Burton Waters Marina www.burtonwatersmarina.co.uk has only been open a couple of years and is located on the Fossdyke close to Lincoln. The website gives details of the wide range of services available and there is an option to skip the rather gimmicky introduction page which will be appreciated by those using slow speed connections to the internet. Venetian Marina Village www.venetianmarina.co.uk is a company that has been established for much longer and has a chandlery, moorings, workshops, tea rooms and gift shop advertised on a rather smaller website. Bridge Boatyard www.bridgeboatyard.com offer boatyard services and boat hire from their base in Ely, Cambridgeshire. From here you can explore the fenland waterways of the River Great Ouse as far as Bedford and its tributaries, including the River Cam.
Kendall Narrowboats http://kendallnarrowboats.co.uk are a new boat fitting company based at Croughton, Cheshire, on the Shropshire Union Canal. At Milton Keynes, on the Grand Union Canal, MK Afloat http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/mkafloat/ have the Mary Jane, a 26 foot narrowboat, available for day hire. The Piper Owners' Club www.piperowners.co.uk was originally known as the David Piper Owners' Club when it was set up in 1982. Its present name reflects that it now also includes owners of boats built by David's son Simon. This is a well constructed and attractive site with information on members' cruises as well as all about the boats. They also have links to members' own websites and examples of their club colour magazine. Well worth a look. Another content rich site is Canal Archive: Bridging the Years www.canalarchive.org.uk. It explores the creation of the Bridgewater Canal, and the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal over 100 years later. There are various stories and lots of photographs although I found the site navigation rather odd and was unable to view any individual records through the "timeline" functions.
Our final two sites both have connections with Waterways World. John Todd's Personal Page www.johntodd.freeserve.co.uk/originals/personal.htm is the home page of a regular contributor to this magazine. This is a very simple site with just text and photographs but it contains copies of his published articles and some interesting information on his background and interests. Lockside Antiques http://mysite.freeserve.com/lockside_antiques specialises in selling antique ribbon and lace plates and original Measham pottery as well as brass items and old lace (crochet) edging. This business is run by Evelyn Booth, the wife of our Technical Editor, Graham. Lockside Antiques exhibit at various shows including the National Waterways Festival. A full list of events attended can be found on the site together with items for sale and the history of both Measham ware and plates as well as how to make rag rugs. This is another site with high standards of presentation and some excellent photographs.
Site of the Month
The Birmingham Canal Navigations Society www.bcn-society.co.uk aims to continue to conserve, improve and encourage a wide range of interests in the 100 mile network of Birmingham and Black Country waterways known as the BCN. Its home page has a very professional looking combined title and navigation bar heading that is used consistently throughout the site. This gives a good impression of the BCNS and its website and makes navigation of the site very simple for users.
This is not a large site but it is well designed and informative. For example the page about Titford Pumphouse, the society headquarters, includes a history of the area, the building and how it was acquired as well as an article on the Titford Canal. This is a page which is much enhanced by the use of small colour photographs and a larger line drawing of the pumphouse. Other sections of the site are devoted to the Society, their quarterly journal called Boundary Post, their two boats, events, sales, membership and a photo gallery. The Boundary Post section has a selection of articles that have appeared in previous issues of the journal. This is a good way of ensuring that articles that may be of continuing interest are not discarded with the out of date magazines. Knowing that articles are of more than transient value may encourage more contributors. It is surprising that more clubs and societies don't follow this practise.
The Birmingham Canal Navigations Society site is just one of scores of waterway society websites but is one of a handful that can be cited as an example of both good design and interesting content.
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