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L. T. C. Rolt 1910 - 1974

Tales From The Towpath
Where Other Waters Flow
Up The Cut
Birmingham Canal Navigations
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The Hereford & Gloucester Canal
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Bosworth Summit Pound - A Story
L. T. C. Rolt 1910 - 1974
Gloucester Docks and the Sharpness Canal
Middlewich Folk and Boat Festival
The Bold Navigators
Lost Routes
Contemporary Campbells

Landscape with Canals and Figures

L.T.C. Rolt 1910 - 1974

Lionel Thomas Caswell Rolt (usually abbreviated to Tom Rolt or L.T.C. Rolt) (1910-1974) was a prolific English writer and the biographer of major civil engineering figures including Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Thomas Telford. He is also regarded as one of the pioneers of the leisure cruising industry on Britain's inland waterways, and as an enthusiast for both vintage cars and railways. Born in Chester, he studied at Cheltenham College and then trained as a mechanical engineer, before taking up an engineering post at a company in Stoke-on-Trent. Rolt produced many works about subjects which had not previously been considered the stuff of literature: civil engineering, canals, railways, etc. His first book, Narrow Boat, was an account of his and his first wife Angela's honeymoon journey around the canal system of the English Midlands aboard a 70ft long wooden narrowboat named 'Cressy'. He spent 12 years living afloat. He was a co-founder and the first honorary secretary of the Inland Waterways Association. A bridge on the Oxford Canal in Banbury bears his name, as does a centre at the boat museum at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

He was also a founder member of the Vintage Sports Car Club.

During the early 1950s, Rolt was general manager of the Talyllyn Railway – he founded the Talyllyn Railway Preservation Society, the world's first preserved railway - near Tywyn in mid-Wales, where a locomotive 'Tom Rolt' was later (1991) named in his memory. His book Railway Adventure recalls this period.

As a writer on the history of engineering and technology, he was vice-president of the Newcomen Society, a member of the Science Museum Advisory Council, and a Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature.

Sleep No More1948
Constable (London), 1948

Rolt's non-fiction work included:

Narrow Boat (1945)
Inland Waterways of England (1950)
Landscape with Machines (1971 –
the first part of his autobiography)
From Sea to Sea (1973)
Landscape with Canals (1977 –
the second part of his autobiography)
Landscape with Figures (1992 –
the retitled third part of his autobiography)
He also wrote ghost stories and
two collections of his work were published:
Sleep No More (1948) [contains Bosworth Summit Pound]
Two Ghost Stories (1994)

Canals & Waterways: Roots & Routes

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