The Water Gipsies (novel)
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The Water Gipsies Novel
The Water Gipsies
AuthorA. P. Herbert
Publication date
Media typePrint

The Water Gipsies is a romantic comedy novel by the British writer A. P. Herbert, which was first published in 1930. It portrays the adventures of Jane Bell and her sister Lily, who operate a barge along England's rivers and canals. Jane enjoys several romantic entanglements during the story.

The novel is Herbert's best-known work, and reflected his lifelong love of British waterways.[1] He lived in Hammersmith Terrace, and a thinly disguised version of The Dove pub appears as The Pigeons.[2]



In 1932 the novel was made into a film directed by Maurice Elvey and starring Ann Todd as Jane Bell. It was the last film made by Associated Talking Pictures at Beaconsfield Studios before relocating to Ealing.


In 1955 Herbert collaborated with Vivian Ellis to produce a stage musical of the film. The cast included Dora Bryan, Doris Hare and Jerry Verno. It was a success, running for 239 performances.[3]


  1. ^ Head, Dominic (2006). The Cambridge Guide to Literature in English. Cambridge University Press. p. 509. ISBN 978-0-521-83179-6.
  2. ^ Fisher, Stuart (2012). The Rivers of Britain: Estuaries, Tideways, Havens, Lochs, Firths and Kyles. Adlard Coles Nautical. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-408-14656-9.
  3. ^ Traubner, Richard (2003). Operetta: A Theatrical History. Routledge. p. 335. ISBN 978-0-415-96641-2.

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