Charles Hadfield - Brief Guide to Canals & Waterways

I recently purchased a copy of this guide. It sold for 2/- in 1964 as part of a series of booklets published by by the Raleigh Press that dealt with tourist subjects. I bought it because it was written by Charles Hadfield.

The guide has some interesting monochrome pictures and some fascinating adverts that are similar to those found in the BW guides I recently reviewed. The booklet has a highly potted history of canals (of course given its author) and more "modern" information including a list of canal societies that were operating at the time.

One section did catch my eye was an excerpt from the first accounts of the British Water Board. Although we think of canal carrying as at a low ebb at that point, the BWB did receive reasonable income from the operation of its fleet and commercial tolls. The level of income from pleasure use was very small (just £81,585) but as today they received a significant proportion of their income from their property holdings; a topical subject at the moment.

I produced the following document illustrating the differences in income over the last 45 years. You will see that income has increased 25-fold.

British Waterways Income -

A copy of the Hadfield booklet is currently available on ebay for £3.50.