Dredging up a new history of transport and trade on the Trent

08 May 2013 17:08:44.447
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Historians from The University of Nottingham are teaming up with local history societies, libraries and museums in Nottinghamshire to draw up a new history of the river Trent.

This new collaboration between members of the University, local historians, waterways heritage groups and interested individuals will produce a comprehensive study of the river Trent since the mid-nineteenth century, to be published as a full-length book. The project kicks off with a one day University of Nottingham ‘Day School’ in association with the Friends of Newark Heritage Barge and the Railway and Canal Historical Society on Saturday 18 May 2013.

The one-year research project is called ‘Transport and Trade on the Trent, 1850-1970’ and has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council as part of its Connected Communities Programme. This enables universities to develop closer links with the wider community and is a useful way of gathering ‘living history’ accounts from people who have memories to contribute to modern research.
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The University of Nottingham’s Manuscripts and Special Collections Department has some of the records of the Trent Navigation Company, established in 1783. Other material is in the National Archives at Kew. The sources paint a fascinating picture of how, during the Industrial Revolution and later, the river provided an invaluable means of transport for heavy goods. A network of canals linked towns on the Trent to Manchester, Liverpool and London, while the Humber, Ouse and Aire provided links to Hull, Leeds and York.

Philip Riden, of the University’s Department of History, said: “We are hoping to welcome a wide range of local historians, waterways enthusiasts and others to this event, including retired boat masters who worked on the Trent whose memories will be invaluable for this project. Very little has been written on the modern history of the river and this project aims to remedy that”

The free one-day public event ‘Transport and Trade on the Trent, 1850-1970’ includes an introductory talk on the project by Philip Riden, a presentation called ‘Working Boats’ about life on board canal and river craft by writer and historian Dr Wendy Freer, President of the Railway & Canal Historical Society, as well as sessions of how to research the history of the Trent in this period.

The event takes place at 10.30am on Saturday 18 May 2013 at the Newark Academy, Lilley & Stone site, London Road, Newark NG24 1TT. Enrolment is via email to philip.riden@nottingham.ac.uk or telephone 0115 951 5685/01246 554026 (evenings)

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Picture: 'The Leicester Trader, the 70-year-old Trent barge being restored by enthusiasts at Newark to become a floating heritage centre for the river'

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…

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More information is available from Philip Riden on +44 (0)115 951 5685, 01246 554026 (evenings), philip.riden@nottingham.ac.uk; or Emma Rayner, Media Relations Manager, Communications, University of Nottingham on +44 (0)115 951 5793, emma.rayner@nottingham.ac.uk

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