Most books about the British waterways include some historical material, but if you want the definitive version, this is it! The central 130 A4 pages treat each of the waterways in turn (including canals and navigations and the whole of Ireland), but that's not the end of it. The opening chapter is an overview which includes all the legislative background starting in 1424. Then comes a major treatment of technology and engineering works, including many of Paget-Tomlinson's lovely pen and ink drawings, which are worthwhile in their own right.
Chapter 4 covers the history of regional boatbuilding focussing on estuaries and inland boats with lots of classic photos. The last chapter is about boat people and cargoes. Appendices include short histories of the main carriers, biographical pictures of the main characters and a useful glossary and bibliography. The maps at the end are simple but include more older detail than I've seen elsewhere.
There's no colour but that's not really an issue for historical work - if you're interested you probably have all you want anyway.