BANBURY MP Tony Baldry has unveiled a blue plaque by the Oxford Canal in the town in memory of Tom Rolt, the man credited with saving the country’s canal network.

Mr Rolt and his wife Angela spent their honeymoon cruising the canals of England in the narrowboat Cressy in 1939, after setting off from Tooley’s boatyard in Banbury.

It led to him writing the classic book about inland waterways, Narrow Boat, in celebration of canals.

It also led to him setting up the Inland Waterways Association, of which he was the first secretary in 1946.

Mr Baldry said: “Britain’s canal system fell seriously into disrepair after the Second World War.

“Goods were being hauled either by rail, or increasingly by road, and the leisure use of our canal network hadn’t started to take off.

“It was Tom Rolt, an engineer and canal enthusiast, who did more than anyone to save England’s canal network, and who was responsible for the founding of the Inland Waterways Association.

“The Oxford Canal is an important asset locally and it is right that we remember the contribution of Tom Rolt.”