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#1 vintagescubaman

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 09:32 AM

I was wondering if anybody knew the dates that Hancock and Lane were in business boat building? Is there any record of the boats they built?

Editor's Note: Two similar topics have been merged for completeness - the original topic started with this post and the later topic started here.

Edited by NB Alnwick, 26 February 2010 - 08:38 PM.

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#2 alan_fincher

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 10:46 AM

I was wondering if anybody knew the dates that Hancock and Lane were in buisness boat building? Is there any record ogf the boats they built?

They were very prolific, and already heavily in production in the early 1970s.

Graham Booth's book "The Inland Boat Owners Book" says "Several owners claim to possess the 'last H&L ever built' (in 1984)", although when the book was published H&L were still in the engineering business.

He describes the boats as "slightly chubby, unremarkable styling", but that is not accurate, as they also built some sleek boats with long swims, and fine lines that went like a rocket, and handled superbly, (in forwards and reverse).
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We have had a wonderful time at the Alvecote Historic Boat Gathering, but all good things have a habit of coming to an end, and now have two boats needing taking "home" together.

We are now near Grafton Regis on the Grand Union (Friday night).

 

Narrow boats SICKLE and CHALICE blog


#3 KEDIAN

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 05:56 PM

They were very prolific, and already heavily in production in the early 1970s.

Graham Booth's book "The Inland Boat Owners Book" says "Several owners claim to possess the 'last H&L ever built' (in 1984)", although when the book was published H&L were still in the engineering business.

He describes the boats as "slightly chubby, unremarkable styling", but that is not accurate, as they also built some sleek boats with long swims, and fine lines that went like a rocket, and handled superbly, (in forwards and reverse).


I worked for hancock and lane in the 70s the began about 1970 and produced a large number of boats and comercial craft they are best known for the Norsman style boat they also built a smaller boat with a raised front deck called Marlin these were mostly 30 feet in length I worked for them from 1972 through to the end which I belive to be 1984 I was made redundant twice At the finish there were only four of us left and at one time they had at least 8 teams of 3 men building boats and employed 60 men many other companies have been borne out of this skilled labour force It is true that the boats were a little dumpy however many of these craft are still in use on the canals giving testimony to there build quality they were in there time considered by many to be at the forefront of the industry I would regulaly work 70 hrs a week to keep up with demand starting at 6 am and finishing at 6 pm 5 days a week and then doing a Saturday morning for good measure The eatly starters were summoned at 8 am for a trip to Willerby to the cafe for cooked breakfast on the firm I am still boatbuilding I was only 19 when I started work Thats enough from an old boatbuilder
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#4 Athy

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 08:18 PM

No, not enough - your memories are fascinating, thank you. Which boatbuilder do you work for now?
H&L were, so I'm told, considered to ne the Rolls Royce of builders in the '70s, with Springer as the Skoda! Don't get me wrong, I've never owned a Springer but I think they have character.
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#5 Big Steve

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 10:50 PM

I have a 1976 Norsman, 54' , no patches and still very sound. It's a bugger to reverse though, but perhaps that's just my incompetence showing.
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#6 Dekazer

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 09:35 AM

I have a 1976 Norsman, 54' , no patches and still very sound. It's a bugger to reverse though, but perhaps that's just my incompetence showing.


Ours is a 46' 1978 Norsman, and is also a bugger to reverse - the bow veers off wildly. This has, however, allowed me to do some quite spectacular manouvres which onlookers take to be extremely skillful when in reality I just bung it in gear and hope for the best :lol:
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#7 RLWP

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 12:41 PM

when in reality I just bung it in gear and hope for the best :lol:


Do you mean that there is another way of manouvering?

Richard
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#8 O'Mali

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 02:10 PM

I worked for hancock and lane in the 70s the began about 1970 and produced a large number of boats and comercial craft they are best known for the Norsman style boat they also built a smaller boat with a raised front deck called Marlin these were mostly 30 feet in length I worked for them from 1972 through to the end which I belive to be 1984 I was made redundant twice At the finish there were only four of us left and at one time they had at least 8 teams of 3 men building boats and employed 60 men many other companies have been borne out of this skilled labour force It is true that the boats were a little dumpy however many of these craft are still in use on the canals giving testimony to there build quality they were in there time considered by many to be at the forefront of the industry I would regulaly work 70 hrs a week to keep up with demand starting at 6 am and finishing at 6 pm 5 days a week and then doing a Saturday morning for good measure The eatly starters were summoned at 8 am for a trip to Willerby to the cafe for cooked breakfast on the firm I am still boatbuilding I was only 19 when I started work Thats enough from an old boatbuilder

Do you know Mike Gratton/Grafton? I think he was a foreman there and started up again as MG Fabrications and then as MG Narrowboats in Northampton and he started producing the Norsman again? I had one and liked the style of them.

He has since vanished from the scene I think.
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#9 KEDIAN

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 06:05 PM

Do you know Mike Gratton/Grafton? I think he was a foreman there and started up again as MG Fabrications and then as MG Narrowboats in Northampton and he started producing the Norsman again? I had one and liked the style of them.

He has since vanished from the scene I think.



Hi I now work for myself Kedian Eng Ltd I also do work for Probuild narrow boats at Stockton Warickshire Sadly Mike Gration died this year I worked with him for a number of years
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#10 O'Mali

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 06:23 PM

Hi I now work for myself Kedian Eng Ltd I also do work for Probuild narrow boats at Stockton Warickshire Sadly Mike Gration died this year I worked with him for a number of years

Oh that is sad. I got to know him quite well when he built my boat. A very nice guy.He was in the business for a long time and knew what he was talking about regarding boats.
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#11 KEDIAN

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 07:58 PM

Oh that is sad. I got to know him quite well when he built my boat. A very nice guy.He was in the business for a long time and knew what he was talking about regarding boats.


He was a nice guy and very easy to get on with there are fewer and fewer boat builders of the old school now youngsters dont seem to want to get there hands dirty prefering computers etc
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#12 Stevethetrain

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 09:12 PM

Can someone tell me anything about the boatmaker Hancock and Lane? I've tried looking on the internet to no avail.
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#13 Albion

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 10:06 PM

Can someone tell me anything about the boatmaker Hancock and Lane? I've tried looking on the internet to no avail.


As far as I can reacall they operated from Daventry in the 70's and 80's perhaps. Were quite well respected at the time in mid-range shells.
Roger

Edited by Albion, 26 February 2010 - 06:10 PM.

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#14 Laurence Hogg

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 10:12 PM

Can someone tell me anything about the boatmaker Hancock and Lane? I've tried looking on the internet to no avail.

Hancock and Lane was a steel fabricator and boatbuilder in Daventry. They built a lot of boats and supplied kits, many hire boats were H&L.In the early 1980's the boatbuilding business got into a price war, so as not to become unprofitable or reduce quality H&L departed from boatbuilding. They placed a large advert in Waterways World saying goodbye to their supporters and customers. It was a loss to the boatbuilding world as their quality was very good. They continued in business in the steel structure side of things. As "boatmans cabin co" I supplied the brassware for their boats, so if you have one you have BCC equipment as fittings. They also ran a small Chandlery at their factory. The buyer was David Taylor who after H&L finished boatbuilding, worked with me for BCC then went to be the buyer at Midland Chandlers. He now works for Aquafax.

This was their chandlery display of BCC stuff.
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#15 alan_fincher

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 11:09 PM

Quite a lot more discussion in This Old Thread.

EDIT:

No! Scrub that! - That thread now appears to have been merged into this one!

Edited by alan_fincher, 27 February 2010 - 09:30 AM.

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We have had a wonderful time at the Alvecote Historic Boat Gathering, but all good things have a habit of coming to an end, and now have two boats needing taking "home" together.

We are now near Grafton Regis on the Grand Union (Friday night).

 

Narrow boats SICKLE and CHALICE blog


#16 hamsterfan

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 11:15 PM

David Hammond went out on his own as a steel fabricator
he built
Vixen (foxton boat services) horse boat
Communicator (joint build with myself)
and as far as i know put the new bottom in Corolla (ex zoo bus and FBS)
don't know about the other guys who worked there
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Ex Foxton Boat Services / Clubline / IWHC. ex boats include Mabel & Forget me not ,
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Currently Skippering Zachariah Keppel, Wiggonholt & Josias Jessop.
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#17 hamsterfan

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 11:21 PM

interesting that this has been resurrected on the other thread
i knew Mike Gration very well and his neice is still one of my gas customer, sadly missed he almost got to build Communicator but in the end i went with his colleague David hammond who did most of the steel work for me.
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Ex Foxton Boat Services / Clubline / IWHC. ex boats include Mabel & Forget me not ,
Snipe & Taurus, Virginis, Vagabond, Charlotte Dundas I & II and Communicator
Currently Skippering Zachariah Keppel, Wiggonholt & Josias Jessop.
Maintenance Manager (W&ACT) & maintain the Loxwood Link

Wey & Arun Canal - opening Southland Lock 21 June 2014 & starting rebuild of Gennets Bridge Lock


#18 David Schweizer

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 11:27 PM

Hancock and Lane boats were built like tanks, and still fetch good prices today. For several years I worked a trip boat built by them, and whilst it wasn't the prettiest boat on the canal, it handled well and stood up to plenty of hard work without complaint.
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#19 tony collins

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:50 AM

H&L also built some wide beam boats for the French hire market. I remember them being placed in the water (for inspection) at Whilton Marina prior to being shipped out to the British company starting up in France. This would be around 1976. There were two main types an "American" style with a very flat cabin top, forward wheelhouse and (I think) a flying bridge, they were about 45/50ft long. The others were more conventional centre cockpit cruisers, slightly shorter. I THINK the customer company were an offshoot of Blue Line, but I could be wrong.


Tony.
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One thing that never changes-nothing ever stays the same

#20 mrsmelly

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 03:05 PM

Can someone tell me anything about the boatmaker Hancock and Lane? I've tried looking on the internet to no avail.


:lol: In 91/2 I used to drive a 72 foot narrowbeam trip boat on the leicester section gu and the river soar. It was built like a tank and took frequent knocks especialy when the river was in flood which it tends to do quite a lot. It was an old boat then but good quality. If you are thinking of buying one I would think them still a good bet. :lol:
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