The Motor Boat Magazine

From the Archives: NarrowBoat, Summer 2018

Joseph Boughey

Joseph Boughey delves through a collection of early 20th-century magazines to uncover details of commercial and pleasure boating of the period

I regularly help out at the Waterways Archives at Ellesmere Port and one advantage is that I get to see documents and records that have been deposited some time ago but need to be sorted out and classified. Recently, I gained some insights as I went through a collection of the magazine The Motor Boat. The examples here are drawn from a single year, 1906, but the collection is an incomplete run from 1905 to 1910. The Motor Boat was founded in 1904 as a weekly magazine. It covered all sorts of smaller craft, from fishing boats to Thames launches, which had been motorised in either steam, diesel or petrol form. Coverage was far wider than boats on the inland waterways, though there were items looking at pleasure cruising on canals, then in its infancy, as well as commercial inland waterways traffic.Reader correspondence An example of the latter is a letter from ‘Water Rat’ in the 4th January 1906 issue, complaining that some railway companies were not allowing self-propelle…

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