The New Canal

Ron Baxter 1995



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Come all you people gathered here
Come listen to my story
I`ll tell you of the new canal
That is England`s glory
From Kendal down to Preston town
Is fifty seven miles sir
Yet it takes but seven hours
To travel there in style sir.

In former days as you well know
Ere the canal it came, sir
It would take two days at least
Though the distance is the same, sir
And 'though the rich would take the Stage
Afford it we could not, sir
But now the poor can travel too
At more than seven knots, sir.

The driver of the horses three
Is clad in colours gay, sir
He blows his horn at other craft
And bids them to give way, sir
For all the vessels on the cut
They know the horn's message
"Make way! Make way for the fly boat
Make way and give us passage!"

Now the common man is like a Lord
With his coach and four sir
For now he travels in great ease
His comfort is assured sir
So raise your glasses one and all
With songs and adulation
The toast is "To the Company"
Who brought the Navigation.
This song, also called 'The Fly Boat*', was written by Ron Baxter for possible inclusion in a radio programme called "Reflections on a Canal". This was a collaboration between Ron Baxter, Nick Dow and Mally Dow. Nick and Mally at the time presented Radio Lancashire's "Lancashire Drift" folk programme. Thanks to Ross Campbell for passing on a lot of information about this project and to Ron for his permission for it to be used for research/study purposes. This song was not included in the finished programme.
*The fly boat was the express vessel which took priority over all other traffic on the canal. There is a full-size replica of one in Lancaster's Maritime Museum.
"Reflections on a Canal" may have been produced to coincide with the 200th Anniversary of the Opening of the Lancaster Canal. More information about this canal can found on the Lancaster Canal Trust website.