The Times

From the Archives: NarrowBoat, Summer 2016

Joseph Boughey

Joseph Boughey explores some fascinating waterway tidbits revealed in the digital archive of The Times, including 1930s plan to enlarge the Grand Union Canal, conditions on the Wey & Arun Navigation in 1915 and the selling of the Royal Military Canal by auction in 1935.

The digitisation of national newspapers has enabled easy access to a wealth of miscellaneous information about waterways history. This article considers insights from The Times digital archive. Although this is behind a paywall, some local libraries, like those in Liverpool, Manchester and Cheshire, provide free access.New Grand Union The Grand Union Canal enlargement scheme was extensively covered in the paper, including reports of the new company’s AGMs. On 17th July 1930 government approval of the £881,000 scheme was reported, subject to unskilled labour being drawn from “depressed mining areas”. The need for an additional £150,000 was envisaged to complete enlargement for vessels of 14ft width. In September it was suggested that once a Bill had been promoted, the Grand Union would build a fleet of motor-boats, whereby boat people would become “engine-drivers”, making swifter journeys, so that 500 families, including 1,700 children, would f…

To read the full article…

…you need to be a subscriber to NarrowBoat. If you are, you can login here. If not, you can buy a subscription here . If you are having trouble logging in, please contact support at

The Times featured image