boughey

Volume 3
Severn carriers in the railway age, Hugh Conway-Jones
A lifetime of Friendship with Rose and Joe Skinner, Philip Kidd
The Daresbury of Castle: an eighteenth-century Weaver flat, Edward Paget-Tomlinson
Wooden barge building and the origins of the narrow boat, Mike Clarke

Volume 2
The Bridgewater Canal and its links with Staffordshire, Alf Hayman
Revisiting some aspects of horseboating, Tony Lewery
A brief history of the River Weaver, Tony Hirst
Early steam tugs on the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction Canal, Terry Kavanagh

Volume 1
Steam and diesel on the Bridgewater Canal, Alf Hayman
British canal history in perspective, Mike Clarke
Cruising the Llangollen and Shrewsbury Canals, 1939, Captain T Wheeldon
The Canals of England and Wales – the future they never had, Tony Burnip

Last date edited: 4 August 2021