Salute to the women who managed canal boats during wartime

A double bill of theatre, poetry and music will whisk its audience back to the days of the Second World War.

Monday, 4th June 2018, 1:15 pm

Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways is set in a time when a shortage of crews to keep the working boats going, brought a new breed of boater to the canal.

Young women, later nicknamed the Idle Women, took on the challenge of managing a pair of 72’ narrow boats and 50 tons of cargo.

The production by Alarum Theatre sails into Hollingwood Hub, near Staveley, on June 12, where it starts at 2pm.

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Before the Women’s Training Scheme formally started in 1942, there was one woman already working a single boat. Daphne March operated the Heather Bell throughout the war in the West Midlands.

The theatre company’s tour follows the route that Daphne mostly worked on a route from Worcester to Tipton and Cannock, and then by Nancy Ridgway, over the Chesterfield, and from Liverpool to Leeds.

Come and enjoy Isobel’s War (Kate Saffin) and Idle Women and Judies (Heather Wastie), as they follow the routes worked by lesser known women.

Book online at