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The Ouse reaches into the heart of Yorkshire from the Humber Estuary. Until the 1980s, loaded barges made the challenging journey from Hull to Selby, bearing bulk cargoes for the mills of the town. The bargees had to be tough and resourceful; physically strong enough to handle their craft, wise enough to combat the rivers shifting currents and savvy enough to deal with those supplying short measure.
Laurie Dews of Selby worked the Ouse from 1937 to 1987, and is now the only ,man remaining with first-hand experience of a lost way of life. In this book, "River Ouse Bargeman", Laurie's words of wit and wisdom give a skippers eye view of a barge loaded to the gunwales fighting upstream, unloading at the mill and drifting back with the tide.
Laurie spins many a yarn about a bargeman's social life, too. His first-hand account includes the mysterious river crafts of singling out and penning up, the tricks and tell tales to show where the ever-shifting river channel lay and the camaraderie of life in the close-knit watery world.
In this book, alongside Laurie's account, there is a factual commentary, illustrated by many images from Laurie's collection dating back over a century, and extracts from official documents and maps.
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