The Golden Age of Canals

TheGoldenAgeofCanals3BlogAn interesting narrative, an opportunity to learn, a surprising twist, nostalgia for England in the 50’s, beautiful images, evocative music… we spent an hour last night watching The Golden Age of Canals over on BBC i-player. Amateur archive footage shows the heyday of the canals that were a key element in the transport infrastructure of the industrial revolution, their decline, a battle to restore and their reuse for leisure cruising.

My parents had a huge interest in the restoration of the Wey and Arun Canal (see here X) that runs through Surrey and Sussex but we never realised this was part of  much wider movement to re-open the canal network that was nearly thwarted by government policy and action. The story of volunteers in northern England hacking away, successfully, at the Victorian locks that had been filled with reinforced concrete just a few years before is inspiring in a rather bonkers British way!

The resurgence of interest in folk art in the 50’s and early 60’s is explored too which, as regular readers will know, is a big influence on certain aspects of our work at TheBigForest.

The Golden Age of Canals is a  fascinating story told by folks who have a real passion for the topic. The images are screen grabs and the copyright isn’t ours but belongs to the film makers. We suggest you rush over and look at the programme (see here X).

And the music by Penguin Cafe (formerly The Penguin Cafe Orchestra) is worth exploring too (see here X).


About TheBigForest

TheBigForest. A silly artist maker creating in felt and paper construction. Like us on Facebook: TheBigForest. Find us at Twitter : twitter/TheBigForestuk


  1. ann perrin

    what a find will definitely tune into that over the B.Hol. and making new discoveries about out parents pre-occupations such fun! Thank you for that!

    • Its great to make sense of ones childhood. Finding out the strange woman who you visited when you were five was really the great aunt no one talked about or something similar! I was going through some photos with my Mum today and there was a picture of us standing beside a disused canal in the 70’s. I’ll resist posting it – although I do look rather cute 🙂

  2. Thank you that sounds great, I love anything shot with old amateur film, I shall watch this tonight.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: