Modest in price, but not in quality
Reviewer: Harry Arnold
WE have reviewed one or two large multi-page and expensive general waterway books lately – such as Stuart Fisher’s Canals Of Britain. This, with a very similar title (substitute ‘In’ for ‘Of’) is at the other end of the scale both in size – a modest 80 pages – and price, but certainly not in quality. Canals In Britain is an absolutely ideal introductory handbook on the subject, outlined in a logical historical sequence but bringing it right up to date.
Author Tony Condor was well known on the waterways, first as the curator/manager of the British Waterways’ museum at Stoke Bruerne, then with the acquisition and development of Gloucester as the National Waterways Museum, in charge of the whole BW historical collection under the aegis of The Waterways Trust. With the designation moving to Ellesmere Port he then went on to other non-waterway museums.
With all that background you would expect him to have an expert knowledge of the subject and this comes out in his concise and pleasant writing style. All aspect of the waterways are covered, from early history and improving the rivers, canal building and the canal mania, working them and the arrival of the railways in Victorian days, through the wars and on to Nationalisation, right up to the present day. There is a brief but good recommended further reading list and a useful Places to Visit section.
It is extensively illustrated with a wide and well-chosen selection of photographs (some well known) in both colour and black and white. A very good and modestly priced volume, ideal to get visitors new to the subject involved in Britain’s waterways and a book that should be on every school library’s shelves.
Canals In Britain by Tony Condor is published by Shire Publications in softback, priced £8.99.