Thursday, 18 September 2014


This is just one of a series of around fifty old newspaper articles that I have been reading. I have been researching from old newspapers and magazines the last 200 years or so of the inland waterways. With particular interest in the issues of the day that were effecting the canals. The most active periods for evaluation and change, has always been just prior, during and shortly after the two world wars. It should be remembered that between the wars the ownership of some of the canals changed hands as the railway companies bought up the waterways to get reduce competition. What is not clear is the effect this early form of asset stripping had on the viability of the inland waterways. Its good to take a look back at what people were saying and doing in the past. Most surprising of all are some of the problems that beset the canals back then - are still prevalent today. Reading old newspapers can throw up some rather interesting stories. Here is what we would call today a public interest story.

Caveat: Some of the articles are difficult to read and even using modern electronic  scanning and text conversion methods. The odd punctuation, word or character may have been transcribed in error. 

Barrier Miner
Thursday 28 February 1952


LONDON, The older generation of bargees who man the small narrow craft which ply on Britain's inland waterways are diminishing and no one is taking their place. Faced with a serious shortage, of recruits for work on barges, British transport officials are beginning to wonder from where the next generation of bargees will corm

The shortage is particularly in long distance craft, on which a trip may last a week or more. A transport official said: "Once it was the rule of sons to follow fathers, but the younger men prefer regular jobs ashore." The 40 British transport barges plying in the Leeds and Liverpool canals, are all large Diesel engined craft carrying about 5,000 tons of cargo a month. But there is only one cabin for the crew of two men, which ruled out what was still the practice of some midland canals whereby bargees could travel with their families aboard.

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