In the 1950s, Britain's waterways were still full of commercial traffic and lined with the mills, factories and ports of a then-leading industrial nation. This is the era captured in the photographs of the Lytham Sea Cadets, who in 1958 ventured from coast to coast via the canals of Lancashire and Yorkshire aboard Training Ship Queenborough. As they journeyed from the Ribble Estuary, via the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the Aire & Calder Navigation, to the Humber Estuary, the Sea Cadets witnessed regular merchant shipping on the Humber and the dying throes of commercial traffic on Britain's tired, neglected canals. They also glimpsed the occasional 'pleasure boat'. Little did they know that such craft and their owners would be the salvation of Britain's waterways. Combining photographs from the 1950s with stunning modern-day images, Hemmings and Swidenbank show how canal life has changed over the last fifty years.
Andrew Hemmings has a lifelong interest in industrial archaeology and enthusiasm for railways and canals. After attending King Edward VII School Lytham, he studied Modern History at Durham University, specialising in the economic and social impact of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. He was President of Durham University Railway Society and a founder member of the Industrial Archaeology Society. He lives in Newport with his wife Jill and has three grown up children. Not surprisingly his hobbies are railways , classical and industrial archaeology David Swidenbank is a freelance writer and photographer. He trained at Documentary Photography at Newport Art School in the late Seventies and has contributed to several magazines including Family History and Ancestor. He is currently studying for a B.A. in photographic studies, and has several photos exhibited at The Wales Millennium Centre. He has lived in Porthcawl for nearly twenty years.