Narrow Boat Paperback – 15 Jun 2009
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There is no better description of a landscape and life that is now a distant memory. --Journal of the Railway and Canal Historical Society, March 2010
About the Author
L. T. C. ROLT trained as an engineer, but his fame rests on his classic biographies of Brunel, Telford, Trevithick, and the Stephensons, his superb volumes of autobiography ("Landscape with Machines," "Landscape with Canals," and "Landscape with Figures"), his volumes of transport history, and "Red for Danger," an account of railway disasters of Britain. He founded the Inland Waterways Association and was instrumental in encouraging interest in Britain s industrial heritage at Tal-y-llyn and elsewhere. "
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Top Customer Reviews
His description of his travels on board his converted narrow boat Cressy back in the 1940s was to be one of the sparks leading to the foundation of the Inland Waterways Association and the restoration of the British canal network.
In the regard of writing about his journey, and his description of the life of the few remaining owners of horse-drawn boats when he encountered them, he gives many useful details (I'd never known that concertinas were popular instruments among boatsmen).
However, his blinkers come from his conviction that everything of the past is good and everything of the machine age is bad. He says quite seriously that he believes the canals to be the safest form of transport ever devised, but does not spot the contradiction when he encounters a boatman whose daughter had recently drowned in a lock (in fact, drownings and other accidents were pretty common).
He comments on the life span of over a hundred of some old countrymen in the parish records he views and attributes it to their simple life, but fails to spot the high infant mortality in those same records.
He loves his books, but believes that the illiterate boatman loses nothing by his lack of knowledge.
It's a good book if you want to read about the pre-restoration Inland Waterways, complete with the last surviving canal pubs (in the era of real ale served in a jug), but you may find it a touch annoying if you feel that you wouldn't actually want to have lived in Olde England even if it looks very charming in retrospect.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A book that I have put off for years, a great mistake, read in one sitting as impossible to put down.Published 18 days ago by Pooble
An interesting read for anyone keen on canals and narrowboatsPublished 21 days ago by John Trevor Hughes
If you love canal boating you'll love this book, beautifully written of a bygone age.Published 1 month ago by Carol S.
A tremendously classical work, well known to the boating fraternity, but always worth revisiting; Tom Rolt is such a superb wordsmith as well as being in love with his subject, a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Fr Peter Clark
Great account of an age long gone almost.keep it alive by using and enjoying our inland waterways once owner of cruiser sarko based grand junction canal uxbridgePublished 1 month ago by G. Hennell
Too many flowery descriptions at the start,not enough about life on the working narrowboats.Too much anti-modernisation comment. Read morePublished 1 month ago by vicar1937
Most enjoyable and informative. Makes me want to get out and about on the canals!Published 1 month ago by Anthony Ellis