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David Schweizer

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Posts posted by David Schweizer

  1. 4 hours ago, CIEL said:

    Is that the same Pisces that became the Hillingdon Borough Community Youth boat?

    It is the same Pisces aquired by Hillingdon Youth and Community Service in 1966, and used since then as a Community Youth boat since then, I was one of the original Volunteer crew members, and remained one until I moved to Birmingham in 1971. Some years later the Charity Hillingdon Narrowboats Association was formed and Pisces was transferered into their stewardship, and still going strong.

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  2. 3 hours ago, yes said:

    Hi all


    I stumbled upon this and was curious to see if anyone has any more information.


    In the dim past I hired one of these boats with the distinctive front and from time to time spot very similar boats on the water, that I tend to assume are ex-hire fleet.  I wondered if anyone knew any more about the style - is it unique to Wyvern or was it more common at some point in the past?  It looks like Wyvern are still commissioning these, but perhaps they just keep their boats much longer than I had expected.  Does anyone know what the average life as a rental might be?


    (I've not interest in buying one, just curious)


    (Postcards from the past is a nostalgia twitter account which shares images and text from old postcard collections)





    We had the same feature on Pisces, back in the 1960's. I know that Wyvern started hiring in the late 50's/early 60's. so maybe they copied us.

    Here ia a very poor photo of Pisces in 1967 showing the already installed "side wings"



  3. On 10/02/2023 at 19:04, MtB said:


    One of the reasons I contribute very little to the gas threads is the reams of half-truths and total tosh posted by so many people with total confidence.


    There is so much ol' shyte gets posted that countering it takers up more effort than I'm willing to make, so I just back out. 



    I have given up posting advise or information on timber treatments for the same reasons. Despite having been trained by a Master Cabinet Maker, and having worked with wood and restoring old furniture for the last 60 years, I now seem to know less about wood treatments than someone who can read all the claims off the back of a tin that they bought on the internet. There are also several other competent woodworking members who no longer post, presumably for similar reasons.



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  4. Although I understand the feeling that poor quality trades people should be named, I have never been happy for that sort of subjrctive information being made available publicly. In what is essentially a small community where people share information orally, it should not be too difficult for boaters to find out which traders can, or cannot, be trusted to do a good job. I was fortunate inasmuch as I rarely needed any work doing, but when I did, I knew exactly who to use, and have never had any reservation in recommending them to others.




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  5. 7 hours ago, Tracy D'arth said:

    A time and motion assessment is required I think. I have seldom seen so much material shuffling and walking about in a production unit.

    May I ask, how many lock gates have you ever seen being made, and what is your Joinery experience.? The work pattern may look repetetive to an untrained eye, but I was very impressed with the quality of workmanship, particularly the attention to detail with the blind mortice and tenon joints.





  6. Personally, of the two, I would go for the Colecraft, a well established company with a reliable reputation for well built boats. Mike Heywood boats have attractive lines, but if you go for one, make sure you get a full hull survey done by an experienced surveyor.



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  7. Apart from the odd mooring pin or piling hook, I don't think I have ever dropped anything inyo the canal that could not be retrieved, or replaced easily. However I did recover a lady's pair of spectacles which she dropped into the canal whilst walking in front of me along the towpath towards the (now defunct) Napton Bridge Inn. She was able to pinpoint fairly accurately where they entered the water, and I managed to retrieve them on second attempt with the Keb, which I always kept on the boat roof. Needless to say, I did not have to buy any beer that night!!

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  8. 15 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:


    So when did the Collins family switch to the Belmont then, please?


    I assumed, (perhaps wrongly) that it would not have been until maybe the mid 1960s.


    Both Stanton and Belmont were aquired by Blue Line in 1965 and were worked by Jim and Doris Collins, until trading ceased in 1970. 

  9. 8 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

    Looking smart!

    I struggle to see that as Doris Collins, although as it is Belmont, it surely must be.

    What is it on top of the slide?  A radio, possibly?


    I didn't have to struggle at all to recognise Doris Collins.

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  10. 53 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

    If a grp boat is not suitable to be left on the canal over winter, then don’t leave it on the canal over winter. Or put down adequate ice boards. It seems fairly logical to me. What is not logical or reasonable is to say “my boat is not strong enough to be on the canal in ice with moving boats and therefore I demand that no-one else uses the canal for its primary purpose.”


    But anyway, a grp boat in good condition is not that delicate. The fuss is mostly hysteria caused by owners reading stuff on social media, not based on any actual experience. Plenty of grp boats were around when ice breaking was the norm. Same hysteria that makes steel boat owners think their blacking is going to be damaged.


    Very true, but in the 1960's many grp's were only single skinned, and most of those that moored above us on the GU at Uxbridge were hauled out onto the bank during the winter, During the same year as my earlier photo. I witnessed one being sliced in half and sinking when a loaded Single motor went through. I can still remember the name of the boat and the person steering it.



  11. 1 hour ago, booke23 said:


    I agree. The attitude that you shouldn't move in ice or even bad weather seems to be becoming more prevalent. I notice on various Facebook groups people posting videos of someone who dared to cruise past them in ice because they needed water....and getting all irate about it. 




    Moving through even quite thick ice was normal when I started boating in the 1960's, when most of the boats were fully loaded working boats who had a living to make. We were not a working boat, but our captain ws a former working boatman, who had no compunction about moving through ice. This was us breaking through the ice in December 1968, you can see from the layers of broken ice how many boats had already been through.





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  12. 45 minutes ago, magnetman said:

    I like that pocket windlass ! One for a man with muscle and technique I think, Or is it just a sample? It seems exceptionally small.


    I've got a similar sized bronze key which actually came from America but happens to fit the modern spindle size. It will bend if you go too hard but does fit in the pocket. There is a way to use a pocket windlass which does not involve imparting all of the force to the handle part.


    Not sure where it is. Will have to dig it out for this thread I suppose ! No markings on that one.



    I believe the copper alloy example above doesn't fit anything but the iron one does.


    The internal dimensions of the socket on the "Keays Dock" Windlass are  3/8" x 3/4" , so certainly not for lock gate spindles, but it might make a good bed spanner (anyone remember them?)



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  13. This thread has rejuvinated my interest in Cooke windlasses, causing me to delve a bit more into my records. Below is a photo of the "Keays Dock" windlass which Laurence Hogg owned, followed by a copy of the brass windlass in the OP. As can be seen, they have a number of subtle differences, not least of which is a different mark on the presented side. Interestestingly the positioning of the Pipeclay and GH COOKE are on the same sides on all the examples known to me, but the pipeclay only mark can appear on either side when not accompanied by the GH COOKE mark.  I have a theory as to why, but am reserving judgement at the moment.








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  14. 8 hours ago, Stroudwater1 said:

    Thanks David for your assessment. I’m curious though why anyone would go to the lengths of casting one from brass at a later date?  I hope it wasn’t as a forgery but surely until recently it’s a very niche market? We’re any brass windlasses then made by GH Cooke? 

    Would the stamping of the name and pipe come after casting? The name is a reasonably crisp stamping and would seem to have been done with the whole name stamped rather than individual characters stamped one at a time.  The pipe bit isn’t and seems to possibly have been done when cast? (hence my IWA thought 😞 

    Somewhere I have the original invoice and image from the time I bought it which would have been around 2006-12 . It wasn’t sold in the canal section nor advertised as such, so the seller wouldn’t have cast it. It was sold as a spanner for steam engine IIRC 🤣 

    Either way I can reassure all it’s a keeper. I’ve got a few of the other ones that Ray posted that used to be on sale at Fradley Junction many years ago. My Dad used to buy them and give  to friends who crewed with us on  holiday so it’s a reminder of those days. 



    It is extreemly unlikely that Cooke ever made any items in anything other than wrought iron, he was a Village Blacksmith, working either on his own or with a son as an apprentice. If he did work in brass, he would have, almost certainly, described himself as a Brass Founder as well as a Blacksmith in the census returns. There was an Iron Foundry in Wheelock, associated with the Salt Works, but there is no evidence of there ever being a Brass Foundry in the village


    With regard the the marks on the OP'S brass windlass, they certainly appear to have been cast rather than stamped, which would involve having two (expensive) stamps being made. This raises more questions, was a wrought iron windlass bearing both the GH COOKE and pipeclay marks used as a pattern, in which case , where is it? or did the caster butcher a full size cooke windlass to achive the two marks? The one person who might have been able to throw a light on this would have been Laurence Hogg, who is sadly no longer with us.







  15. 1 hour ago, magnetman said:

    They have G.H COOKE on one side and the churchwarden pipe stamp on the other side exactly the same as the little copper alloy item in the OP.


    I'll see if my gallery is still on here from yars ago as have a picture in there somewhere.


    No need to search. Here are a couple of pictures of both the GH COOKE and Pipeclay marks. These are, by far, the best examples I have seen, most are usually far less clear.:-







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  16. 27 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

    Just seen a Skipton TV advert - help you invest your money so you can make enough to help your daughter get her 1st 'pad'.


    Picture of her cruising into the Sunset in a widebeam .


    "She never was one for 'bricks and mortar".

     Wake up Alan, they have been running that advert for months.

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  17. 7 hours ago, Ray T said:

    Old thread.




    Thanks for that reminder Ray. Was it really 15 years ago that I announced my intention to research the maker of windlasses stamped with the name G H COOKE?  As you know, I started the research, and have found conclusive evidence of the maker. Unfortunately, I had not completed the research before I was unexpectedly dignosed with a serious medical condition, which put a stop to my researches for a good while. After I had recovered, some of my research avenues went cold, and my enthusiasm diminished. I still have all my research data, and have added to them spasmodicly over the ensuing years. I guess that I should publish that which I do know before time runs out.


    A small wrought iron windlass of similar proportions as that illustrated in the OP's post, and bearing the pipeclay mark  was discovereed at Keays Dock some years ago , but it does not bear the G H COOKE mark. It is possible that another exists somewhere with the G H COOOKE mark, however the Brass one appears to have been cast more recently, possibly using a wrought iron one as a pattern, but I am confident that it was not made by the same maker of the iron G H COOKE windlasses which were much prized by working boatmen.



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  18. 33 minutes ago, Loddon said:

    This all makes me glad I don't have and never will have a bubble tester fitted.

    Give me a manometer every time.



    In agree. The transparent reservoir on my bubble tester fractured, leaking gas into the gas locker. I removed it and replaced it with a test point located close to the central heating boiler. Every examiner after that was quite happy to use a manometer, which is what the domestic gas company use to check for leaks in a house system.

  19. As some members will know, I have a collection of old Oil Lamps which use Premium Paraffin as a fuel. My supply of paraffin is getting a bit low, and I am finding a supplier difficult to find.  Until recently Premium Paraffin could be bought in 4litre containers from Garage Forecourts, Hardware Shops, Garden Centres, and even in B&Q, but suddenly all the usual sources are no longer longer stocking it, quoting the unwillingness of Couriers to carry small quantity suplies. Does anyone know of a supplier where I may be able to get hold of some?

  20. 16 hours ago, Joseph said:

    Hear hear Mike (Pluto)!! 


    One could start a separate thread about people who were, it seems, great experts on waterways history, kept it all to themselves, then went to their eternal rest with their work unpublished and documentation booted into the recycling bin. 


    You are absolutely right - with historical research, the focus should be getting it into the public domain, so that others can (hopefully with credit due to the original researcher) follow on. 


    End of secular sermon...😀


    All the best, everyone


    Joseph B


    And therein lies a problem. I used to undertake quite a lot of of genealogy research, particularly for people living overseas with English ancestors. , and who could not easily get to the UK for long periods to visit Records offices etc. I made no charge for the work I undertook and was, consequently, dissapointed when two separate people (both in America! ) chose to publish that information on web sites, claiming the research to be their own. Lesson learnt, I now only send information to people who I can trust to credit the source.



  21. On 12/11/2022 at 17:59, Chris101 said:

    Displaying my ignorance but what's lockwheeling? I'd rather ask a stupid question than remain stupid in perpetuity.


    Sorry for not replying to your question until now, I have been in Australia for a month and only returned on Wedneday.


    Lockwheeling is the use of a bicycle by a crew member to cycle ahead of a boat to set the locks, so that they are ready when the boat arrives. Lockwheeling used to be undertaken by by most working boat crews, particularly on long flights where the locks were a good distance between each other. One person I recall still lock wheeling until the very end of commercial traffic was Bill Whitlock working the locks for Blue Line's Lucy and Ian and later Lucy and Renfrew.


    Bill can be seen lockwheekung in this vdeo  (about 4 1/2 minutes in to the film)



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