ON THE BOATS

Canal Boat - - News -

Given the num­ber of books of rem­i­nis­cences of work­ing boat life al­ready pub­lished, not to men­tion the num­ber of years that have passed since the demise of reg­u­lar tra­di­tional nar­row­boat trade, it might come as a sur­prise to see an­other one pub­lished. But not only is this just such a book­let; it cov­ers the trade on a very lit­tle-known part of the net­work – the isolated part of the Crom­ford Canal north of But­ter­ley Tun­nel, where a hand­ful of boats car­ried on a lo­cal trade af­ter the tun­nel col­lapsed in 1900. Les Mason was a 14-year-old lad, des­tined to go ‘down the pit’ on leav­ing school but, in the mean­time, help­ing out on the coal boats from Hartshay to Crom­ford. These mem­o­ries, passed on be­fore his 1994 death to his son-in-law who wrote them down be­fore he too died in 2014, re­call bail­ing out wooden horse-boats, load­ing coal by hand, hitch­ing a ride on the col­liery’s steam lo­co­mo­tive, and hav­ing to buy a li­cence from the rail­way com­pany to keep ducks on the canal!

On the Boats, Les Mason, Friends of the Crom­ford Canal, crom­ford­canal.info, £5.00, 978-0-9544482-2-6

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.