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Dig Deeper – The river highway

Dig Deeper

Sailing a Humber Keel

Can you imagine the river as it bustled with boats in the early 1800s? Cargoes included coal, grains, building materials, and supplies for local clothiers, metalworkers, brewers and bakers. Drains were cut to improve riverside pastures. Illustration by Pete Urmston

Humber keels were one of the main types of offshore and river cargo vessels during the 19th century.

You can watch one of these magnificent vessels under sail off the coast of Lincolnshire.


Find out more about Bedford’s River Highway