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The Port of Gainsborough

NarrowBoat, Summer 2020

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones investigates the boats and traffic along the old Trent riverside at the Lincolnshire town

The Trent is one of England’s main navigable rivers and has been used commercially for generations. From the turn of the 19th century, Gainsborough has been an important inland port for the large river trade on the Trent. It was a vital transhipment point for coastal shipping between British and Continental ports trading with the inland industrial areas of the potteries and iron manufacturing districts. It also became a destination for water transport itself as industries spread along its eastern bank, which continued throughout the 20th century. The largest carrier based at Gainsborough was Furley & Company, mentioned in detail in the captions, but there were also several local vesselowners based in the town. In the 19th century there were coal merchants John & William Farnill and Henry Wilson, who was a pork butcher but also a carrier and dealer in sand and gravel dredged from the Trent. John Edwin Harrison was a coal, sand and stone merchant and carrier between Gainsb…

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