The History Of Canterbury Historic River Tours Visitor Attraction
As with many cities, Canterbury was founded and thrived because of its river. The land on which Canterbury is now built is where the River Stour forms a series of islands, and was the easiest place for the Romans to find a crossing on their travel from the Continent to London. The river has always played an important part in Canterbury's growth, initially providing drinking water and a food source and later the power for the city's growing milling and weaving industries. Flooding has often been a problem for the residents of Canterbury, from the times of the Romans to more recently when the floodgates at one end of the river were installed.
On the 26th of March, 1932 the first river tour departed from the Black Friars Monastery under the name Canterbury Friars Ferry' with local residents and dignitaries gathering to celebrate the event. Mr. Albert Coole, then Canterbury' official city guide, said that the object of the ferry service was to show visitors to the city some of Canterbury's beauty spots from an entirely new angle. The Kent Gazette covered the inauguration of the event, and was officially opened by the Hon. Mrs. Hardcastle and her husband, The Archdeacon Hardcastle, who believed the tour would be popular in the summer months having seen similar tours in other parts of the country. Able Seaman Brice, who had recently retired from The Royal Navy, led the first tour dressed in a traditional Nelson's sailor uniform and thereafter became the first of Canterbury's boatmen!