Mike Webb's interest in cargo carrying canal boats started at an early age, when from his school playing grounds he would hear the sound of the motor boat engines. Once at Brewood Grammar School, he used to walk from school along the Shropshire Union Canal from bridge 12 to bridge 14, which was close to his home. The Shropshire Union Canal ("the Shroppie") and the working narrow boats were the love of his life.
Mike's canal photography began in the early 1960s when he bought his first camera; he was still living near the Shroppie. Mike later moved to Derbyshire for work reasons, but he was never far from canals. His comprehensive photographic collection is a valuable historical archive of a wayof life which played such an important role in the industrial revolution of the country, and which has all but disappeared.
Some of Mike Webb's photos were published in two short volumes in the 1980s – Braunston's Boatsand Shroppie Boats. This book carries on these themes, but also has sections on Brummagem Boats (which was planned, but never published) and Trent & Mersey Boats around Middlewich and Anderton. However, it contains mainly different photos to the two earlier books, which are long out of print. Many photos are in colour, and many have not previously been published.
The collection includes photographs of the boats and the families who lived and worked aboard, with most taken in the 1960s, on the Grand Union Canal near Braunston, the Shropshire Union Canal, the northern Trent & Mersey Canal, and the Birmingham Canal Navigations (B.C.N.). Notes on the boats are by Pete Harrison.