by Wendy Freer
39 photographs, 3 drawings, 1 map
Softback ISBN 978 0 901461 18 6
h = 230mm, w = 170mm, 80pp
(Despatch to UK POST FREE; Europe airmail add 15%; rest of world airmail add 30%)
This book describes the everyday life of families who lived wholly or mainly on long-distance narrow boats in England during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Canal-boat work is one of the few occupations employing a significant number of women and children where no specific legislation was ever enacted to control hours and conditions. Child labour was common far into the twentieth century and children were denied even the most elementary education. The author considers the reasons for this, what attempts were made to remedy the situation, and why they failed.
There is no attempt to ‘romanticise’ boat people and their way of life. Their experiences and circumstances are set firmly in context and comparisons made with other occupational and social groups.
Dr Wendy Freer is a social historian with a particular interest in canals and in the employment of women and children.