Digital documents landing page

Documents, reports and booklets

This Society is building a digital collection of material holding interesting content regarding the people, places and vessels once found on the canals and rivers of Yorkshire.  These documents have been loaned by enthusiasts who want to preserve and publish material about the heritage of an industry which once underpinned the industrial success of the county but today has all but disappeared. We have had them professionally digitised and then returned the originals to their owners.

Our collection of documents relating to Yorkshire’s waterways may be accessed by choosing a topic below and clicking the button: 

Aire and Calder navigation Logo

Aire and Calder Navigation Company

This collection holds two “corporate brochures” originally published by the Aire and Calder Navigation Company in the 1930s. 

Their content and style suggests they were produced to impress potential customers and nearly a hundred years later, they have certainly impressed us.

Goole 2026

In 2026, Goole will be celebrating its bi-centenary. The Knottingley to Goole Canal, the port and the embryonic town of “New Goole” was opened for business on 20 July 1826. One hundred years later Goole celebrated that very important birthday in a grand manner. The program of events was published and can be seen here.


First hand accounts of what life was like on and around the waterways are a valuable record for students of history. We hope to place out of print material back into the public domain so that it can be enjoyed by a new generation.

Boat and Ship Building 

Alongside Yorkshire’s waterways there were a surprising number of boat and ship builders. The depth of water available for launch constrained the size of the craft built but keels were being built as far inland as Apperley Bridge. Sea going vessels were built at Beverley, Hull, Hessle, Knottingley, Goole, Selby and Thorne. Shipbuilding has disappeared from the waterways leaving little trace but these documents remind us of the days when Yorkshire did have an important shipbuilding industry.


A number of well known waterways historians have donated the results of their own research to YWHS. Have a look at their reports and you may find something to help in your search for your own ancestors. 

 Publication permission for copyright images

We acknowledge that copyright images are being shown for which no explicit permission to publish has been given to this Society. Many of the digital images shown had originally been produced with the knowledge and permission of the now defunct Yorkshire Waterways Museum from original photographs deposited there for public display.  Following the closure of that organisation in 2019 and the break up of their collection those original photographs have disappeared and have effectively been lost to the public.

Through an incredible stroke of good fortune digital copies of those images were donated to this Society in 2022 allowing our volunteers to finally achieve the wishes of those photographers and collectors who had made the original donations.

If you are the copyright holder and would like to contact the Society please use the form below.


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