1955 – a very good year

The 1950s in England would have been a bit austere. Rationing was still in place, and ‘make do and mend’ was still the fashion mantra. The war was over and we had won a costly victory over Germany and its allies. Rebuilding would take decades, both in England and across Europe.

But there was an air of optimism in England, and in that climate a bonny baby boy was born to Richard and Awena, who were living on a narrow boat in Paddington, London. They already had one son called Andrew who was 18 months old. Their dog, Flash, guarded the family who lived quite comfortably aboard the converted craft, called Beatrice, which had mod cons such as a bath and a telephone.

little venice

The Inland Waterways Association was in its infancy, but had powerful leadership in Robert Aickman and Tony Rolt. Awena and Richard played their part in promoting the campaign to clear the canals and waterways of junk and repair the locks, which had fallen into a sad state of disrepair. Railways and road transportation had swept aside most deliveries of cargo by narrow boats, although some of the heaviest loads such as coal were still transported on the canals.

The baby boy was born in a local NHS hospital and currently resides in Belfast, the proud husband and father of his own two boys and a daughter.


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