The Gloucester & Sharpness canal - An Illustrated History
By Hugh Conway-Jones, ISBN: 978-1-84868-601-4, Published by
Amberley Publishing plc, Cirencester Road, Chalford, Stroud, Gloucs, GL6 8PE,
at a cost of £16.99
Hugh Conway-Jones can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Hugh Conway-Jones will be known to our members as an acclaimed historian of the river Severn and the Docks and Waterways in Gloucester who has previously written Gloucester Docks - An Illustrated History followed by Working Life on the Severn and Canal, and Gloucester Docks - an Historical Guide - all of which our members should have already in their collection! The book under review follows a similar format being 170mm x 248mm and running to 192 pages with 122 black and white, and a section of 32 coloured illustrations. The illustrations are very well chosen to illustrate the points being made and all in all this book is a credit to the author.
Over some eleven chapters Hugh takes his readers through the initial thoughts on the development firstly of Gloucester and then of the sea canal to avoid obstructions in the River Severn, which later saw the development of a port at Sharpness. Some members were privileged to visit Sharpness and the canal a while ago, when Hugh spoke on the subjects within this excellent book.
The book commences with the germs of an idea to improve the sea links with Gloucester and examines the planning and subsequent excavations and eventual completion of the Canal. After considering the early operation of the business and looking towards prosperity it was decided to erect a new dock at Sharpness and the story of this forms a part of the book. Hugh looks at the economic ups and downs of the dock operations through to the 20th. Century. He then takes some recorded memories of Sharpness as a port, the canal working and maintenance, and then concludes with the current usage of the canal, which is now basically for pleasure.
This book is a very well-written account of a local phenomenon which the 21st. Century might view as an anachronism. The Canal is also the site of the group of historic vessels placed in position to prevent the banks from being washed out by the vagaries of the River Severn at Purton, and now protected through the activities of our member Paul Barnett (contact for Paul Barnett - email@example.com) who runs regular trips to these vessels for interested parties.
This is a book I would enthusiastically recommend
Reviewed by David B. Clement
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