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Idle Women

  • Author: Susan Woolfitt
  • Binding: Paperback
idle-women

This work deals graphically with the difficulties, discomforts and dangers faced by inexperienced trainee boatwomen during the "war effort" in World War II. The author was one of the women operating cargo-carrying narrow boats on the canals of the Midlands. The women sought to match the inherited skills of the working boat families. The book also reveals the pleasures of country landscapes and the satisfaction of achievement when things went well. The everyday life on "the cut" is described, working in what was predominantly a man's world. Also described is enrolment, first impressions of the boats and crews, a bombing raid on the Regent's Canal, loading at Regent's Canal Dock, being frozen in, and trips to Birmingham and Oxford. The title of the text refers to the badge that trainees were awarded bearing the letters "IW" (for Inland Waterways). The wearers were dubbed "Idle Women". This text was first published in 1947.

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