Wednesday 25 July 2007

The coal lady - # 179

Between 1805 and the 1930s Brentford Dock was an inland port at the point where the Grand Union Canal enters the Thames. Today the canal basin is surrounded by luxury apartments, but the waterborne life style continues. The "narrow boat" in the photo really is long and narrow, because the English canal system was developed that way. The topography, the early age of the industrial revolution, and the construction methods forced that upon us.

I discovered this lovely lady, who operates her traditional cargo "narrow boat" carrying smokeless coal, logs and bottled gas around the canal system to supply boat dwellers.

She covers the system from Brentford, through "Little Venice" (Paddington, London) to Limehouse in the East of London and then up the River Lea canal system to Hertford, serving all the barge moorings. I never knew anything like this existed today. It was a pleasing discovery.


  1. Brilliant - this really cheers me up!

  2. It must have been a surprise! Everything looks so clean an nice and a lady doing the service! Good that some activites still are ongoing.

    No overswemmed canals right now?

  3. I would have been expecting a raggedy old lady with an old, worn out boat...happily surprised!

  4. I would imagine that this is a pleasant way to earn one's living. I wouldn't mind one bit doing the same thing!