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Registers of Canal Boats and Boat Inspections


Registers of canal boats and boat inspection registers for Hinckley Urban Sanitary Department 1879-1953, Borough of Leicester Sanitary Department 1886-1943, Public Health Department Leicester 1896-1966, City of Leicester Health Department 1928-1966, Northampton Borough Council 1930-1954, journals of inspection on canal boats for the Coventry and Oxford canals 1932-1957, regstration certificates, sanitary inspectors correspondence, examining officers correspondence and associated papers



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Access Status

These records are available immediately for research

Administrative /‚Äč Biographical history

In the 1870s, a methodist preacher named George Smith started agitating for legislation to regulate the living conditions of boat people. He gathered support by describing the boating way of life as a whirlpool of deprivation, filth and immorality. The result was the 1877 Canal Boat Registration Act and a second 1884 Act, with all boats used as living accommodation needing to be registered with a local authority. Registered boats were issued with a numbered certificate, and the number and town of registration were painted on the side of the cabin. Canal boat inspectors carried out spot checks to ensure cabins were clean, properly maintained and not overcrowded, only the registered number of people living on board. It may have been that the legislation resulted in cabins being made slightly larger. Canal boat inspector's books record the number and date of the inspection, name and registration of the boat, place and date of registration, name and address of the owner, name and address of the master, numbers of persons, and information relating to the condition and cleanliness of the vessel.

System of arrangement

This fonds has been arranged by record type and then by registration office or district where applicable