... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Thursday 6 July 2017

Fabulous photos

Between Facebook and CanalWorld, there probably aren't many of you who haven't already seen these fabulous pictures taken on the GU by a French photographer in 1944 - but if nothing else, it'll save me losing the link.


  1. Sarah, These are astounding, thank you for posting the link.
    Does anyone know who the women are in the pictures?

    1. Some of them are identified in the captions; some of the names are well known from the various books written about the 'Idle Women' - but I wouldn't have the confidence to identify them myself.

  2. But they are fantastic, aren't they - and, I was surprised to find, I was able to download them.

  3. Graham (and sarah),

    This photo collection I think largely only features three "Idle Women", "Audrey, Eyelyn and Anne", who are by a mile the most photographed, because they were regularly used for publicity purposes. This crew was also one of the longest, (if not the longest?0 to serve together, and are credited with being able to do as well as the best of those born into the job of boatmen and boatwomen. The blonde, (unsurprisingly always the most photographed), is Audrey Harper. The dark haired one without glasses is Evelyn Hunt, and the one with glasses is Anne Blake. If you Google them, all have fairly remarkable CVs over the years, (although can't quite match Sonia Smith/Brown/Rolt or Olga Kevelos!). Auudrey Harper was traced to her home in Australia a few years back, and there was a truly lovely interview with her about her time on the boats. Sadly despite looking very well in the film, she died soon afterwards, and the video seemed to become hard to find after that. (Obviously another very identifiable face is Sister "Mary" Ward).
    Many of these pictures have been used repeatedly before, but I have never before seen such an extensive set.