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Heartland

Working Boats as maintenance craft

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BW North West operated former working boats into the 1990's. I recall seeing at least one craft at Middlewich in 1997 and another or the same on the way to Preston Brook in 1998. it would be of interest to know which they were.

 

 

Middlewich5.jpg

330121.jpg

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I think they still have one or two on the books. I recall Gailey on a lock gate replacement job on the Ashton Canal ,3 or 4 years ago. Hercules was about not long ago as well.

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I would suggest the first is Severn Dolphin - probably ex-Taygeta, a middle-Northwich GUCCC boat and now being restored at Brinklow.

 

The second I’d Hercules, a GUCCC small woolwich still in use by CRT in the north west.

 

Paul

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I'm sure Pete H, Archie57 or Paul H will be able to tell us immediately.

 

Top one looks like a shortened "Northwich" "Town", so something like Oakley, Naburn, Paddington, Purton or Tipton.

 

Second one has its BW asset number visible - possibly Hercules?

7 minutes ago, Paul H said:

I would suggest the first is Severn Dolphin - probably ex-Taygeta, a middle-Northwich GUCCC boat and now being restored at Brinklow.

Interesting - looks too short to me, but maybe I'm wrong.  I agree it gives the impression of a "Middle" boat.

Did that operate in the North West?  I thought it was on the Severn, hence the name?

EDIT:

On taking a better look, as the engine appaers to remove from the front, not via the roof, I think you maybe correct!

Edited by alan_fincher

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Until comparatively recently, the north west had a policy of using old working boats.  I believe they even had a policy of swapping newer boats with other areas to achieve this.

 

GAILEY is currently on the Macc.  Other boats known to have been in the NW fleet include HERCULES, TAYGETA, MALVERN, GRENVILLE, and EFFINGHAM.

 

There were certainly others and no doubt others will fill in the gaps.

 

George

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That is an interesting piece of information, that CRT operate traditional working boats on maintenance duties. I suppose that over time the original engines have been replaced, but that is again another subject.

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2 hours ago, Paul H said:

I would suggest the first is Severn Dolphin - probably ex-Taygeta, a middle-Northwich GUCCC boat and now being restored at Brinklow.

 

The second I’d Hercules, a GUCCC small woolwich still in use by CRT in the north west.

 

Paul

Correct on both counts, SEVERN DOLPHIN (TAYGETA) and HERCULES :captain:

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2 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

Did that operate in the North West?  I thought it was on the Severn, hence the name?

It is well documented that 4 full length middle Northwich motors were transferred to the South Western Division of 'British Waterways' for use as maintenance boats. These motors were RADIANT, TAYGETA, TUCANA and ZODIAC, along with several other motors (and I believe somewhere between 4 and 6 buttys).

 

It is equally well documented that these 4 motors, along with a few others, lost their original names when they were allocated maintenance fleet numbers - and have been renamed since in a somewhat haphazard way (apart from ZODIAC). One of these middle Northwich motors became No. 1, the only maintenance boat not prefixed B as with others in this area, and served as such with the maintenance fleet most likely based at Gloucester or Sharpness. Tom Foxon states in his book Following The Trade that in June 1956 No. 1 was being operated by George 'Jumbo' Harris on the Brownhills to Worcester Porcelain coal traffic, and this is supported by the health registration Worcester 212 which is dated 26 June 1956 and gives the master as George Thomas Harris with the boat name as SEVERN DOLPHIN. Soon after SEVERN DOLPHIN became a part of the 'British Waterways' midlands fleet, continuing with the Brownhills / Worcester traffic, until this fleet was disbanded in about 1962 - whereupon it became a maintenance boat in the Midlands Region. SEVERN DOLPHIN remained with the Midlands Region until December 1978 when it was transferred to the North Western Division, and was often seen under the captaincy of John Jinks.

 

John Jinks had a previously involvement with SEVERN DOLPHIN as his sister and her husband operated it within the midlands fleet for a while, and Laurence Hogg claimed on several occasions that John Jinks had details of a gauge plate aboard SEVERN DOLPHIN that identified it as originally being TAYGETA. Both John Jinks and Laurence Hogg have passed away and this story remains open in my opinion :captain:

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Aynho and Ayr were used for carrying piling and Lock Gates in the 1970s, operated by Billy Brown and Dolly Dakin (and her 13? children!!)

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2 hours ago, Heartland said:

That is an interesting piece of information, that CRT operate traditional working boats on maintenance duties. I suppose that over time the original engines have been replaced, but that is again another subject.

Around 10% of all narrow boats taken over by 'British Waterways' ended up as maintenance boats of one sort or another. Off the top of my head they still have ARCAS, GAILEY, HERCULES, MALVERN. All of their 'Heritage' narrow boats, with the exception of CARINA, were formally maintenance boats.

 

I have details of just about every maintenance boat engine change, but I do not have the serial number for every one :captain:

 

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image.png.34d56d0fa5a28abc6db02b7cc6abb95c.png

 

The last pair of boats delivering coal to Worcester in the early 60's (don't know what the motor is)

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4 hours ago, pete harrison said:

SEVERN DOLPHIN remained with the Midlands Region until December 1978 when it was transferred to the North Western Division, and was often seen under the captaincy of John Jinks


I realise I have had a serious "senior moment" Pete, for which I apologise.

I should have known that eventually the boat got transferred to the Norh West, as I have actually photographed it there, (albeit as TAYGETA).

IMG_1039.JPG

 

It must be trick of the camera, but it looks too short to me in the original photo posted.

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Guest
4 hours ago, pete harrison said:

Around 10% of all narrow boats taken over by 'British Waterways' ended up as maintenance boats of one sort or another. Off the top of my head they still have ARCAS, GAILEY, HERCULES, MALVERN. All of their 'Heritage' narrow boats, with the exception of CARINA, were formally maintenance boats.

 

I have details of just about every maintenance boat engine change, but I do not have the serial number for every one :captain:

 

MALVERN is moored behind us near Bunbury today. She has bags of ballast on board and is clearly still working. I want to take Malvern home with me.
There is one such boat sunk close to Middlewich, possibly Hercules but not 100% sure.

 

 

 

 

IMG_4067.JPG

IMG_4068.JPG

IMG_4069.JPG

 

Edited by Guest

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I've had a brief chat with John Blun about when he worked Scorpio on the maintenance fleet.

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funny I spoke to a CRT guy at the lock just before harecastle going south direction.

 

he was saying about both MALVERN and Hercules when CRT did some work maintenance on them

he said the guy running Hercules demanded the back cabin and engine room not to be removed swapped ect he said as a result it's still a lovely boat and steers really well. on the other note malvern was gutted and engine and back cabin swapped apparently it's a pig to handle.

 

on a note Hercules was as Northwich on the weaver just after Easter, malvern was somewhere on the Shropshire but cant remember where at easter

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16 hours ago, David Schweizer said:

Aynho and Ayr were used for carrying piling and Lock Gates in the 1970s, operated by Billy Brown and Dolly Dakin (and her 13? children!!)

The competition for the fastest & best piling along just before the start of the thicket was won by Tommy  Humphries ( ex lime juice run his first wife was Grandads Sister) & Tommy Osborne (my Nanny's brother) & Billy Brown was taken in at birth by cissy Sibley (grandads sister)  all  ex boatmen & at the time where living in the cottages on the thicket I can remember in true boatman's style  the celebration went on for days afterwards as most 

100_4582.JPG

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There are a number of ex maintenance boats attend the braunston show. Most are cut down to work up north, have the signs of abuse from hard work, and have cabin addition or modification  from when they were no longer long distance boats.

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I noticed this boat at Braunston, but it lacks indentity...

 

There is a possibility that it was a former working boat, and ZODIAC is moored nearby.  

 

DSC_0108r.jpg

Edited by Heartland

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Ex-butty Achilles. This is the former bow section motorised by Roger Farringdon (I believe still owned by him) and moored outside his slipway.  Achilles was for many years in the fleet of Birmingham and Midland.

paul

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On 28/06/2019 at 13:33, Paul H said:

Ex-butty Achilles. This is the former bow section motorised by Roger Farringdon (I believe still owned by him) and moored outside his slipway.  Achilles was for many years in the fleet of Birmingham and Midland.

paul

And I believe the stern end was tied up next to it over the weekend, as it is now the foreend of a new boat.

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3 hours ago, FadeToScarlet said:

And I believe the stern end was tied up next to it over the weekend, as it is now the foreend of a new boat.

Achilles in 1994:

Achilles.jpg

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3 hours ago, FadeToScarlet said:

And I believe the stern end was tied up next to it over the weekend, as it is now the foreend of a new boat.

I'm not convinced, but equally I'm happy to be proved wrong by those in the know.

I think it is more likely the boat next to it was made from the back end of Argo.


Achilles is  not the only Small Woolwich butty to have been turned into two boats there...

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Yes, It is nice to know what happened to Achilles even of it was not a BW maintenance boat. B&M did use it on maintenance though.

 

Here is a picture if it helping with the ICC build....

 

 

630681.jpg

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18 hours ago, Heartland said:

Yes, It is nice to know what happened to Achilles even of it was not a BW maintenance boat. B&M did use it on maintenance though.

 

Here is a picture if it helping with the ICC build....

 

 

630681.jpg

Don’t wish to take anything away from that post but it would be the Brindley Place build. The ICC was already there at the time.

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