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James Smart of Chalford

Working Life on the Cotswold Canals
  • Author: Hugh Conway-Jones
  • Binding: Paperback
james-smart-of-chalford

This is the story of coal merchant and carrier James Smart of Chalford and his associates in the 1880s and 1890s. Regularly using the Stroudwater and Thames & Severn canals, Smart's narrow boats also traded up the River Severn to the Midlands and over the Cotswolds to the Thames Valley and Wiltshire, whilst his barges traded down the Severn and around the upper Bristol Channel. The story is based on over one thousand surviving letters, postcards and telegrams written to James Smart by his employees, his suppliers and his customers, and these have been linked up with related voyages recorded in the tonnage books of the relevant canals. The story gives a wonderful insight into the lives of Victorian barge and boatmen, and shows how James Smart coped with managing his far-flung business in the days before the telephone.

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