C&RT and waterways history

I mentioned earlier that Waterways Ireland intends to promote the collection, archiving and use of waterways oral history. Across the water, I gather that the Canal & River Trust is setting up a Canal Research Network:

Canal & River Trust is the charity entrusted with the care of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales. Our canals are home to over 2,700 listed structures, 50 scheduled ancient monuments and five UNESCO world heritage sites. The National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port is home to the Waterways Archive, an internationally significant collection of historic records relating to Britain’s waterways and the people who built, used, and lived on and near them both within Britain and as connections to the sea and the world beyond.

We are keen to establish a scholarly research network for academics and researchers in other organisations to connect with the Canal & River Trust and with each other, sharing their research and finding opportunities for collaboration. The reach of our organisation and the quality of resources available means that there is real scope to develop meaningful, impactful projects together.

We would very much like to invite you to the inaugural meeting of the Canal Research Network at the Rolt Conference Centre at the National Waterways Museum on Wednesday 22nd July from 11am – 2pm. There will be an opportunity to hear about future plans for the museum and archive —  including a proposed collaborative doctoral award between Canal & River Trust and the University of Huddersfield. We are unable to cover travel
costs, but lunch will be provided.

RSVP john.benson@canalrivertrust.org.uk by Monday 13 July. Full details of the programme will be sent in due course.

Please feel free to pass this invitation on to colleagues in your organisation or elsewhere who may be interested in coming — please ask them to RSVP to the email above. And if you would like to be part of the network but cannot make that date, let us know and we will add you to the mailing list for future events.

With all best wishes
John Benson
The Waterways Archive
National Waterways Museum
South Pier Road
Ellesmere Port
CH65 4FW
Tel: 0151 373 4378 […]

That reached me on the same day as the Railway & Canal Historical Society’s Journal Number 223, July 2015, which contains an article by Joseph Boughey “Waterways history research: progress, prospects, problems and limits”, in which he says

What is now needed, I submit, is a Waterways Study Centre (WSC), or rather two, one in physical form, one provided and accessed by electronic means. […] I would envisage that [the WSC] would need to be located in, or close to, an established archive of documents and other artefacts. (Given this, only one or two current locations seem appropriate, but ideally existing facilities could be expanded!)

One response to “C&RT and waterways history

  1. Well-spotted Brian. It is entirely a coincidence; after some delay, my piece appeared in the Journal, on practically the same day as news about the Canal Research Network. I could hardly specify, in a journal of history, a precise location for a new Centre, but I can’t see that any place other than Ellesmere Port other would be practical. I will be at the meeting tomorrow and hopefully something worthwhile will emerge.

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