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    Who bloody knows!

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  1. Anthony Burton in The Canal Builders was referring to unskilled farm workers who couldn't get work in industry as most unskilled jobs were done by women and children. After the enclosures act reduced the amount of common land available and the factory system lowered the amount of hand work available as cottage industries closed down this became more acute. I also remember that farm labourers became full time navvies and when they were needed for the harvest would not go back so they tried various legal methods to stop them being navvies but I can't remember the details. Found it.... Sir Charles Morgan tried to get a bill in Parliament to 'restrain the employment of labourers in the time of the corn harvest' eg the labourers should work on the farms for less money. The bill failed!
  2. This all makes perfect sense. The fact that gypsies had caravans after the boats came along contradicts the assertion on the sign that they were responsible for painting the boats. This along with the generally held view that some boat families were originally gypsies further enforces the myths around their origins. Similar to the myth that the navvies were all Irish. Yet in England they were more likely to be made up of local farm laborers who couldn't get jobs in factories which mainly employed children and women.
  3. The religious element is an interesting observation. I happy to be shot down here but aren't Romany gypsies quite observant in their religious beliefs but boat families were not. The implication being that if they had moved onto boats they would have continued this tradition as well. Another reason I presumed the connection was a myth.
  4. Unfortunately I have no interest in geaneology so that's unlikely. My interest is in industrial archaeology and so that's why I asked the experts on here to clear up the validity of the sign.
  5. Was it possible to trace any of the names that were on the 1795 register that were identified by the Gypsy Lore Society or are these records not as easy to find as Captain Pegg suggests? How many of these records predate the 1795 register?
  6. Interesting perspective. That's a lot of records of your own family!
  7. A quick search came up with the following information: Canal Boat Register Index, 1795-1797 In 1795 an Act of Parliament was passed, later given the Short title the Registry of Boats etc. Act. It ordered that vessels using navigable rivers and canals be registered by the local Clerk of the Peace, who issued certificates as evidence that vessels had beenregistered.
  8. I will look forward to reading that. So what is your opinion on the 103 boat families in the 1795 census who had gypsy heritage or a gypsy name.
  9. It was probably railway competition that led to families moving onto boats so not until the mid 19th century. The problem occurs in the 20th century when trying to trace backwards. Reading the "Working Waterways" series of books gives ample evidence that boat families did live a a detached existence from the rest of the country. Whether they were ignorant or living a blissful idyll was down to Tom Rolt.
  10. How can you research the families using parish records as I imagine the boat people "disappeared" once they moved onto the boats? Are these cencuses readily available. You imply hay trussers were nomadic but I thought farm labourers were tied to the land like serfs. Also canalised rivers have been around for a long time. The river lea had 15 locks on it in the 1550's so you can imagine the establishment of river boats and families started earlier than the the Canal era
  11. Is this the book "Narrow boat painting"? I shall have to try and get a copy.
  12. That's where it came from. Thanks Heartland. As I said above Ransom suggests that farmers who were use to horses and were known to be navvies would be likely candidates. Also families already working on the River boats. The use of "gypsy" names seems a valid suggestion though.
  13. This is often quoted rather glibly in some places but whenever I have read the more researched histories such as Hadfield he dismisses the comparison. Ransom suggests that the origin is from farm carts, market barrows and rag and bone men who also used geometrical designs. It's the reference to the 103 families of gypsy heritage that intrigued me.
  14. I have just been reading one of these metal information signs on the side Middlewich about amoungst things the origin of boat people. It says in the "did you know" section that Gypsies were employed to paint the early narrowboats and that in 1795 there were 103 boat masters registered of gypsy heritage. This seems to be contrary to all the history books I have read such as Hadfield who suggest boat people were recruited from farmers, who were already skilled with horses, river workers and even navies. The fact that the figure of 103 families is stated with authority implies they are referring to some official census. Does anyone know of such a register? Or can this be put down to the perpetuation of the myth of gypsies and narrowboats.
  15. A very knowledgeable chap. I learned a lot about my set up. Generator, alternator and inverter. I would thoroughly recommend Ken Wheeler to anyone in the Chester area who needs a mobile mechanic.
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