It's October 1943, West London, and Polly Adams is en route to the inland waterways. But hasn't a clue what's in store…
She will manage a narrowboat, and its butty with two others, if she passes the training of course. Perhaps she imagined it would be a life of gentle drifting along the canals? Or is she more sensible? But could anyone imagine the hardship of the work, and the difficulties of living in a tiny space with two other girls. All of whom have their own problems, just as Polly has.
At nineteen, can she manage? Will the totally different life, amongst a totally different culture, after all, this is the ‘boaters’ province break, or make her?
This is the first of a Milly Adams series The Waterway Girls, set on the inland waterways during the 2nd world war, when young robust women were taken on to help carry essential wartime supplies from Limehouse Basin or Brentford up to where they needed to be.
t is a life that has now gone. Our canals are now commonly used as a recreational facility, or for those who have converted the narrowboats to take to a life on the water.
I met a couple of women on a train who knew some people who had done just what Polly is doing. It sparked my interest, in the Inland Waterway trainees, and the boaters. So The Waterway Girls is the result. It's a homage really, to a remarkable period of our history.