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The last canal carriers


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11 hours ago, archie57 said:

Two motors,  Chertsey and an ailing Dipper

So, again if I am reading the records correctly. the boats you were with were unloading at Croxley on the same day that REDSHANK and ARA were loading at Gopsall Wharf - so you must have been on the way back empty when you passed REDSHANK and ARA tied at Braunston :captain:

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9 hours ago, pete harrison said:

So, again if I am reading the records correctly. the boats you were with were unloading at Croxley on the same day that REDSHANK and ARA were loading at Gopsall Wharf - so you must have been on the way back empty when you passed REDSHANK and ARA tied at Braunston :captain:

Correct!

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  • 1 year later...
On 19/06/2019 at 11:54, Paul H said:

I think the first two boats, Milton Maid and Milton Queen were built in- house by Johnson Bros. 

 

The third boat, Milton Princess was supplied by Malcolm Braine of Norton Canes and lives on as Milton as a passenger boat for London Waterbus Co.

 

The boats carried China between the two works at Hanley and Milton but in 1986 the Milton operation was closed and Princess became disused and was sold off.  The other boats were then only used in a limited way around the Hanley site.

 

Paul

Have come across this picture of Milton Queen under construction, from the IWA Bulletin dated December 1973

EPSON015 Resize.JPG

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46 minutes ago, Heartland said:

It is nice to see who built these two boats. These craft must have been somewhat rare as they were built, it seems, to pass under a lowered drawbridge. 

Perhaps so - though I'm sure that, many years ago, I saw a picture of one showing that it had a cage-like superstructure.

 

Edit: found this 1993 photo on the internet.

pottery boiat.jpg

Edited by Athy
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On 18/06/2019 at 16:36, Dav and Pen said:

I believe that the last carriers on regular traffic were three fellows on the lime juice for ACT. ACT also organised the last of the Croxley traffic using various private carriers.

not sure when the cement traffic from the long ichington works to Sampson road finished, no doubt somebody has the details

I've only just come across this thread. Beginning of 1973 we noticed that BW's three pairs on the barrel run had stopped passing by and went to see Dennis Williams at Brentford. He said that their boats were being laid up prior to sale and the contract was due to recommence later in the year with Ashby Canal Transport, but that they were unable to start. He said if we came to the depot in 2-3 days we could work directly as contractors to BW. We did the first run with Towcester as single motor, and then hired Martin Toms' Hyades as butty. ACT had put the job out to 3-Fellows but they couldn't get down so we carried on then as contractors for ACT, and bought Stamford and Bude on tender from BWB. 3-Fellows did then do the run for a couple of years but subsequently got more involved with gravel work and we took it on again until it finished in 1980 when L.Rose lost the lease on the land at Boxmoor. In 1973 limejuice was still in nice ethnic wooden barrels. but there were quite a few 'leakers' which made the trip interesting as the juice slopped about. They changed to steel drums at the end of the year.

 

Tam

 

 

01a:0.jpg

01d copy.jpg

Edited by Tam & Di
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On 19/06/2019 at 13:13, David Mack said:

I thought the Murrels were the last to carry lime juice. They also carried grain to Coxes Mill on the Wey ( but not in narrow boats).

We did trial runs with grain brought up from Tilbury to Weybrige in a 300dwt Dutch barge and then trans-shipped to our boats for the last bit up the Wey. Trans-shipment made it uneconomical and we subsequently bought a small Trent motorbarge (Clinton) to do the whole run in one hit, together with Bill Fisher & Alan Boswell in their little Annie.

 

While I'm about it here's a photo of how we loaded at Gopsall 'in the good old days' before people had the bright idea of getting it pre-bagged. (Bingley had been sold to Kim McGovern by then. We changed our colour scheme for the 1977 Jubilee).

 

Tam

01y-324.jpg

01j.jpg

Edited by Tam & Di
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Stamford and Bude ended up with Graham Holland. He had the bright idea of ballasting them down with scarifyings and laying a ply floor on top.

He fitted a basic conversion and sold the pair for £10000 in a tesco carrier bag, ( which for interests of security ended up in Atalanta’s range oven overnight, in case the buyer came back at night.

The new owner was told in my hearing not to even sweep the front of Stamford under the shuts, never mind chip it in the water.

The inevitable happened, as the buyer chose to start investigating the bottoms.

Most of the conversion and insides of the boats ended up spread between Rickmansworth and Cowley, where I think the motor ended in dock.

Bude now has a sparkling new full length lid and lives below Cropredy.

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4 hours ago, Tam & Di said:

We did trial runs with grain brought up from Tilbury to Weybrige in a 300dwt Dutch barge and then trans-shipped to our boats for the last bit up the Wey. Trans-shipment made it uneconomical and we subsequently bought a small Trent motorbarge (Clinton) to do the whole run in one hit, together with Bill Fisher & Alan Boswell in their little Annie.

 

While I'm about it here's a photo of how we loaded at Gopsall 'in the good old days' before people had the bright idea of getting it pre-bagged. (Bingley had been sold to Kim McGovern by then. We changed our colour scheme for the 1977 Jubilee).

 

Tam

01y-324.jpg

01j.jpg

Which motor is next to Bingley in the last picture?

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I believe Tom & Ellen Humphries were the last crew to "do" the Lime Juice Run for BW. (Stand to be corrected)

As well as Stamford & Bude (lower picture) they crewed Stamford & Aston.

 

Sorry unable to give credit for second photo.

Tom Humphries.jpg

Stamford & Bude Tom & Ellen Humphries.jpg

Edited by Ray T
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I think you're right Ray - the other two pairs were laid up due to their poor condition leaving just Tom and Ellen with Stamford and Bude. I'm intrigued that they had a load of steel drums in your photo. The limejuice was still in wooden barrels when we took the run on in March 1973 as shown in the shot of us in Lock 80 when we had Bude on hire from BW right at the beginning before we bought her on tender. BW had to keep the barrels sprayed with water in the depot to avoid too much shrinkage. Unfortunately I've mislaid my "limejuice" file and can't remember when we first loaded steel drums, but here's another early shot at Boxmoor, with Bude still on lease. I see that there are drums stacked up at the back though.

 

Tam

 

 

01g-5:1973.jpg

Edited by Tam & Di
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Comet and Betelgeuse loading Gopsall 1974 and work party dredging out spilt coal with help of WRGs smalley. Also view of the famous kerb to stop the tippers finishing up on the boat.

06D09663-11D3-47DD-84BF-2C374BCB2D94.jpeg

585D6760-C612-40DA-9CF6-08D2EA87EDF2.jpeg

Edited by Dav and Pen
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We've passed Gopsall a number of times, and if you didn't know about its place in waterways history, you'd scarcely notice it. We have occasionally seen cars parked there, so presumably enthusiasts do visit the site.

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2 hours ago, Dav and Pen said:

Comet and Betelgeuse loading Gopsall 1974 and work party dredging out spilt coal with help of WRGs smalley. Also view of the famous kerb to stop the tippers finishing up on the boat.

06D09663-11D3-47DD-84BF-2C374BCB2D94.jpeg

585D6760-C612-40DA-9CF6-08D2EA87EDF2.jpeg

It's the "Ash" rather than the "Betelgeuse"

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55 minutes ago, archie57 said:

It's the "Ash" rather than the "Betelgeuse"

I have taken the information from Tom Henshaws photograph. I have looked at another photo from that day which shows the Butty’s cabin but without any writing on it and none on the fore end. The date is actual 1973.

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Is it recorded where the coal came from when it was delivered to Gopsall Wharf on the Ashby Canal. Local collieries included 

 

NCB South Midlands Area

Desford, Donisthorpe, Ellistown, Measham, Rawdon, Snibston and Whitwick.

 

The bulk of traffic went out by rail, but the concrete loading wharf at Gopsall still provided the option for canal transport as is seen on this Ashby Canal website, image-

  

Gopsal Wharf (1) 1971.jpg

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17 minutes ago, Heartland said:

Is it recorded where the coal came from when it was delivered to Gopsall Wharf on the Ashby Canal. Local collieries included 

 

NCB South Midlands Area

Desford, Donisthorpe, Ellistown, Measham, Rawdon, Snibston and Whitwick.

 

 

  

 

Based on local knowledge and memory rather than on research: Snibston would be unlikely: it was in the middle of Coalville and had its own railway which connected to the Midland line.

   When we phoned the Coal Board to order our coal, it was sent from Rawdon. This was the centre of local mining operations and I think it stayed open longer than the others you mention. Donisthorpe was close by, so that's a possibility too.

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A lot of the house coal we loaded came from Baddesley (not sure of spelling) although not local the complicated way the coal board operated at that time meant that the factor we used had allocations of coal from certain pits. I seem to remember Whitwick as having lot of slate in it. Desford was good for small stuff. The haulier who the factor used came from Hanslope Northampton and he would load us and then take a load back. The regular drivers got used to loading boats and became very good and personally I wouldn’t have let my boat been loaded like the butty in the picture. The crew were faced with an awful lot of shoveling to make that load level.
unlike the trade now Our customers were mainly canal side houses, farmers, some pubs and on the Thames and the Weaver the lock houses.

For the weaver we once loaded at Kidsgrove Forest of Dean coal as the NCB were having industrial relation problems at the time.
looking back it seems strange that we didn’t consider pre packed coal but at that time the pre pack trade was very much a convenience one and we were supplying in bulk and needed the extra bit of profit from doing our own bagging. Ironically I was a director of a company in Northampton that did pre pack coal on a fair scale of 2000 tons a year.

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42 minutes ago, Dav and Pen said:

It’s hard now to believe the price of coal at this time

F23A2230-7167-424C-B28A-76DED210CFDC.jpeg

 

....and that it was cheaper in summer. My parents always used to get their coalhouse filled in August. I don't think that coal merchants do that nowadays.

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56 minutes ago, Dav and Pen said:

Desford was good for small stuff. ........
unlike the trade now Our customers were mainly canal side houses, farmers, some pubs and on the Thames and the Weaver the lock houses.

I seem to recall when we loaded DS (known by all as 'dirty smoke') it came from Desford. Our trade was much the same - we alternated one trip to Bishop Stortford and the top of the Lea with another to Frampton on the Berkeley Ship Canal with sundry sales en route, so it was a pretty wide spectrum. We'd put an ad in the local paper saying when we'd be there, and trade was quite brisk. We got used fertiliser bags from farms en route - it did the hands no good at all lifting them, particularly in wet weather. We tended to use shops that had traditionally been used by boat people where possible - no matter how much you washed your hands they were always totally ingrained with coal, and you'd offer your money from a closed fist, hands downwards.

 

I can't find the date at the moment, but this is Cadbury's Wharf at Frampton. Our kids lived on free bags of broken chocolate biscuits there. It was also possible to lie in the boats bottom with an air gun and shoot pigeons that roosted on the overhead gantry for dinner - they'd land conveniently on your lap.

 

Tam

01i.jpg

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