. . . I purchased a number of 8mm home movie films from e-bay. The seller described them loosely as “. . primarily Rivers and Waterways in Ireland, probably late 1960s”. They were cheap, I didn’t really need them, but as a canal enthusiast and knowing nothing about Ireland’s waterways thought I’d give them a go.

They duly arrived and I set up the projector to give them a whirl, sure enough, the first one through the projector seemed to be about Ireland, as did the second. The third was a family film of very poor quality, mostly out of focus, more than half double exposed and an exceedingly long sequence of a young boy chasing a dog around a garden. The final film was also of a waterway, but this time I recognised it as not in Ireland, but as the Shropshire Union Canal.

The footage which lasts nearly twelve minutes is not brilliant, but does give a flavour of hire boats of the late 1960s on British Canals. It starts with a brief snatch of a street scene showing a Ford car of the 1950s, but straight away cuts to the canalside. I have compared boats from old magazines and brochures of the 1960s and the period does seem to match. The filmer spends a fair bit of time capturing the scenery and wildlife, particularly herons, occasionally we see one of these birds in flight. The film concludes with a shot showing the hire boat following a pair of working narrow boats.

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