Sunday, 5 February 2017
I wrote about one of the early accounts of canal cruising for pleasure in a previous post (Canal and River) and have subsequently unearthed this copy of the Royal Canoe Club’s journal for 1874 which gives a list of cruises accomplished by members.
The Club was formed in 1866 and quickly became popular amongst young middle class males with a sporting proclivity.
The journal priced at 1 shilling (non members) and 6d for members is a reasonably substantial illustrated paper back which in this copy even has a fold out plan of canoe construction.
The greatest interest for those researching early pleasure boating history will however be found in the lists of cruises performed by members at this early date. At this time it would seem that members chose to cruise if possible the most picturesque rivers and lakes using only a canal as a through route from one river to the next. In this context the Ellesmere canal is mentioned several times. There is one mention of a voyage from the Thames – River Wey – Wey & Arun Canal to Littlehampton in 1873 which seems to have been published in the Field magazine and which may have been undertaken as a result of reading Dashwood’s book of 1868 ‘The Thames to the Solent by Canal & Sea’.