Trading from Wendover

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Summer 2017

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones explores the background of an evocative late 19th-century photograph showing independent carrier Edward Marshallsay, who was based on the Wendover Arm of the Grand Junction Canal

When looking back on the working waterways, it tends to be the large carriers, transporting cargos between major towns on the main routes, that come to the fore. Largely forgotten are the numerous smaller and independent carriers that also plied these waterways, as well as the lesser-used arms. One example is Edward Marshallsay who was based at the small Buckinghamshire town of Wendover at the terminus of its eponymous branch of the Grand Junction Canal. This magic-lantern slide was taken in the 1890s at another branch of the GJC – the terminus basin of the Aylesbury Arm – and shows one of Marshallsay’s boats, Brumalia, moored up with its crew taking a posed tea break to create a cosy domestic scene. Edward Marshallsay was a coal, coke, salt and hay merchant based at the Grand Junction Canal Wharf at Wendover. His business started in 1882, following the takeover of the previous merchant there, Thomas Bowen. Bowens at Wendover Thomas’s father Joseph was from …

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