Three Million Wheelbarrows: The story of the Eau Brink Cut
Three Million Wheelbarrows is the story of the Eau Brink Cut, a short channel which diverted the River Great Ouse from a long semi-circular course directly to the sea at King’s Lynn.
For centuries, the River Great Ouse had flowed through East Anglia providing vital transport to the port of King’s Lynn, but frequent floods along its course destroyed vast areas of rich farm land in Norfolk and the neighbouring counties.
As floods increased, Fenland landowners planned to improve drainage by straightening the river to hasten its flow. This was bitterly opposed by King’s Lynn merchants who feared it would result in currents so violent that ships would be endangered and the harbour destroyed.
The River Great Ouse itself chronicles its resistance to man’s control during more than fifty years when engineers offered radically conflicting solutions to the problem. Its evocative commentary frames a story of human frailty overwhelmed by concerns that ideas from Revolutionary France or a French invasion would descend on the Norfolk countryside.
Measures to counter-act social unrest in Britain caused by hunger and poverty following the Napoleonic Wars finally sealed the fate of the River Great Ouse and its Eau Brink Cut.
Now, the river continues to offer a cautionary message of accelerating natural change and the consequences of man’s effects on our environment.
The book will be published in the middle of June to coincide with the bicentenary of the opening of the Eau Brink Cut.
We will be happy to accept any pre-publication orders.