Skip to main content

The charity making life better by water

Waterways Journal

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

Waterways Journal Volume 24

Bringing life to the canal stories of our past, the Waterway Journal is a product of research by the authors and volunteers. Each edition covers varying subjects.

#Volume 24

Passenger packet boats on the Bridgewater Canal and Mersey & Irwell Navigation by Alf Hayman

In this article, the late Alf Hayman, former manager of the Bridgewater Canal, describes the development of passenger traffic on the canal and its rival for the Liverpool to Manchester trade, the Mersey & Irwell Navigation.

Captain Randle - nineteenth century career boatman by Giles Eyre

Taking as a starting point an account of a trip on a Grand Junction boat published in Household Words, the journal part-owned by Charles Dickens, Eyre investigates the life of a boatman working fly-boats in the mid-19th century.

Coal traffic on the West Midland Canals by Terry Kavanagh

Kavanagh uses contemporary newspaper accounts to gain an impression of life operating horse-drawn coal traffic from around 1840 into the first part of the 20th century. Amongst the tales of mistreated horses and thieving boatmen given prominence by the media of the day are stories reflecting the hard lives of the day-boat crews.

The Caen Hill Canal Cottage by Cath Turpin

A simple enquiry to the archive at Ellesmere Port unearthed a trail of documentation illustrating the history of one canalside building around the time that most of the British transport network was nationalised.

Notes from the archive

In this new section, Waterways Journal intends to highlight work taking place in the Canal & River Trust National Waterways archive and perhaps to suggest possible areas for research.

In this first article Louise Bruton, the archives manager, looks at the effects of national lockdowns, Covid-19 restrictions and organisational changes; Joseph Boughey, a regular volunteer, discusses the creation of a series of guides to assist research.

Addendum: Early River Mersey passenger steamers up to c1840

Euan Corrie provides extra information about the location of one of the photographs which appeared in Waterways Journal Vol 23.

Buy a copy

By phone: 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.

By post: 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.

In person: Visit our museum shop open Monday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm.

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 to 24 – £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 [email protected].

Previous editions


#23The origins of the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port 1970 – 1974 by Cath Turpin Wirral Cruising Club Part 2 by Joseph Boughey A new woman on the waterways: Sara Jeanette Duncan (1861-1922)by Jodie Matthews Early River Mersey Passenger Steamers up to circa 1840 by Terry Kavanagh Norman Anglin – a postscript 2020 by Joseph Boughey Addendum - Buns and Ginger Beer by Alan Jones
#22Bridgewater 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
#21Bridgewater 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
#20Traffic 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
#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
#18Construction 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
#17John 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
#16Robert 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
#15Tugs 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
#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
#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
#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
#11The 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
#10The 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
#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
#8The 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
#7The 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
#6The 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
#5Wartime 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
#4Narrow 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
#3Severn 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
#2The 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
#1Steam 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 Edited: 07 March 2023

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration