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pete harrison

Alan H. Faulkner

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It was bought to my attention earlier this evening the sad new that the well know waterways researcher and author Alan H. Faulkner has passed away.

 

I have no further details but I have lost yet another dear friend, and my thoughts are with his family at this difficult time.

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That's a great shame.  I don't think I  have ever knowingly met Alan, but anybody who has studied canal history over the decades will surely be aware of his research and  published works.

 

The waterways seem to have lost so many key figures in recent years.

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The problem is the for want of a better term the canal enthusiasts for the canals in their design form (Carrying )& came to the system near the end of commercial usage system wise are now again for want of better term "getting long in the tooth" so they by design of human beings are taking the trip over the rainbow lock gate & cannot be replaced as the canal system now is far from it's designed purpose so no first hand info is available it's a study through books photo's etc. I came to the system at the beginning of 1958 after conscription in the military & I had 4/5 years before BW called it a day with most narrow boat carrying I was 81years old this year so have had a longer innings than some & sooner rather than later all folk actually involved in day to day working of the system will be gone along with their input

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As Alan says - we'll all be gone, ex-professionals and amateurs like myself alike, and if the forum archive disappears so too will the comments and experiences herein.

The "cloud" can be dispersed, paper records burnt, electronic devices fail, which leaves word of mouth gleaned from personal memories of those who were there.

Like life, some events in history are cast in stone, others but a flicker of a flame, and some never see the light of day. Nonetheless, books are a form of salvation for the knowledge starved - assuming they are hungry enough, and the books continue to exist.

  • Greenie 2

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2 hours ago, Derek R. said:

As Alan says - we'll all be gone, ex-professionals and amateurs like myself alike, and if the forum archive disappears so too will the comments and experiences herein.

The "cloud" can be dispersed, paper records burnt, electronic devices fail, which leaves word of mouth gleaned from personal memories of those who were there.

Like life, some events in history are cast in stone, others but a flicker of a flame, and some never see the light of day. Nonetheless, books are a form of salvation for the knowledge starved - assuming they are hungry enough, and the books continue to exist.

Sad news.

 

Every week I still visit "my historic" narrowboat captain. We, Mrs T and myself, have compiled a "This is your Life" type book of his life for him, he has one copy and we have the other. 

I have recorded many snippits of his daily life, most may seem mundane, but as there are many books of the type "We did x miles with y locks in z days", not decrying these, we concentrated on recording the simple observations about a boaters life.

I will never publish the book but when the time comes I will present it to a local reference library, with "my captain's" full permission.

 

Not only are those who experienced the working canal life fading away but also those willing to record their history.

 

As a nation we are careless with our heritage.

Edited by Ray T
  • Greenie 3

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4 hours ago, Derek R. said:

As Alan says - we'll all be gone, ex-professionals and amateurs like myself alike, and if the forum archive disappears so too will the comments and experiences herein.

The "cloud" can be dispersed, paper records burnt, electronic devices fail, which leaves word of mouth gleaned from personal memories of those who were there.

Like life, some events in history are cast in stone, others but a flicker of a flame, and some never see the light of day. Nonetheless, books are a form of salvation for the knowledge starved - assuming they are hungry enough, and the books continue to exist.

The problem with working boat man was the fact that many were viewed with suspicion & as a good few were illiterate or poorly educated this extended the suspicion although all I came in contact were very worldly wise & if you gained their trust were the salt of the earth ,in most cases Canals were not a widespread subject for seeking & noting it's history  so only a limited number of folk with the necessary  skills bothered to record/take note of it, you could never term it a job it was a way of life& though a number of land born/based folk tried it few stayed the course as it could be very long days & hard graft for little money compared to say factory work, you had to be keen to stick it out It will be a terrible shame if all reference to the carrying days are lost & present day/future boaters only think the system has ever been is a linear housing estate or there has only ever been leisure/pleasure boats the last couple of times on my friends ex working boat i have noticed a more disdainful attitude from some shiny boat owners + a I know better than you attitude even though no word or deed was said/done to prove otherwise Sad really.

  • Greenie 1

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Had the great pleasure of meeting and chatting to him when he was promoting his new book “the regents canal” at Hillingdon canal club, bought the book which he also sighed, lovely chap. 

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This is particularly sad news. Alan has made a considerable contribution to canal research. In particular is well known for his studies of the Grand Junction Canal and the connecting waterways.

 

He was always an accurate correspondent and willing to share his wealth of knowledge with the intrested.

  • Greenie 1

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I've only just read this - been away from the forum for a while.

 

I had a nice letter or two from Alan - he seemed to be a very nice one person. This is a major loss: Alan wrote several books and many articles, and we would be much the poorer without them, and without him. I seem to recall that he was involved in the Great Ouse revival with his late father, and I was looking at Easterling (EAWA) only last night, wondering how Alan was!!

 

As the other Alan notes, there are less and less of us who do recall the (smaller) canals being used for serious transport. The histories that will develop in future, from new researchers and writers, may well be different. I hope that they will build on the contributions of people like Alan F (and W) who glimpsed a world that has now largely gone.

 

RIP Alan: your work will live on and inspire, and you will not be forgotten.

 

Joseph B 

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