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Malcolm was at Norton Canes but when he moved away from boatbuilding he did acquire a dock/some space at Weston which he did have some restoration projects on and also his trip boats and his sons carrying pair. I remember seeing a long string of projects being towed away from NC in the early nineties/late eighties presumably heading to Weston. It was under the Beechdale lane bridge in Bloxwich I saw them fwiw.

Ah!

 

I live and learn.

 

I had one encounter with the man when I went to "view" a boat that it turned out, (after a long trip), he couldn't even be arsed to raise, (just a few inches of gunwale above water).

 

I found him unhelpful, in the extreme, to be honest.

 

Alan

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  • 4 weeks later...
Malcolm Braine converted the Grand Union butty Toucan to a motor boat for Tony Grantham of BW. It is now moored at Braunston. The discarded back end of this boat is reputedly on the bank at Weston but I've never seen it myself.

 

Paul H

 

Here we go, Toucan on the bank at Weston, just north of Great Haywood.

 

toucan.jpg

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Hi all

No new info, just confirmations......

The place at Weston is Malcolm's, he's had it for many years and Toucan's stern end is on the northern side of his place. He's currently restoring a spoon dredger which will be on loan to the Black Country Museum when the work is completed. Graham Edgson at Norton Canes has just fabricated a new spoon and Joe Hollingshead is also helping out.

Roger Wickson is still boating, now on a "new" boat built at Market Drayton. I lettered it for him last year. It's a handsome craft called "Little Bear". He and I sit on the Waterways Craft Guild commmittee and are suitably grumpy old sods!

Dave

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  • 1 month later...

Fell over this shot just yesterday. Had it for ages, being amongst a collection in a discarded album (a car boot purchase) from a family who cruised in the sixties. It seems they were members of Willowbridge cruising club and lived in Wiggington, Herts. (near Tring) and towed a little boat behind a Riley 1.5. It's the only photo including a working boat, and while the shot reproduced here is not as clear as the print, the beginning of the name looks like FLA and I think it could be Flamingo. Whether it's paired here with Beverley with the Wards', or Cygnus and the Withys' might be determined by seeking out Ron Withy. I see Ron Green steered Flamingo too at one time.

 

It's not a print I have seen published anywhere, and this might be its first outing in public (so to speak). The photographer seems to have liked taking pictures, and this has a nice back lit well composed Summer theme - probably a bank holiday. The back of the print has very tidy writing in long-hand (whatever happened to writing standards?). In pencil:- "Oxford arm. Canal at Newbold-on-Avon near Rugby". There is also a number 3A, which suggests it may have been in some photographic competition or exhibition, so perhaps not quite its 'first outing'.

 

There's what looks like a tidy 'bulk' to the cratch, it's certainly not decorated.

 

Canal0001Large.jpg

 

Edit: I might add, they are tied up. The butty's tiller is 'up', and someone is sitting on the butty roof with legs in the hatches possibly conversing with a group on the bank.

Edited by Derek R.
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Fell over this shot just yesterday. Had it for ages, being amongst a collection in a discarded album (a car boot purchase) from a family who cruised in the sixties. It seems they were members of Willowbridge cruising club and lived in Wiggington, Herts. (near Tring) and towed a little boat behind a Riley 1.5. It's the only photo including a working boat, and while the shot reproduced here is not as clear as the print, the beginning of the name looks like FLA and I think it could be Flamingo. Whether it's paired here with Beverley with the Wards', or Cygnus and the Withys' might be determined by seeking out Ron Withy. I see Ron Green steered Flamingo too at one time.

 

It's not a print I have seen published anywhere, and this might be its first outing in public (so to speak). The photographer seems to have liked taking pictures, and this has a nice back lit well composed Summer theme - probably a bank holiday. The back of the print has very tidy writing in long-hand (whatever happened to writing standards?). In pencil:- "Oxford arm. Canal at Newbold-on-Avon near Rugby". There is also a number 3A, which suggests it may have been in some photographic competition or exhibition, so perhaps not quite its 'first outing'.

 

There's what looks like a tidy 'bulk' to the cratch, it's certainly not decorated.

 

Canal0001Large.jpg

 

Edit: I might add, they are tied up. The butty's tiller is 'up', and someone is sitting on the butty roof with legs in the hatches possibly conversing with a group on the bank.

Thanks for that Derek. What a cracking, beautifully evocative photograph! Looking at it, and then remembering what Newbold was like the last time I passed, only underlines my gratitude for not being active on the cut anymore.

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There is also a number 3A, which suggests it may have been in some photographic competition or exhibition, so perhaps not quite its 'first outing'.

Nice photo ?

 

If it originates from 35mm film, might not the "3a" on the back just be the negative number ? I guess it depends on how others in the collection are numbered, if at all.

 

I'm no expert, and whilst I'm aware that some crews chose to load the butty more deeply than the motor, that particular butty really does look very low in the water to be a 'town' class to me. I think it would have been unusual by then to find one with that much on board, but I'm happy to stand corrected if wrong!

 

Alan

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Nice photo ?

 

If it originates from 35mm film, might not the "3a" on the back just be the negative number ? I guess it depends on how others in the collection are numbered, if at all.

(snip)

Alan

 

As the number also appeared on one other we have, I suspect it may have been a reference to the exhibitor/competitor.

The fuzziness in the trees seems in part a product of the scanner, the original is just the leaf edges blurred by Sunlight. The other numbered shot is of canal, hedgerow, field and tree. Fairly unremarkable, but captures tranquillity. Amateur 'arty' stuff.

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Thanks for that Dave, interesting they used Dulux colours, I always presumed it would be some special exterior paint rather than everyday gloss paint. Makes me feel better about the paint I used to use on our families boats.

 

:lol:

Just seen this - a bit late but there you go.According to Ron Hough ( who did most of the painting on te WW boats ) they used Dulux because they couldn`t afford anything better and it was readily available down the road in Daventry.

Phil

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Here's another that 'fell out of an album' - 60's Stoke Bruerne - but which boat? WW? Is that Bill Whitlock setting his beret straight?

 

StokeBruerne1960sLarge.jpg

 

Taken by a D. West. Converted butty on the towpath, and what could be a 'Water Baby' or a 'lifeboat' conversion between it and the white cruiser (very dark though).

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Here's another that 'fell out of an album' - 60's Stoke Bruerne - but which boat? WW? Is that Bill Whitlock setting his beret straight?

 

StokeBruerne1960sLarge.jpg

 

Taken by a D. West. Converted butty on the towpath, and what could be a 'Water Baby' or a 'lifeboat' conversion between it and the white cruiser (very dark though).

 

Hard to tell much with my crap eyesight, given the resolution of the scan isn't great.

 

I suspect you can see a lot more detail on the original.

 

The motor appears to me to be in BW plain blue with the yellow lettering, but that of course does not preclude it being in use by Willow Wren.

 

My family owned what I know as a Water Baby, and they were very low slung affairs - quite distinctive. The boat I think you are referring to, (very little detail) is much too tall to be one of those, but perhaps other boats were also tagged Water Babies? I can't even tell if it's front or rear end towards us, but I think it may be front ? (I said my eyes were bad!).

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Hard to tell much with my crap eyesight, given the resolution of the scan isn't great.

 

I suspect you can see a lot more detail on the original.

 

The motor appears to me to be in BW plain blue with the yellow lettering, but that of course does not preclude it being in use by Willow Wren.

 

My family owned what I know as a Water Baby, and they were very low slung affairs - quite distinctive. The boat I think you are referring to, (very little detail) is much too tall to be one of those, but perhaps other boats were also tagged Water Babies? I can't even tell if it's front or rear end towards us, but I think it may be front ? (I said my eyes were bad!).

It's a pity we don't have a date for the picture but the Waterways Museum was not opened until 1963 which means that the boat in the lock is likely to be operated by Willow Wren, BW having given up almost all carrying by then. It was rare for Willow Wren to operate single motors though apart from those one or two run by enthusiasts (which were often painted up to the nines) so it is possible that this is a motor being fetched back from Bulls Bridge just after being taken over Willow Wren in 1963 to be put back into traffic. There seem to be a couple on board - I'm sure Leslie Morton whould have insisted they take on a butty pretty quick! I can't see detail of the rubbing strakes through the lock gate clearly but iyt is likely the boat is a Big Woolwich - which doesn't narrow it down much.

 

The little tripboat in front of the museum would be the Redcap - the old Oxford Canal Company's icebreaker tug Oxford No2.

 

Paul H

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At some date between that picture, and the very early 1970s, those top gates with metal balance beams were taken out and replaced by a set having no gate paddles, and wooden balance beams.

 

It doesn't really help, unless someone has a register of what gate replacements were done where, and when. :lol:

 

Since then it has acquired a set of top gates with paddles reinstated, and also with oak balance beams.

 

We are led to believe gates are usually there for huge amounts of time, but this set seems to be getting completely replaced maybe every 20 to 30 years.

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At some date between that picture, and the very early 1970s, those top gates with metal balance beams were taken out and replaced by a set having no gate paddles, and wooden balance beams.

 

It doesn't really help, unless someone has a register of what gate replacements were done where, and when. :lol:

 

Since then it has acquired a set of top gates with paddles reinstated, and also with oak balance beams.

 

We are led to believe gates are usually there for huge amounts of time, but this set seems to be getting completely replaced maybe every 20 to 30 years.

 

The Museum was extended (initially as a shop) in 1969 so that puts the pic between 1963 and 1968.

 

if only David Blagrove was on this forum!

 

Paul H

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Hard to tell much with my crap eyesight, given the resolution of the scan isn't great.

 

I suspect you can see a lot more detail on the original.

 

The motor appears to me to be in BW plain blue with the yellow lettering, but that of course does not preclude it being in use by Willow Wren.

 

My family owned what I know as a Water Baby, and they were very low slung affairs - quite distinctive. The boat I think you are referring to, (very little detail) is much too tall to be one of those, but perhaps other boats were also tagged Water Babies? I can't even tell if it's front or rear end towards us, but I think it may be front ? (I said my eyes were bad!).

 

Not so much poor eyesight as poor photo. Here's a few more I did messing with resolution and scanner. It's printed on matt paper which doesn't help.

 

StokeB0003.jpg

Possibly a 'Water Miss' but more likely a lifeboat conversion, in which case it could be the front or the back!

 

StokeB0009.jpg

Petter type air outlet on the roof, blue and yellow water can? Waterways transfers on white doors?

 

StokeB0007.jpg

As good as it will get. Kick plate along the gunnel is there. Is that a big circle with a Wren on it? Really can't say. Someone will know it, and the steerers.

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Not sure how it has taken me so long to find this thread.

 

Satellite was mine up until a couple of weeks ago. Bottom was steel. Cabin was in good nick as it was redone by Malcolm Webster a few years ago. Not sure why people are so afraid of wooden cabins (or bottoms for that matter). They are much nicer than steel. In winter they are warm to touch while out boating, and warm inside too. With simple maintenance they are easy to care for. I would always have one out of choice.

 

The place at Weston is Malcolms. Toucan, which is now owned by Anthony and Christine, who live in Braunston but own Rose narrowboats, was converted for Anthonys grandfather. The stern end of Toucan was on the bank at Great Haywood when Malcolm ran Cactus (which he still owns after 45 years), and Jubilee (now run by Mike Partridge but owned by Malcolm for 40 years) as trip boats. Toucan was then moved to Weston where for a while it advertised his Surveying Services. It has now been repainted.

Edited by Satellite
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  • 5 months later...
I don't believe any have been 'lost' that came through there, albeit at least one butty, 'Satelite', has been cut and made into two boats, 'Satelite' and 'Ganymede', after being 'rescued' by the Narrow Boat Trust.

 

The lost boats have mostly, if not all, been on the BW maintenance fleet and were cut up for scrap when they deemed them beyond ecconomic repair. Those in private hands have always found a benevolent benefactor no matter what state they got into.

sir i was wondering if this is the boat mentioned in david blagrove book bread upon the water at the time used by mark harrison who was my grandads youngest brother & if so any idear where i might see it most of my family records where distroyed a few years ago & im trying to rebuild them

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Hi Jeanette, & welcome.

 

You've delved back a while, so to be clear, can you just name the boats you are most interested in, and there is a good chance someone here will be able to give their status.

 

Satellite was mentioned in your quote. Was that one of them ? If so it's former owner has been posting on here recently, and I think I got confirmation that the boat is now Aylesbury based.

 

The Harrisons, as you clearly know, were one of the very well known boating families. I worked previously alongside one in the early 1970s, who had been a working boatman, but by then was doing work for hire firms, plus painting canal ware. I'm damned if I can remember his name though - I think it was Joe, but I could easily be wrong about that. My mum still has some items he painted, but I can't prise them off her!

 

As an aside, if your canal researches find anything for people with my surname, (Fincher), I'd be interested to hear, as some from the same town as my ancestors were boatmen in the latter half of the 19th century., I've yet to prove they are my relatives, though!

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  • 1 year later...

If you go to my gallery (sorry don't know how to add a link) you will find photos of wooden top hire boats that Willow Wren Kearns operated from Middlewich. I'm not able to give a full list but they were all trees. Oak, Beech, Sycamore - 70ft. Pine, Ash, Larch 50ft. They were based on hulls built by Hancock and Lane or John Pinder. Rowan was a 60ft camper - don't know its origin.

 

I was having a look about to see if there was any reference to our boat on here. I don't know if any further info would be useful given this thread if from years ago but I now live on Rowan (ex Middlewich camping boat) I'm interested in any history I can get about her. I believe Rowans hull is Hancock and Lane. Any old photos of her would be brilliant. The only boat of the same fleet which we have ever seen is Sycamore, moored at Cropredy.

 

:)

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I now live on Rowan (ex Middlewich camping boat) I'm interested in any history I can get about her. I believe Rowans hull is Hancock and Lane. Any old photos of her would be brilliant. :)

 

There isn't a great deal of history for ROWAN as it was purpose built in the 1970's as a camping boat for Willow Wren (Kearns) Ltd. hire fleet at Middlewich. I am sure ROWAN was the only camping boat to be operated from Willow Wren (Kearns) Ltd., with all of the other boats from this base being purpose built cabin boats.

 

I do recall seeing ROWAN numerous times during the early 1980's as a self steer hire boat and I can confirm that its hull was built by Hancock & Lane, Daventry. At that time I was running a pair (1976 motor and 1972 butty) for the City of Birmingham Education Department and ROWAN was the same design as my motor, albiet 10' shorter (my butty was by John Pinder, Burton on Trent). I also recall ROWAN having the same engine as my motor, an air cooled Lister SR3 - a pretty standard Willow Wren hire boat engine back then.

 

I have a 1970's Willow Wren Hire Cruisers Ltd. brochure at home that I am sure features ROWAN.

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There isn't a great deal of history for ROWAN as it was purpose built in the 1970's as a camping boat for Willow Wren (Kearns) Ltd. hire fleet at Middlewich. I am sure ROWAN was the only camping boat to be operated from Willow Wren (Kearns) Ltd., with all of the other boats from this base being purpose built cabin boats.

 

I do recall seeing ROWAN numerous times during the early 1980's as a self steer hire boat and I can confirm that its hull was built by Hancock & Lane, Daventry. At that time I was running a pair (1976 motor and 1972 butty) for the City of Birmingham Education Department and ROWAN was the same design as my motor, albiet 10' shorter (my butty was by John Pinder, Burton on Trent). I also recall ROWAN having the same engine as my motor, an air cooled Lister SR3 - a pretty standard Willow Wren hire boat engine back then.

 

I have a 1970's Willow Wren Hire Cruisers Ltd. brochure at home that I am sure features ROWAN.

 

 

Excellent, thanks for the info!

We know a bit of history about her being a camping boat, in fact we have met a couple of people around and about who used to take Rowan on family holidays in the 70's who have taken details and offered to send pictures which in the end haven't turned up, such is life :-)

Indeed she still has the Lister SR3 fabulous thing. Now has a wooden cabin over the hold where it previously was just canvass (get cold just thinking about it) I think that was added around 1993.

 

If you do come across the brochure that has Rowan in I'd love to see a copy of it if you are able to scan/photocopy - PM me. We have a few bits and pieces of her history in a folder that we would love to add to :)

 

:cheers:

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I don't think that any of the North-West Fleet were renamed. Not even sure whether any were even signwritten as Willow Wrens?

 

Tim

 

I can not think of any that were renamed & am pretty sure that some were [spodged/ painted] in BW blue /yellow at various times, although I seem to remember most were in a sad state paint wise for the whole of WW`s lease period

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