Picture Post Canals Part 1

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2021

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones explores canal coverage in a 1939 issue of Picture Post magazine

Picture Post was a popular photojournalistic magazine that ran from 1938 to 1957. During this time, it devoted three lengthy articles to the canals, with the earliest published on 16th September 1939, less than two weeks after Britain had declared war on Germany. It was titled ‘Canals Are Coming Back’, with such optimism being accounted for by the creation of the Grand Union Canal Co in 1929, which amalgamated 11 navigations and invested £1m in its waterways in 1931. Further investment came with the formation of the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co Ltd, which built up a new fleet of modern narrowboats to replace the limited supply of largely worn-out craft already working on the cut. The results of this modernisation programme had already become apparent by the time this issue of Picture Post was written and published. Canals received further attention from the Committee of Imperial Defence which had made a survey of the whole canal system. The reason was that in &ldqu…

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Picture Post Canals featured image