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In just 78 pages this book takes us on a rapid tour through hun­dreds of years of our wa­ter­ways his­tory. De­spite its small size, the au­thor (a for­mer Cu­ra­tor of the Bri­tish Wa­ter­ways mu­se­ums col­lec­tion for 25 years) man­ages to in­clude ev­ery­thing of im­por­tance, start­ing with the Ro­mans and other early canal-builders and lead­ing through the era of river navigations to the start of the Canal Age. The de­vel­op­ment of the net­work is cov­ered, from the Canal Ma­nia spec­u­la­tion to the prac­ti­cal side of work­ing the wa­ter­ways; fol­lowed by the im­pact of the rail­ways on the smaller canals and the con­tin­u­ing de­vel­op­ment of the larger wa­ter­ways. The ef­fect of two World Wars, the de­cline in car­ry­ing on the nar­row canals, na­tion­al­i­sa­tion, the de­vel­op­ment of leisure boat­ing, wa­ter­way restora­tion and the cre­ation of the Canal & River Trust com­plete the story.

Canals in Bri­tain, Tony Con­der, £8.99, Blooms­bury Shire, shire­, 978-1-78442-050-5

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