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Arthur Watts Collection


Photographs with negatives showing British and some European waterways in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Newscuttings and personal papers including canal organisation papers and journals.

Reference code



Watts, Arthur (Mr)

Administrative /‚Äč Biographical history

Arthur Watts Arthur Watts (1903-2003) was born in Portsmouth, and after an apprenticeship in carpentry, became a peripatetic teacher. He had developed an interest in photography from his youth, mainly photographing rural landscapes. From 1952, he began to photograph canals in school holidays, developing the film himself. He photographed working boats, including the recording of many techniques, and maintenance activities, along with derelict waterways. Most waterways photographed were in Britain (including Scotland) but he also visited those in Ireland and mainland Europe. Most photographs were monochrome prints, taken during school holidays; he visited by caravan, and did not boat until 1978 with hotel boats. The collection finished in 1978, when his eyesight began to fail, and his collection of about 7,000 images was donated to the (then) British Waterways archive at Gloucester in 1995.

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