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Kit Gayford photograph collection


Series of black and white photographs largely showing trainers and wartime women trainees who were drafted to crew canal boats during World War II. Source of the photographs is Kit Gayford.



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Administrative /‚Äč Biographical history

Kit Gayford was a trainer of the women trainees who were drafted to work aboard canal boats as part of a Ministry of War Transport scheme during World War II Kit Gayford Admin history Eily Tolley Gayford (1903-1991) was born in Hadleigh, Suffolk. "Kit" was a nickname which came from her experience with canals. She joined Daphne March and Molly Traill on the March's boat Heather Bell, running between Sharpness, the Worcester & Birmingham Canal and the BCN, in 1941. After she left this in 1942, the Ministry of War Transport sought to recruit women to work nar-row boats on the Grand Union and associated canals, and Kit Gayford became one of the trainers, along with Molly Traill at first. After the scheme ended in 1945, she retained connections with waterways, crewing with George and Sonia Smith on Cairo and Warwick in the late 1940s. Living in Chelsea in the 1950s, she moved to live on a Thames houseboat there in 1959, and in 1973 her The Amateur Boatwomen was published.

Extent & medium

20 photographs