Waterways Journal

Published annually by the Boat Museum Society and a useful source of research material.

Contents of Waterways Journal Volume 19Cover of Waterways Journal volume 19

“Little Ventured: Little Gained”:  Dee Navigation improvement plans between 1836 and 1854: David Parry
The Dee Estuary, in particular efforts to improve navigation on both the canalised and open sections, appears to fall in a grey area between canal, maritime, and, railway history.  In this article, David Parry looks in detail at attempts which were made to improve navigation conditions on the River Dee below Chester, believing railway connections could help to revive the city as a seaport.

The Patent Slip and Associated Buildings at Ellesmere Port: Hannah Holmes
When the docks at Ellesmere Port were enlarged and developed between the mid 1830s and early 1840s, a Morton Patent Slip and workshops were installed. The building of the Manchester Ship Canal meant that considerable changes were needed. The Patent Slip was lengthened and new, much larger workshops were built. Hannah Holmes tells the story of this area of the docks, which has now been opened up to visitors at the National Waterways Museum.

Steam on the River Weaver Navigation: Terry Kavanagh
There were steam vessels on the River Weaver from 1863 until the mid twentieth century, operated by large salt carriers and processors like Brunner Mond (later ICI) and much smaller companies. Terry Kavanagh tells the story of these craft, their problems and incidents in which many of them were involved.

Holt Abbott – a pioneer in canal cruiser design and hire boat operation: David Brown and Angela Clark.
In 1950, Holt Abbott built Avondale, the first of his pleasure craft which formed the basis of Canal Pleasure Craft Ltd. of Stourport. This was one of the earliest hire boat companies to build their own craft for leisure use on the inland waterways. David Brown owns Silver Heron, the oldest of their few surviving boats and he and Holt Abbott’s daughter Angela Clark have written a comprehensive history of the company and the boats they built.

John Wilkinson, his role in the ore trade: Peter Sandbach
John Wilkinson (1728 – 1808) is well known as the Staffordshire industrialist who pioneered the use of cast iron. Not as well known is his responsibility for some of the first shipments of iron ore from Cumbria to Staffordshire via Chester and Runcorn, some of which were carried in his own iron narrow boats. Peter Sandbach follows up his account of this trade in Waterways Journal Vol 17 with Wilkinson’s involvement.

Tilbury – A correction from Richard Thomas


Waterways Journal is available for £7.99 at BMS meetings, the shop at the NWM, and from canalside shops. Mail order price is £9.99 inc. p&p. If you would like to order Waterways Journal, print this order form (opens as a pdf file), fill it in, and send it with your cheque to the address on the form.

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