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Old WW - surprising advert


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8 hours ago, Mike Todd said:

Thank you for that - as I said, the dry details of company accounts often point to an interesting story and anyone who can share more of John Lawes' history would be welcome (at least to me!) Interestingly, the one major incorrect assumption I made was about Anne but that was because she was never a director but only the Company Secretary. As far as I can see, DOB is required for directors but not for Company Secretaries or shareholders!

 

Some of the online listing are, I think, a bot fluid about who is the actual publisher - I failed to discover that Robert Wilson was within the John Lawes stable. Some of the books listed by Book Depository as from Belmont are elsewhere given as published by others including some I saw as David and Charles.

 

I do have some the titles - eg Idle Woman - but they are all on the boat so I could not look them up directly. May be one day . . .  keep dreaming of better days!

To clarify the rights to books.  The first eight of the ten books in the Working Waterways series were published by Mark Baldwin in the 1980s-1990s with permission of the copyright owners, though some had (due to having been written often much earlier) been previously put out by other publishers.  John Lawes published the final two, again with permission, after having acquired the rights to the first eight books from Mark Baldwin.  Hence there is another edition of "Maidens' Trip" available, and possibly of another title.  We at CanalBookShop at Audlem Mill are now the sole distributor to the trade of the whole series (on behalf of John Lawes/Belmont).  John also acquired the rights from Robert Wilson to his wonderful series of books, most having been written by Robert or by Alan Faulkner, who both died reasonably recently.  John issued new editions of two or three titles under his Belmont imprint, including a much enlarged version of "FMC".  Again, we are the distributor for that series of books.  This fits in with our canal book publishing portfolio, which concentrates on books of a historical nature.

 

I believe that in the past, Belmont might have published new editions of, or reprinted, one or two books first published by David & Charles, who of course started with exclusively canal and railway books, only to move away from them almost completely.

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2 hours ago, John Brightley said:

Hi Peter. Thanks for letting everyone know about this. It is very good to hear that John Lawes is still active, and it occurs to me he must have a few tales to tell. Perhaps you can encourage him to write a book about his own experiences - or at least record a few notes for future generations !

John

I'd love to get John to record his canal related experieces, as it would make fascinating reading, but I fear it won't happen.  I've known John for nearly 40 years on and off, and I have heard lots of experiences.  I gather that his first canal related role was as office boy in about 1948 or 1949 in the IWA office in Robert Aickman's house in Gower Street, WC1.  Perhaps his memories on that might be interesting!

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On 15/01/2021 at 20:28, magpie patrick said:

For clarity - I was drawing attention to the classified ads only, and referring to the November 1972 issue of WW, mainly because of the business for sale ad. 

 

The very first issue, "Spring 1972" has seven "proper" adverts for hire boats on the canal network along with Caley Cruisers on the Caledonian and an advert for Hoseasons. The seven include names still familiar - Teddlesey, Willow Wren and Shropshire Union Cruisers of Norbury, and the only one I don't recognise at all is Admiral Line of Uxbridge. There are two in the classifieds - Belmont and one that is obviously Eggbridge (who went bust in about 1984?) - there are only seven classified ads in total. two boats for sale, two hire businesses and three canal/boat societies, as @John Brightley suggests, probably because it was the first issue. 

 

The Spring edition tells you what's coming up in the Summer edition, and gives a press deadline for it - the Summer edition never happened, the next one was October as they went monthly.

Glad you share my interest and hold onto those brochures! They're gold dust for research like this! 

Admiral Line of Uxbridge was very short-lived but was quite innovative for it's time.  They were based at the old stables opposite the Linden Doors timber dock at the Packet Boat Lane bridge over the GU.  Now the service point for the marina behind "The Turning Point".  They started building steel boats, fitted them and hired them from about 1968.  The boats had a number of distinguishing features (apart from the thin guage steel). The hulls from 40 to 50 ft had a shallow Vee and it swept up to a squared off bow making it look like a landing craft.  The rear deck was a separate compartment which could be detached and swapped for another.  This was a self contained driving unit that had a small BMC engine converted to run on LPG driving through an Enfield or similar small out drive leg.  The main cabin did not have conventional window frames - at least in their later iterations - the cut outs had U channels running above and below in which ran panes of perspex.

They ceased trading by 1975 when I bought one of their unfinished hulls as a project boat.  Here is a photo if I am allowed to insert it in my first post.

chrisalis_1b a .jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Fascinating information really.

 

There are still smaller hireboat operators out there, many of which offer fantastic service as well a very viable business, such a Chas Harden at Beeston, Middlewich boats, however most have been swallowed but much larger regional/national outfits, of which there are pros and cons!

 

However I cant think of any companies as small as two boats and three outboards. And clearly having a standalone 'pushertug' based modular cabin boat didnt take off, if still common for commercial work boats/flats etc.

 

Daniel

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The Admiral Line "driving" unit was rigidly bolted to the "cabin" and operated as a conventional single unit boat. I only found out that they could be separated when they were actually doing it when I was passing their base one day.  Presumably it speeded up turnround days if a boat came back with engine problems or required maintenance.

In my version I permanently bolted the engine "tank" to the cabin and squeezed in a lister SR2 (?)  air cooled, 2 cyl, with power take off from the camshaft.  No gearbox.  My first iteration drove an Ocean outdrive jet unit with the reversing bucket supposedly designed for use with low speed displacement craft.  That didn't work too well as it required a lot of revs before the jet effect kicked in and then although the revs could be dropped a bit it still required the boat to move at a fair speed to maintain the "jet" effect.  So no ability to travel at tickover and the reversing bucket was next to useless for stopping in a hurry.  Eventually had to swap out the Outjet for a conventional Enfield drive leg which was a great improvement.

Chris  

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1 hour ago, DHutch said:

However I cant think of any companies as small as two boats

 

There are a few one boat outfits around - you can get a hireboat licence for one single boat without needing a fixed base.

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1 hour ago, DHutch said:

Fascinating information really.

 

There are still smaller hireboat operators out there, many of which offer fantastic service as well a very viable business, such a Chas Harden at Beeston, Middlewich boats, however most have been swallowed but much larger regional/national outfits, of which there are pros and cons!

 

However I cant think of any companies as small as two boats and three outboards. And clearly having a standalone 'pushertug' based modular cabin boat didnt take off, if still common for commercial work boats/flats etc.

 

Daniel

 

Here's one with just three boats!

 

Canal Boat Hire (nortoncanesboatbuilders.co.uk)

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I think the hire operation out of Twyford Wharf has either two or three. They include Conqueror and Chieftain - apparently the owner is ex-Tank Regiment.

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32 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

There are a few one boat outfits around - you can get a hireboat licence for one single boat without needing a fixed base.

And sometimes the owner thinks they can just take a berth in a marina for turnaround without declaring this intent to the marina! Alas for them most marinas are just a bit more savvy than that!

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On 16/01/2021 at 11:30, Athy said:

That's very interesting. We moored at Springwood Haven for some years and knew the Wagstaffs and their hire fleet. We knew that it had formerly been based on the outskirts of Atherstone, but had no idea that the Wags hadn't founded it.

I moored my second boat (Dolphin 20) at the original Valley Cruisers yard at Atherstone.

This must have been about 1980.

There was a small hire boat fleet, moorings, slip way and a boat shed in which the two Brothers who ran it were able to knock up a basic steel narrow boat in very quick time.

The site still looks the same, and now seems to be some sort of Community Garden arrangement.

I never see anyone when I pass, and couldn't understand why nobody snapped it up if only to operate moorings.  Delving a bit it seems a local woman objected to commercial operations occurring there and with EU funding snatched it for kiddie events.

 

I moved after about a year of being there and decanted down to Club Line in Coventry as my boat was getting tampered with at Atherstone.  I lost boat hooks, ropes and the horn.  

The yard was secure and the missing equipment had to be vaporising water side or within the yard.

 

Shame to see it devoid of canal use, or, during the last 12 years .... any use.

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