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Everything posted by Hastings

  1. Just in case you're interested, we are publishing a new edition of John Knill's Navy, with some original photos, plus many others. It should be available by late summer/early autumn. Peter, CanalBookShop
  2. The Audlem gathering on 25/26 July has just been cancelled, and we're planning for the 2021 event on 24/25 July
  3. Various pounds at Audlem have been low or empty over the last week, due, as has been said, to virtually no flow coming down through Adderley, where the canal is still closed until a dam round the repair site can be removed (the dam men might be busy somewhere else with floods?). So it's pretty academic whether the Audlem flight is open or not. If going up, you reach Adderley locks - closed, and no winding hole when you get there. If going down, you can get to Barbridge, where again there's a closure awaiting dam removal, and nowhere to turn. And Hurleston bottom lock (where at least you can turn) will be closed for the next ten days.
  4. You can also get Richard Dean's historic map of Birmingham canals from CanalBookShop
  5. We definittely have a couple of copies of Ray Shill's book "The Industrial Canal, The Railway Interchange Trade" at CanalBookShop. This is the standard (and perhaps only) work devoted to railway interchange basins, and it's required reading if you want to know about them. We also have "The Other Sixty Miles". These books are of course secondhand. We may have a copy of the Blue Book, correctly known as "Birmingham Canal Navigations, A Cruising and Walking Guide", but I can't check tonight.
  6. The gathering of historic boats at Audlem on the Shroppie will be held on 25/26 July. It's open to ex-working boats built up to 1962. Please contact Peter and Christine Silvester at Audlem Mill if you'd like to bring your boat - 01270 811059 or info@audlemmill.co.uk
  7. I'll get some DVDs ordered, then let you know. Peter
  8. The film was produced by four friends in 1964, one (Geoffrey Hart) being the father of the university friend who got me into canals back in 1965. It was Geoffrey, I believe, who wrote the script. We at Audlem Mill released the film as a DVD a while ago, although we sold out a couple of weeks ago. We can get more done if anybody's interested. The film was shot about 1962-63; it took a while to process the film and release it.
  9. Hastings


    Thanks - I'll put copies aside.
  10. Hastings


    We have a couple of copies of the "Blue Book", and The Other Sixty Miles, at Audlem Mill
  11. Tam and Di I was involved a little with the similar (but much smaller) event in Braunston Church last December, which attracted about 70 visitors. This year, the event will be held in a large marquee at the Marina, with the day split into sessions of an hour at most - probably a bit less to allow one audience to leave and another arrive. The books being discussed are Di's books (at 12.45), Tony Lewery's new book Off the Mainline, Leo McNeir's canal murder novels, Tom Chaplin's recent book Narrow Boats, Great Canal Journeys with Tim and Pru West, and a book that has nothing to do with canals, A Nun's Story by Sister Agatha. There's also a childrens' session, looking at Dan Clacher's Muddy Waters series. In each session, there will be a person who talks to the author about their book(s), and this might of course widen up to their life with canals. In your case, the 'interviewer' will be Cassandra McNeir, wife of Leo, and cookery writer - in Canal Boat magazine, and a few books. There will be early evening entertainment, with Timothy West and Prunella Scales performing their favourite passages from Shakespeare – with musical accompaniment. Tim/Braunston Marina are funding all the costs of putting this event on, and visitors will pay £10 per session, with all profits going to the Sinking Fund of Friends of Raymond (except that money from the Sister's session will go to a convent). My involvement this year is to provide a CanalBookShop sales stall where visitors can buy the books covered in the sessions. I will contact you direct about this. Do contact me if I've missed something, and I'll try to help. Peter Audlem Mill
  12. Jack Roberts, a fly-boat captain on the Shropshire Union system until fly-boating ended in 1921, describes his boating in his book Shropshire Union Fly-Boats, written in the late 1960s, but published by us only four years ago. Jack came out of retirement in about 1960 to steer Hostelcraft’s boat, Margaret, with Clydesdale horse Mary. Trips started at Stretford. The first week (with passengers paying about £8) was to Llangollen, then the boat visited Tettenhall, then on to destinations such as Coventry, Stratford (obviously from 1964 onwards, when the canal reopened), Leamington, Stourport etc. The boat initially carried 20, in two dormitories, but this was later reduced to 12, to provide better facilities. The steerer, mate and cook slept in the boatman’s cabin and fore-cabin. Jack talks of another boat, Firebrand, running from Guildford to near Hatton – it couldn’t get further up the Grand Union, being 10’ beam (who says wide boats going up the GU is recent? There was also cargo carrying Progress in the 60s). Jack once took Firebrand up the Thames to Abingdon – difficult, as the towing path was no longer suitable for horses, with field fences going right to the river’s edge, so he had to move and replace them where he could, or take the horse on an inland route via paths and roads. Near Lechlade, they had to lead George the horse across the lock-gates!
  13. I see that CRT has proposed that the Shroppie is closed both before Christmas (Tyrley Locks and Market Drayton Embankment) as well as after Christmas (Audlem Lock 12 and Hack Green). In past years, it's always been one or other, so giving some chance to go winter boating. A stoppage of almost three months, apart from the usual short window at Christmas, is excessive, and extremely unfair on canalside communities that rely on canal trade. Does this come about because CRT has now split the management of the Shroppie main line between two areas, with the boundary just south of Audlem? It all used to come under Northwich.
  14. Absolutely right, Dave. I remember coming across them in various places around Suttons in the late 1960s. Peter
  15. (It was Jack, not Alf - I published it!) I've always assumed that the Tilstone building was built for the same purposes as other lock hovels - shelter for maintenance people and lock-keepers. There are other examples, though not so attractive, at Audlem locks 4 and 15. The buildings had stoves, for comfort and boiling water/cooking purposes, but were very small. At Audlem, there were lock cottages at locks 1, 8 and 13 (those at 1 and 13 still exist, though that at 1 has recently been rebuilt such that Telford would turn in his grave), so cover from the elements was available throughout the flight. Other locks on the Shroppie had cottages or hovels. The point to bear in mind though, was that the section of canal containing Tilstone was the Chester Canal, which opened nearly 60 years before the Birmingham & Liverpool Junction from Wolverhampton to Nantwich - hence perhaps the different architectural style. Fly-boats did operate 24 hours a day, but didn't need lock-keepers to help them through; they usually had a crew of four (two on duty, and two "sleepers", who'd be called out for lock flights).
  16. We publish Shropshire Union Fly-Boats, written by Jack Roberts, who was a fly-boat captain before WW1 and until fly-boating finished on the Shroppie around 1921. There's no suggestion in his book that fly-boats went noticeably faster than other boats, but points made above would suggest that they were perhaps a bit faster. They were barrel sided (rounded), and quite light being wood, not iron, as some others at the time would have been. The key points are that the channel was far deeper than now (probably at least four feet), well dredged to the sides, and horses (changed fairly regularly) will always be faster than a motor, on average, especially as they accelerate faster in flights. Jack claimed that they normally cleared the Audlem flight of 15 locks (spread over 1.5 miles) in 55 minutes. Try that now! And the key thing is that Shroppie fly-boats operated 24 hours a day, more or less to a timetable, with a crew of four, though with two sleeping at quieter times. Jack gives some timings in his book, though there's never all the details we'd like. But we know that Birmingham to the Port (Ellesmere Port) was not a lot over 24 hours. Remember also that the fly-boats weren't plagued by miles of moored boats, so they didn't slow down. Incidentally, there seems no real evidence that Shroppie fly-boats had precedence over other boats. I suspect that only applied to packet boats carrying passengers, and there probably weren't any (or many) in fly-boat days on the Shroppie. I'm not able to comment on what was the case with other canals.
  17. The 11th Gathering will be held in the bottom three pounds of the Audlem flight on the Shropshire Union Canal on 27/28 July 2019. Entries are invited for any ex-working boat built up to 1962. For insurance reasons, the person responsible for the boat must be a member of the Historic Narrow Boat Club. Please contact Audlem Mill - info@audlemmill.co.uk to enter your boat.
  18. Hi Henry - I don't have any pictures of Erebus, and in fact did not know of its existence until it appeared in this thread. Also, I don't think that it's on the HNBC list. I'd like to create an entry in the digital version of "Historic Working Narrow Boats Today" that I keep up to date, ready for a future reprint. Would you have a suitable photo I could us? Also, it would help to know length, approx. date built and original owner, if you know. I think I'm right in saying that just about all ice breakers were built for a specific canal company - there are examples around built for Shropshire Union, BCNS, Oxford Canal etc. Many thanks, Peter, CanalBookShop
  19. Within a few days, we'll have the book in stock at Audlem Mill, and available on mail order from www.canalbookshop.co.uk Peter
  20. We have just had it reprinted, and it is now available again on Amazon or from us. CanalBookShop, Audlem Mill
  21. Adie - You may be aware that I wrote and published two books which contain a photo and details of all known historic ex-working narrowboats (Historic Working Narrow Boats Today vols. 1 & 2). Between them, they contain not far off a thousand boats. You can see more about them at www.canalbookshop.co.uk/canalbookshop%20books.html . I didn't know about your ice boat - but do now! Although a new edition of the booksis not imminent, I try to keep the electronic copy of the book up to date, ready for the day. Might I please use your photo? If so, please PM me with your full name, as we attribute photos to whoever took them. Many thanks. Peter, CanalBookShop
  22. Although our shop is closed until the end of February, we can help if you phone us on 01270 811059 - or you can order Knots for the Cut from our book website at http://www.canalbookshop.co.uk/knots.html
  23. Merely out of curiosity you understand ...... and I fully appreciate there aren't many built after 1960 ....... but off the top of my head I can think of three ...... so why not? I seem to remember a thread on here some while ago which listed around 14 or 17 boats that have been built as cargo carrying narrow boats since the 1960s. But the key is that this is a show of historic boats, so we draw the line somewhere. 1960 saw the last boats built for carriers who had been going for decades, or a considerable number of years. Just about all boats built since then have (I believe) been one-offs for individual people, none of whom traded under the names seen prior to 1960. No doubt someone will now tell me how wrong I am - but I'm still drawing the line at 1960! And taking pedantry to the extreme, but "built up to 1960" would actually exclude those built throughout 1960! Alan, you are of course right. Can I amend that to "built up to the end of 1960"? Pedant alert over, I hope!
  24. This year's (10th) annual gathering of historic boats at Audlem on the Shroppie is on 28/29 July. Though a fair few boats are already booked in, we still have space for more. An ex-working boat built up to 1960 is invited to book in - please email info@audlemmill.co.uk.
  25. Hastings


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