Charles Hadfield

Co-Founder of the IWA

Waterways historian and prolific author.

The following list of Charles Hadfield's canal books is as complete as I can make it.

    • Thomas Telford's Temptation............1993
    • Afloat in America.............................1979
    • Introducing Canals............................1955
    • Introducing Inland Waterways...........1973
    • Waterways Sights to See..................1976
    • The Canals of South & South East England.....1969
    • World Canals...................................1986
    • The Canals of the West Midlands.......1977
    • The Canals of Southern England........1955
    • British Canals...................................1966
    • The Canals of South West England.....1965
    • The Canals of North West England......1970........Two Volumes
    • The Canal Age..................................1968
    • Inland Waterways..............................1977
    • The Canals of South Wales and the Borders.......1977
    • The Canals of the East Midlands.........1970
    • English Rivers and Canals..................1945
    • The Canals of Yorkshire and N.E. England..1973.Two Volumes
    • William Jessop Engineer.....................1979
    • Waterways to Stratford.......................1962

Ellis Charles Raymond Hadfield was born in Pietersburg, South Africa, in 1909 where his father was a magistrate. He attended a boarding school in Devon, England from the age of 13 where he discovered the Grand Western Canal and research into this began his lifetimes passion for canals.

In 1928 he entered St. Edmunds Hall, Oxford and graduated in Economics. He then became a bookseller and Labour councillor in Paddington, and eventually moved on as a manager for the Oxford University Press, where he met and married Alice Mary Miller in 1945.

During the World War II he was an Auxiliary Fireman in the London River Service, and in 1945 he published "English Rivers and Canals" co-written with Frank Eyre who was one of his Fire Staff colleagues. At this time Tom Rolt's "Narrow Boat" had appeared and with Robert Aickman as Chairman, Hadfield as Vice-Chairman and Rolt as Secretary the Inland Waterways Association was formed.

A difference of opinion over policy led to Hadfield and Rolt leaving the IWA, but not before some considerable success's had been achieved. Whereas Rolt more or less turned away from waterways Charles Hadfield went on to form the Railway and Canal Historical Society.

After post war travels in Africa, in 1960 he founded, with David St John Thomas, the legendary David and Charles Publishing House, which published a multitude of canal histories, many written by Hadfield, and waterways related titles.

His final book, Thomas Telford's Temptation, was published in 1993. Charles died on 6th. August 1996, having survived Alice by six years, and the waterways world will be a much poorer place without him.

 

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