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Narrowboats on Canals


Come on a journey into the world of canals – from the restoring of the waterways to the traditional painting and decorating of narrowboats. We also introduce you to a bridge-keeper.

Restoring the Canals

By the late 1940s, England's canals seemed doomed. With freight carried by rail and road, many canals were abandoned, their stagnant water choked with weeds and rubbish. The only people still using canals were the dwindling numbers of boat people, struggling to make a living, alongside a few eccentric enthusiasts, who travelled on narrowboats for pleasure.

Restoring the Canals

Meet a Bridge-Keeper

Jack Workman is a bridge-keeper for British Waterways. ICONS visited him at his bridge at Saul Junction in Gloucestershire.

Painting and Decorating

The painting of narrowboats (and everything inside them) is a folk tradition which genuinely thrived until the 1960s.

Painting and Decorating
Ten things…

Ten things…

Ten facts you may not know about the world of canals, narrowboats and life on the water.