Hi all, We both read quite a bit, Carole more than Colin. We both have different tastes in what we read.

Carole likes to read more novels than Col so there will be a fairly eclectic mix of what we think on here.

Carole is a active member of a book club in Burscough, so gets a book to read every month.

With Colin’s contribution of photographs to Towpath Talk he was asked a few years ago if he would like to have a go at reviewing a book and has done a few since then.  

This was how it all began, the first book Colin reviewed for Towpath Talk.

“200 years of the Lancaster Canal” an illustrated history by Gordon Biddle.

With lots of photos and a very readable style, Mr Biddle tells the stories of the building of the canal, the trade on it, the decline, and how it is today as the 200th anniversary of its opening comes round on the 18th of June next year.

There are pictures from the working days, the bridges and aqueducts, showing views that today’s canal traveller, by boat or towpath won’t normally encounter, along with pictures of long lost sections of the southern end of the canal.

Mr Biddle tells that despite being the Lancaster canal the main beneficiaries were Preston and Kendal.   The takeover by the railways is detailed, partly being a reflection of recent times on the northern rail network with the Canal being one of two companies both running trains between Preston and Lancaster at the same time.

The canal company was eventually wound up by the London and North Western railway 33 years after the “Pig Iron and Treacle” episode of 1853.

The story of the tramway what was meant to be a temporary measure from Preston to Walton summit is well explained, as are the wrangles over the section from Wigan to Wheelton of the L and L that was built by the Lancaster.

 The loss and ongoing fight for Northern Reaches is well documented with all the profits raised by sales of the book going to the Lancaster canal trusts funds.

The book would make an excellent addition to any canal and railway enthusiast’s shelves

Published by Pen and Sword Books Ltd

ISBN: 978 1 52670 434 4

Colin Wareing 25.9.18

The Silk Merchants Daughter book by Dinah Jefferies

Just finished this book. I’ve read the tea planters wife and wasn’t impressed. This, however, was really good, Carole 25.8.2023

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

Finished this today. I found it a bit grim in places but I am glad I persevered. I ended up enjoying it. It had been staring at me for about 5 years. Carole Wareing 13.8.2023

“Around Britain by Canal” by Anthony Burton book review.

In March 1975 the author Antony Burton and friends Phil and Bill left Hillmorton on a hired boat “Water Columbine”.  They spent six weeks and 1000 miles travelling a broad figure of eight around the canals and rivers of England. They headed north over the Leeds and Liverpool, down the Trent, Oxford and the Thames through London.

The book was first published following the trip as “Back Door Britain” and has been republished with colour photographs.

For people that have travelled some or all of the canals and rivers over the last 40 years this book can be a real page turner as you again make the journey. You wonder if Mr Burton will mention the pub you spent an evening in, or that lock or swing bridge you struggled with.

For newer boaters it provides a glimpse into the period of transition from working to leisure waterways with it being interesting to compare what Mr Burton predicted but hasn’t happened. There was hope for a new freight handling system that didn’t happen, but neither did the pit head gear at Astley alongside the Bridgewater canal ever fall to the scrap man.

Well worth a read, and inspiration for a trip, despite the unchanging regular restrictions caused by water shortages of today and back in the 1970’s.

Colin Wareing


 “Around Britain by Canal” by Anthony Burton.

Published by Pen and Sword Transport

ISBN 978 1 47389 323 8

Tales from the Towpath.

Stories and histories of The Cotswold Canals by Fiona Eadie, Illustrated by Tracy Spiers.

Well this small book is a different and interesting way of telling the history along the routes of the Stroudwater Navigation and the Thames and Severn canal.

From the cover the book could be dismissed as a children’s book, don’t do that, instead travel through time with people who lived and worked along the waterways.

In a easy reading  style “Tales from the Towpath”  brings to life, through Fiona’s stories, people connected with waterways, people that are often overlooked by boat’s, engineering and traffic in the histories of a canal or river.  Here we hear from the canal’s promoters and builders, through to the boatmen and lock keepers with a glimpse into the future when both canals are nearly fully restored.

The addition of a map really helps give an idea of how far canal folks would travel in the past compared to the “normal” farmer, villager or townsperson. 

Of course canal folks make for great characters, which from your interest in canals and waterways you may feel you know. Fiona and Tracy bring these particular characters to life in ways that will encourage you to explore the canals the people used to make a living from or just have fun around.

Colin Wareing 9.1.19

Tales from the Towpath by Fiona Eadie Illustrated by Tracy Spiers.

Published by the History Press

ISBN 978 0 7509 8767 7

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