Canal books, guides, magazines, DVDs & other resources

There is a wealth of printed and digital information about UK Waterways, from books about their 200 year history to 21st century digital cruising guides. 

Books include canal maps and guides, waterway histories and instructional guides on topics such as roses and castles decoration, canal cruising skills and buying, owning and maintaining your own narrowboat.

A number of firms produce and market DVDs (and still some videos) with canal related topics. Cruising guides for individual canals or routes are increasingly available, including some about cruises most boaters might not want to attempt! DVDs cover historical topics, often including film footage shot on the canals during commercial operations, and there are instructional videos like Tony Lewery’s and Phil Speight’s on traditional canal boat painting and decoration.

There are a number of waterway magazines available from booksellers and newsagents and also many specialist magazines produced by canal societies and groups, see our listing of Canal Societies.

Brightwork is a fascinating book by Mike Clarke & Sam Yates. The painted decoration of working boats on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal was one of the most colourful of Britain’s folk traditions.
Eric Gaskell has created some striking limited edition lino-cut prints of scenes around the Canal System. They make very affordable holiday mementoes or presents to grace a living room wall or narrowboat saloon.
Shropshire Union Fly-boats – The Jack Roberts Story is a unique personal record of the days of working these fast narrow boats from the turn of the 20th century until services ceased after World War 1.

Canal Books and Waterway Guides
Britain’s Waterways – A unique insight
Brian Roberts – GEOProjects
Introduction to waterways covering all the usual and many less
usual canals. Excellent maps with walks etc. and packed with
The Illustrated History of Canal and River Navigations
Edward Paget-Tomlinson – Sheffield Academic Press
A comprehensive “inland waterways encyclopaedia” covering almost
every possible canal and river navigation related topic.
The Canals of the British Isles
Charles Hadfield – David and Charles
A series of carefully researched books covering waterway history
by geographical region.
Flowers Afloat
Tony Lewery – David and Charles
Lavishly illustrated celebration of the traditional narrow boat
paintwork. See Tony’s Folk Art Links page for more books.
Narrow Boat
L.T.C. Rolt – Eyre Methuen
Rolt was one of the first to convert a narrow boat for cruising
and he and this book were largely responsible for the
re-awakening of interest in canals.
The Narrow Boat Book
Tom Chaplin – Oxford University Press
A paperback with lots of historic photographs of narrowboats and
boat people.
Waterways in the Making
Edward Paget-Tomlinson – the Landscape Press
Paperback with extensive illustrations to show how the waterways
were planned, built and maintained.
A Canal People – The Photographs of Robert Longden
Sonia Rolt – Sutton Publishing Ltd. 1997.
“The best atmospheric photographs of the narrowboat world when
it was working.”
The Number Ones … Roses and Castles
Robert Wilson and others – Robert Wilson
A series of small well illustrated paperbacks covering many
historic canal subjects.
Tales From The Old Inland Waterways
Euan Corrie – David and Charles
Another of the many specialist canal books published by David
and Charles
Nicholson’s Ordnance Survey Guides
Cruising guides covering English and Welsh canals by regions.
Canal Companions
Cruising guides mostly covering popular circular routes.
Canal and Waterway DVDs
Video Active produce a set of cruising guides
describing features and places of interest with historical and
background information.
Most cover a single canal or river navigation or circular route
and there are currently sixteen in the series. They include, the
Grand Union, Llangollen, Shropshire Union, South Oxford, Staffs.
and Worcs. Canals and the River Thames.
Laurence Hogg Productions has a number of DVDs/
videos for inland waterways enthusiasts including;
Floating Castles featuring Tony Lewery giving a detailed
practical demonstration of painting roses and castles.
Traditional Transformation is a complete step-by-step
introduction to the art of canal boat wood graining.
The Narrowboat Story, Working for the Company, The Manchester
Ship Canal are historical records
Operation Wash and Go and A Canal Too Far are records of two
narrowboat cruises through unfamiliar territory.
Waterways, DVD/Video from Trent Television  Features ex Blue Peter presenter and long time canals enthusiast John
Noakes celebrating the history and heritage of the canal
Canal and Waterway Magazines
Canal Boat Archant Specialist, 2 Jubilee Place, Kings Road, London SW3 3TQ
For subscriptions: 0870 830 4960 Overseas: 01858 438840
Canal and Riverboat Published monthly by A.E. Morgan Publications Ltd., PO Box 618,
Norwich, NR7 0QT, England email for subscription information to
Canalcuttings Penkridge, Staffordshire Tel: 07788458988 email:
Towpath Talk Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincs, LN9 6JR Tel 01507
529300 Fax 01507 529495
Waterways World.  Published monthly by Waterways World Ltd, 151 Station
Street, Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire DE14 1BG,England For
subscription information telephone +44 (0)1283 742970 or email
Canal and Waterway Publishers
CruisePlan Timing guides for canal cruising 01209 313424
First Mate Guides Guidebooks 07850 137487
Loose Chippings Books Canal Books 01386 840435
The Eureka Partnership Transcripts of Boat Inspections and Registrations 01296 613455
Canal and Waterway Media Producers
Contender Entertainment Group Quality waterways and train travel videos 020 7907 3773
VideoActive Ltd Canal Videos/DVD 01948 780564
Waterway Routes DVDs and VHS of Canals and Waterways 07961 701702

All materials and images © Canal Junction Ltd. Dalton House, 35 Chester St, Wrexham LL13 8AH. No unauthorised reproduction.

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