Boxes by Boat

Traditional Techniques: NarrowBoat, Spring 2011

Hugh Potter

Hugh Potter reveals how the ubiquitous ‘container’ began life as a humble box on the British canals of the 18th century

The concept of carrying goods in containers that can be transferred from one mode of transport to another is universally accepted today. We see modern containers on our roads, railways, ships – and inland waterways. But how many people realise that this technique originated on British canals? There is certainly a ‘box boat’ on display at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, but to find the origins of the concept we must go back further.…

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