Boat Inspections

Working the Waterways: NarrowBoat, Spring 2016

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones looks at a newly discovered document revealing the traffic and traders on the lower Grand Junction Canal during the early 20th century.

For those searching for surviving documents relating to the Canal Boats Acts of 1877–1884, the only real option is to visit various archives dotted around the country. But at a recent public auction a previously unknown Journal of Inspector of Canal Boats came up for sale and this hitherto unseen and unstudied document provides a fascinating insight into the working canals of the pre-World War I era. After the passing of the Canal Boats Amendment Act of 1884, all local authorities through which a navigation passed had to appoint a canal boat inspector, in order that craft used as dwellings could be regularly examined to see if they conformed with various regulations. These authorities fit into two categories: those that inspect and register boats under the Acts, and those who just inspect boats.Heston & Isleworth One of the latter authorities that took up this responsibility was Heston & Isleworth, whose administrative area was part of the southern bank of the Grand Jun…

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