Entering the age of new technology is The Mersey Motor Boat Club www.ukcanals.net/mmbc.html, founded in 1932 and now one of the oldest cruising clubs in the country. The club has mooring sites at Lydiate, Haskayne and Scarisbrick, all at the western end of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, and each has separate pages on the site. They also have information on the club and membership as well as a very full list of club rallies and events. James Brindley jamesbrindley.tripod.com is a site that contains a lot of information on the famous engineer, his life, and works. The structure of the site enables the information to be accessed in several different ways by looking at the waterways he worked on, his other engineering work or events in his life. This provides a good introduction to Brindley and will no doubt be used by schools and others needing all the basic facts.
The Inland Waterways Exhibition www.inlandwaterwaysexhibition.co.uk the biggest gathering of specialist narrowboat exhibitors under one roof takes place at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham from the 19th to 21st July. The web site has pages for visitors and exhibitors covering tickets, seminars, narrowboats, restoration, canal crafts and historic Birmingham among other subjects.
Interest in the Millennium Link continues with a new site at www.gentles.info/fcucanalweb described as an information and picture resource of the restoration of the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals in Scotland, including construction of the Falkirk Wheel. There are lots of pictures and information on this site, which also contains a link to the other Millennium Link site run by British Waterways. Another web site on the same theme is the Falkirk Wheel www.falkirk-wheel.com which claims to have everything you might want to know about the only rotating boatlift in the world, but which may struggle to prove it given the wealth of information provided by the other sites covering the subject.
We end the new sites with a couple of commercial sites. Boat-electrics.com www.boat-electrics.com is the online brand name of FX Technology, a leisure industry service company established in 1981, and the trading name of Jack Giles Eng Tech MIIE. Their web pages contain a "Black Museum" of electrical problems and disasters. Tradline Fenders www.tradline.co.uk has been based at Braunston for many years supplying ropes, fenders, fittings, chains, anchors and webbing. At one time it was based on an old working narrowboat in the basin but has now graduated (if that's the right word) to land based premises.
Arts and Crafts
This month we are looking at some waterways arts and crafts sites. A. M. Models http://ammodels.4t.com sells a range of model narrowboats and has some useful lists of ex-working boats. Village Needlecraft www.villageneedlecraft.com supply embroidery kits featuring canal boats and scenes, as does Abacus Designs www.abacusdesigns.com.
Based in the appropriately named village of Fineshade, Northamptonshire, Gower Giftware www.fineshade.u-net.com/gower is a family business supplying painted canal ware.
Garth Allan www.garthallan.co.uk is a well known waterways artist and watercolours specialist providing originals and reproductions of his work. Another artist Doug Myers has a site called www.opusv.com showing his paintings of the bridges over the Thames. The performing arts are represented by four sites including the famous Mikron Theatre Company www.alden.u-net.com/mikron/mikhome.htm formed by Mike Lucas and Danny Schiller, who make an annual national waterways tour, aboard the narrowboat Tyseley. The Day-Star Theatre www.ownerships.u-net.com/daystar1.htm are another canal theatre company with a site listing all their dates and details. Folkwise www.folkwise.co.uk perform songs of the waterways and have a site giving details of the show and CD.
Finally the Keepers Lock www.keeperslock.com is a group who sing songs and tell stories about the great era of the canals in England.
Site of the month
If you have not looked at the Inland Waterways Association www.waterways.org.uk web site recently then it may be time to have a fresh look to see the improvements made. More pictures, a clearer layout and easier navigation around the site have certainly made the online face of this important organisation more attractive. You can find out about the IWA and its organisation, click on a map to find your local region and branch or read about waterway restoration. Freight carrying, festivals and events are all covered and the news and Bulletin section will keep you up to date on the issues the IWA are addressing and on the progress, people and publications that are central to the future of our waterways. There is a link to both the Waterways Recovery Group site and to the excellent IWA Shop which has an wide selection of waterways books, maps, guides, videos and other goods. These are just a few of the things that you can see on the site which is full of interest for anyone who cares about the inland waterways, even if they are not IWA members.
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