Harry Arnold awarded MBE

Harry Arnold Inland waterway journalist, author and photographer, Harry Arnold MBE lives and works by the Trent & Mersey Canal at Alrewas, near Lichfield. Born in Warrington in Cheshire, for the first 21 years of his life Harry lived between the Manchester Ship Canal and the Bridgewater Canal – then he and his young family moved to Staffordshire, initially to work and live beside the Shropshire Union Canal at Norbury Junction

Originally an engineer and technical artist, trained at Liverpool College of Art, Harry has been taking photographs since schooldays. He has been professionally involved in waterways and the marine industry for over 50 years, starting as a partner in a horse-drawn hostelboat, based on the Bridgewater Canal, then moving full-time into holiday boat hire and boat building. He came out of that sector of the industry to write about, photograph and promote rivers, canals, inland boating and the marine industry.

As a journalist, editor and photographer Harry is a regular contributor to boating magazines, particularly WATERWAYS WORLD of which he was one of the founders. His work also appears in many other publications. Previously he was the Riverbank News editor for MOTOR BOATS MONTHLY for many years, Editor of CANAL & RIVERBOAT, Associate Editor of MOTOR CRUISER, owner of NARROW BOAT magazine and Editor of the INLAND WATERWAYS GUIDE; for 17 years he was Editor WATERWAYS, the magazine of national charity The Inland Waterways Association. His specialist knowledge of the inland waterways industry is especially useful in contributing to trade publications such as BOATING BUSINESS.

Harry Arnold was the first professional secretary of trade body the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators – representing the inland waterways sector and now part of the British Marine Federation. He has been part of a number of award-winning teams working on museums and tourist attractions, including the Llangollen Canal Exhibition which won the prestigious British Tourist Authority “Come to Britain” Award, presented by HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales.

Trading as Waterway Images, on the commercial side his company specialises in photography and publicity for the waterway, marine, leisure, tourism and transport industries, undertaking photographic, writing, publicity, public relations and consultancy work for many well-known companies and organisations - such as Hoseasons Holidays, ABC Leisure and Ireland's Shannon-Erne Waterway project - in the UK and mainland Europe. Harry’s specialist knowledge of boats, boating, canals and rivers, their industries and uses is of considerable advantage to such clients. With daughter Julie – whose company works with Harry’s – he was retained as consultants to The Inland Waterways Association in promoting the national campaign against government cuts to navigation authorities’ budgets.

Harry undertakes all types of photographic work for navigation authority British Waterways, covering news, record and leisure projects, along with producing two of their annual calendars. Civil engineering photography is a particular speciality, utilising his wide-ranging knowledge of waterway history and construction, and he has worked for BW on such major projects as the modernisation of the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation and the Anderton Boat Lift reconstruction. Waterway Images has also documented the London International, the Southampton International and other boat shows as official show photographers for National Boat Shows Ltd.

The Waterway Images Photographic Library is possibly the largest collection of canal and river photographs in the world. It holds over 400,000 negatives and colour transparencies - in various formats and now supplied digitally - on all aspects of inland waterways; plus allied marine, transport and tourism subjects. It embraces 60 years of Harry Arnold's own work, other archive historic photographs and drawings, and accesses other photographers’ work by arrangement. Holiday cruising, waterway engineering, architecture and environment and the days of the old working craft are particular specialities.

Harry regularly acts a waterway/boating consultant for broadcast, video and radio programmes for the BBC and independent production companies. He is the author of The Montgomery Canal and its Restoration – published by Tempus Publishing Ltd. - and The Llangollen Canal – about Britain’s most popular holiday waterways – published by Landmark Publishing Ltd, and is contracted to produce a number of other books.

On the voluntary side of inland waterways, Harry has campaigned for retention and reopening of a number of waterways, particularly in the north west of England and in Wales. He has been directly involved in the restoration of the Montgomery Canal since the scheme started and is a trustee of the Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust. He is a past chairman of the Shropshire Union Canal Society and of the Trent & Mersey Canal Society – of which he is now a vice-president.

Harry has served on many committees of national charity The Inland Waterways Association (IWA) - including the National Council, the board of the Waterway Recovery Group and also as Marketing Director of National Waterways Festivals Ltd; promoting the IWA National Waterways Festival, the biggest waterway event in the world. He was awarded the IWA Richard Bird Medal for services to the Association, and has been recently appointed as a national Vice President of IWA.

Harry is one of the founders of The National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port. A specialist in historic craft, he was until recently chairman of the Shropshire Union Fly-boat Restoration Society - a charity that has restored the last horse-drawn canal fly-boat in the world, Saturn. He continues as a trustee/director and is now president of The Saturn Project. Harry along with his wife Beryl (a nurse specialising in Hospice work) were also for many years trustees of The Beatrice Charity, which operates a specialist boat providing day-trips for children with a need to get afloat. He was made an Honorary Life Member of the Bridgewater Motor Boat Club in recognition of his campaigning for the Bridgewater Canal and the waterways in the north-west.

His writing and images plus Harry’s knowledge and vision, imparted via his work or when public speaking – both professionally and as a volunteer – have informed and enthused many people to experience Britain’s inland waterways and in turn actively volunteer themselves. Examples range from magazines and guides withinternational circulation, to leaflets ‘re-launching’ The Beatrice Charity in North Staffordshire or promoting the Montgomery Canal, through to collaborating on the script and appearing in “A Cut Through Alrewas” - a film about the Trent and Mersey Canal made in 2008 by, and featuring, people from the Staffordshire village where he lives and volunteers as part of the Alrewas Arts Festival team.

Waterways run in the family. One of Harry's grandfathers worked on the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal and a great-grandfather was skipper of a Mersey Sailing Flat, and subsequently motor barges trading on the waterways of Merseyside and the Irish Sea. Harry & Beryl’s early holidays were spent cycling and boating, exploring canals and befriending some of the last working boat crews – before they moved to Staffordshire to work in the emerging leisure boat industry. Today daughter Julie lives and works in the Staffordshire Moorlands, where she volunteers with the Stoke-on-Trent Branch of The Inland Waterways Association and is Chairman of the Caldon & Uttoxeter Canals Trust, whilst son Mike canoes and scuba dives and works as a Scenes of Crime Officer with Staffordshire Police.

Harry was awarded an MBE in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours List for the significant role he has played in Britain’s inland waterways scene for almost 50 years. Well known in the waterways world as a photographer and as a writer - recording the changing places, craft and people of the waterways since the late 1950’s - he is also widely respected for his voluntary involvement in a broad range of aspects of the inland waterways, where he excels in his dedication and commitment, combined with enthusiasm, vision, knowledge and tenacity, to record, conserve, restore and promote the heritage of Britain’s inland waterways system – history, structures, craft, traditional skills and way of life.


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