Britain's Other River System: Established during the Industrial Revolution, Britain's Canal Network Is Enjoying a Resurgence. and the Combination of Colourful Narrow Boats, Impressive Aqueducts and Water-Loving Wildlife Offers Photographers a Wealth of Canal-Related Opportunities

By Wilson, Keith | Geographical, April 2010 | Go to article overview

Britain's Other River System: Established during the Industrial Revolution, Britain's Canal Network Is Enjoying a Resurgence. and the Combination of Colourful Narrow Boats, Impressive Aqueducts and Water-Loving Wildlife Offers Photographers a Wealth of Canal-Related Opportunities


Wilson, Keith, Geographical


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

For most people, the Industrial Revolution conjures up images of child labour in noisy cotton mills and a forest of chimneys in northern England belching smoke and soot over the roofs of cramped terraces. Little thought is given to the network of canals built to provide a direct route between factory, port and quarry for the transport of raw materials and finished goods on long, open-hold barges.

Long after child labour was abolished, the mills shut down and smelters demolished, nearly all of the canals remain, really restored and now given a new role, providing a welcome leisure diversion for the nation's rapidly growing urban population. Britain has more than 3,000 kilometres of canals, stretching from the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands of Scotland to the Kennet and Avon Canal England's West Country. This network of manmade rivers is the oldest national canal system in the world, started in 1761 with the construction of the Bridgewater Canal between Worsely and Manchester.

NATIONAL NETWORK

While the railways are rightly regarded as the greatest transport legacy of the Industrial Revolution, it was the canals that provided Britain with its firm modern national transport network. Long before Robert Stephenson drafted the blueprints of the Rocket, or Sir Thomas Telford laid his first mile of track, canals provided the means for the efficient transport of large quantities of raw materials, most notably coal, iron ore and china clay, to the smelters and factories of northwest England.

By the mid-19th century, the British landscape had been transformed by a network of inland waterways linked to major river systems by locks, aqueducts and tunnels. Unsurprisingly, many of the engineers who built canals adapted their experience and disciplines to the development of the railways. After all, railways shared the same basic requirements of canals: a straight and true course, as level as possible no matter what the terrain. However, a river barge was far slower than a steam train, and it wasn't long before freight moved off the barges and onto the railways, causing large chunks of the canal network to become derelict.

Fortunately, canals have found new life supporting hundreds of residential houseboats as well as weekend leisure and narrow-boat holidays. A 4mph (6.4km/h) speed limit on the inland waterways means the narrow boat is the least intrusive mode of transport upon the British landscape. Indeed, the ease with which they slip into view makes these vessels an essential ingredient in the photography of these atmospheric scenes.

ON THE WATER'S EDGE

Whether you're on the deck of a chugging narrow boat watching the landscape glide by, or taking in the scene of a picturesque stretch of waterway, canals provide a wonderful array of subjects to photograph. Narrow boats--so called because they are just tinder seven feet (2.1 metres) wide and around 50 feet (15.2 metres) in length--make appealing subjects in their own right. In undulating rural settings, a narrow boat adds a welcome splash of colour and foreground interest to the gentler background hues of green. Canal banks with grass verges and draped with drooping boughs of willow make an idyllic backdrop for the contrasting reds, yellows and other warm colour tones found on so many narrow boats.

A tighter crop with a longer lens allows for compositions that fill the frame with brilliant colour and design details that adorn the boats' decks. In the spring and summer months, many narrow boats are decorated with potted plants, providing even more photographic potential, as well as a seasonal context to the image.

Moorings are often crowded with boats lined against the water's edge, giving you plenty of time to set up your camera and tripod to compose your shot. Remember, narrow boats are people's homes, so if people are on deck relaxing, or going about their business, exercise courtesy by asking if they mind you photographing their boat. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Britain's Other River System: Established during the Industrial Revolution, Britain's Canal Network Is Enjoying a Resurgence. and the Combination of Colourful Narrow Boats, Impressive Aqueducts and Water-Loving Wildlife Offers Photographers a Wealth of Canal-Related Opportunities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.