Health Inspectors
The reminiscences of Bob Grace . . .
Returning to the subject of the health of the boat people, this became a matter of national concern and an Act of Parliament was brought in that all canal boats must be inspected and checked for their ‘canal worthiness’, and for the health of their crew.  This fell under the duties of an Urban District Council where the boats were registered and in Tring in 1933 there were 76 boats on the Tring Register, 11 of which were motorboats.  In 1937 there were 100 boats on the Tring Register, of which 17 were motorboats. 

This caused quite a lot of trouble to the Surveyor of the Urban District Council, who was also the Health Inspector, and Inspector of Canal Boats, for which he received an extra salary which I believe was something like one shilling per boat inspected.  He was always complaining that he was never able to inspect any of these boats because he could only inspect them if they were actually tied up in the Tring area for the day and if he had been notified of that fact.  This meant that when he had to give his return at the end of the year for the number of boats inspected, it was always much less than the authorities required and the result was that threatening letters came from the Ministry of Health saying that Tring had not done its duty in inspecting canal boats. 

The boats became registered in Tring because they had been built or repaired at Messrs Bushells’ yard.  Along the top of the cabin usually, in white lettering on black paint, could be seen the words ‘Registered at Tring No .....’ so that each boat could be easily identified as to whom was responsible for inspection.

[Biographic notes, c.1977] Bob Grace lived in Tring for most of his life.  He was born at Parsonage Farm, which formerly stood on the site of Bishop Wood School.  As a boy he attended the old National School at Tring.

He worked in Tring all his life and eventually joined the family’s corn and milling business which had been in existence for 250 years before it ceased in about 1977.