Find out more about the history and culture of the canals - here are a few things worth a read or watch:


Sheila Stewart, Ramlin Rose: The Boatwoman's Story (200 pages).

This beautiful novel about the last working boatwomen is the best introduction to the canals we can think of.  Soon after '47 all the rumours came true.   The Cut was turned over to the nation and becomed British Waterways.  They done the same with the railways and the docks and the coalmines.  Nobody was bothered about us, we was allowed to carry on workin for Essy in our own little tin-pot way with our 'roses and castles'.

L T C Rolt, Narrow Boat (230 pages).

Tom Rolt's classic account - of his journey with Cressy through Britain's silting-up canals and collapsing bridges during the Second World War - did more than anything else to inspire their restoration by a generation of canal geeks with spades and shovels.

Emma Smith, Maiden's Trip (240 pages).

During the Second World War it largely fell to women to keep the canals going.  Emma Smith's is one such story -  prize-winning one, in fact - which has since been adapted for radio.

Residential Boat Owners Association, Living Afloat (100 pages).

A guide to the ups and downs of life afloat.  Order via the RBOA website:

Quick reads

Film clips

There are loads of clips of waterways history on YouTube.  Here are a few we like:

if you want to suggest others, please contact us.