An authoritative overview of the classic Flatboats and their use from the 18thC on the Mersey proper and the associated system of rivers & canals (including the Weaver & the Douglas, the Mersey & Irwell Navigation, Sankey, Bridgewater, Trent & Mersey, Ellesmere, and Runcorn & Latchford Canals, as well as the great Manchester Ship Canal).
Stammers explains the differences, real and less distinct between all the varieties and developments of their design: Dukers; Weaver Flats; Sailing flats of various rigs; Jiggers & fly-boats; Dumb Flats; wooden hulls; steel frames to iron hulls; horse-towing; steam packets and tugs and the introduction of diesel. He looks at the building by firms like Ables in Runcorn, and the communities and trades that were the heart of the industrialisation of the North West of England.
Stammers is passionate about the subject and, as well as archives and records, draws upon the historical work of other enthusiasts and the latter generations of boatmen and their families, some of whom members of my family have met and could testify to their first-hand expertise and the work is packed to the gunnels (sorry, had to be said) with superb ink drawings detailing the exact features of various boats and flats, period photographs, including vanished swathes of Runcorn and other landscapes as well as vessels, (some of which my own family worked on) and even some construction diagrams which might be of great interest to model makers.
Above all, it gives a glimpse into the daily hard work of the families that made the North-West what it became at it's height and who have now gained the port of rest.