The carriage of goods in river barges was for centuries one of the principal forms of commercial transport in Britain. This book focuses on the River Severn between the Worcestershire ports of Bewdley and Stourport, and the medieval weir near Welshpool that marks the uppermost limit of boating, a stretch where the river remained 'in a state of nature'. Dr Trinder traces the fascinating history of river trade from 1660, through its heyday during the Industrial Revolution, when Manchester textiles, Coalbrookdale iron castings, Birmingham hardware, and Hanley and Burslem pottery were all transported via the Severn, to its gentle decline in the late 19th century. He creates an absorbing picture of the colourful lives of barge owners and watermen. Complemented by superb illustrations, this book makes essential reading for both transport historians and those interested in the social and economic history of the West Midlands and the Borderland. Family historians will be delighted by the author's analysis of the linear riverside community running from Gloucestershire, through Worcestershire and Shropshire, into mid-Wales.