31 July 2013

Horse Ferry

On Tuesday I was at Norway Bay on the north shore of the Ottawa River. A historic plaque by the jetty mentions there used to be a horse powered ferry from their across the river. The image from the plaque shows the ferry. I was familiar with Horseferry Road in London, nearby where the Society of Genealogists used to hold their annual Family History Fair, succeeded by Who Do You Think You Are? Live, but hadn't though much about the origins.

The story of the horse powered ferry in North America is told in an article When Horses Really Walked On Water. The image is from http://nautarch.tamu.edu/newworld/pastprojects/LChorseferry.htm. Comparing these two images you can spot the slanted rails in the first image where the horses would be at work.

Apparently many of the ferries across the Ottawa River, including at Quyon, were once horse powered.

This article from British History Online makes no reference to the means of propulsion for the ferry across the Thames from Lambeth to the terminus at Horseferry Road; all fares mentioned involve horse and rider or horse-drawn conveyances.

Thanks to Christine Jackson for help with this item.

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