Monday 11 August 2014

Canal Cuttings (41)

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. Covering the last 200 years or so of life on the inland waterways. With particular interest in the major 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. 
The Canberra Times
9th of August 1982

Boat Touring a New Picture of Britain

You may already have toured Britain by road or rail, visiting one well known tourist centre after an other, meeting many other tourists and packing and unpacking at a different place each day. Now perhaps you are looking for lesser known parts of Britain. UK Waterway Holidays has the answer: travel at leisure by water in your own well-appointed floating home and in your own time. No telephones. No schedules. You'll enjoy Britain by being a member of the boating community, happily exchanging experiences with other boaters at locks and in the canal-side pubs. Travelling by water offers an ideal opportunity to escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life into a quieter world.

The waterways wind their way through varied landscapes, sometimes lush and green, sometimes wild and rugged, providing homes for many types of animals, birds and flowers. The waterways meander through rural Britain and link many of the major tourist centres and cities. You can visit London, Oxford, Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon, Chester and York and many other well-known cities and towns. Alternatively you can explore the peaceful villages with their churches, shops, pubs and restaurants. The choice is yours.

Britain's inland waterways were built nearly 200 years ago to provide a transport system for the Industrial Revolution. Nowadays, many are no longer economic for carrying freight, but an extensive network remains. They are a living and working monument of bygone days and thread their way through Britain, linking countryside to town. Travelling in comfort in a fully equipped modern boat designed along traditional lines, you can retrace the steps of the working boatman and relive part of Britain's history. Sight-seeing can be a passive pastime. Seeing Britain by boat is different. It is simple and safe to drive the boat, operate locks and open bridges. There's always something of interest just around the next corner.

Whenever you feel like more exercise, you can hop ashore and stroll along the towing path or secure the boat and walk into the nearby town or village to explore or shop. UK Waterway Holidays, a new consortium of boat-rental companies, offers a wide choice of boats and starting points, a central reservation office, and modern, comfortable boats. The operators pay particular attention to the special needs of visitors from overseas. If you think a vacation on the water ways of Britain sounds appealing, but don't wish to cook or navigate, then choose a hotel-boat cruise. That way you will enjoy hotel comforts combined with the novelty and interest of the waterways. The atmosphere is informal and relaxed and you will have companionship as well as an experienced and friendly crew to look after you.

Vacations afloat on Britain's water ways appeal to people of all ages. Details of boats available, hiring fees, and maps of the waterways are contained in an 18-page coloured brochure, UK Waterways Holidays, available free from the British Tourist Authority, 151 Clarence Street, Sydney 2000.

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