Braunston’s canal heritage features in new book

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The end of Braunston’s working canal heritage has been richly recorded in a new book.

It is made up of 150 canal photographs with 50 from Braunston.

The collection was taken by the late skilled amateur photographer Mike Webb in the early 1960s after he had bought his first camera and rapidly mastered the skills necessary to take photographs to a professional standard.

Tim Coghlan, director of Braunston Marina, said: “Whilst Mike Webb lived in the north-west Midlands and mainly photographed the canals there and in Birmingham, he also became a familiar sight around the Bottom Lock at Braunston, then very much the hub of what remained of canal carrying, which finally ceased on anything approaching a regular basis in 1970.

“His skill was in obtaining the confidence of the working boatmen – still very much a shy and illiterate community apart – and this allowed him to take photographs of them with their full cooperation, with whole families willingly posing for him. He also took pains to document every photograph with the names not only of the boats, but also the onboard crew

At the launch of The Twilight of Narrow Boat Carrying – Photographs from the Mike Webb Collection - was publisher Pete Silvester, Mike’s widow Maria and Richard Parry, CEO of the Canal & River Trust, which operates the canals as a charity.

It was sponsored by Braunston Marina, and is for sale at Braunston Marina’s shop for £18.95 or online through the publishers Canal Book Shop of Audlem.