Tooley’s trades boats for books for upcoming launch

Matt Armitage of Tooleys has completed his book about the boatyard NNL-180110-133032001
Matt Armitage of Tooleys has completed his book about the boatyard NNL-180110-133032001

Proprietor of Banbury’s Tooley’s boatyard, Matt Armitage, will officially launch a book about the yard’s history at a public event this Saturday.

The canalside yard is the oldest continually working dry dock on the inland waterways having been in use since 1790. It also houses a 200-year-old working forge.

Appropriately entitled ‘Forging Ahead’ the book covers the history of the Oxford Canal and the relationship Tooley’s and the waterways have enjoyed for the past 228 years.

The creation of the book has been a labour of love for Matt. He said: “I took about a year to write it. Originally and I was going to self publish but I got a publisher interested, called Windlass Publishing and they encouraged me.

“I spent another year re-writing it and adding a bit more of a personal journey from me, so it’s taken two years in total.”

Matt will launch the book at the boatyard at 11am on Saturday, October 6 during the boatyard’s regular public opening between 10am and 1pm.

Forging Ahead features 133 photographs, some very rare, 140 pages, first-hand accounts from people who have met the Tooleys to the present and future of the yard. The book retails at £11.

Matt said: “There’s a forward by Timothy West too, which is nice.”