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A friend of mine recently went to Scotland, and in the house where she stayed was a wooden rudder off a schooner named Diamond of Stranraer. She was keen to tell me as it was built at Burscough Bridge and presumably alongside the canal. Reason I am interested is because I thought only canal boats were built at Burscough?

 

Here is the only stuff I can find on Google and seemingly this was written in the 1930's

 

" Diamond, of Stranraer - Two-masted schooner, reg. tonnage 25, built at Burscough Bridge, Lancs., 1832. Owner, Mrs. Heron, Gatehouse of Fleet. This vessel was noteworthy for being one of the very earliest sailing ships to be fitted with an auxiliary engine, this being put in as far back as 1898. When the schooner entered Liverpool for the first time afterwards she was the cause of much head scratching by the Customs officials who could not make up their minds as to whether she aught to be rated as a sailing vessel or a steamer for the dues. There was a considerable delay before the point was finally settled to the mutual satisfaction of both the skipper and the authorities. Captain Twentyman commanded the vessel for many a day. There used to be an amusing yarn related in connection with Captain Twentyman. When hailed by passing vessels, or on going into harbour, as to what crew he had on his little schooner, his invariable reply would be "Twentymen and a boy." This vessel has lain for long as a hulk below the town of Gatehouse of Fleet, and only last week was filled with combustible materials and set alight as a bonfire to celebrate the coming of age of some celebrity. A sad end for such an historic old craft."

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Firstly, the canal is the Leeds and Liverpool, not the Leeds Liverpool. Please use the correct terminology in future posts. ;) Sailing boats certainly did use the L&LC up till the 1840s, when the Stanley Dock branch was built. Coal for ships in Liverpool Docks was taken onto the Bridgewater Canal, then down Runcorn Locks, and then sailed down to Liverpool, ensuring that it only needed to be transhipped once, directly into waiting ships. In Yorkshire, goods were advertised as being delivered to Hull 'in one bottom', meaning that transhipment did not take place, and again sailing boats must have been used. However, they would have had folding or removable masts. I suspect that the masts were removed at Runcorn or Goole/Knottingley/Leeds respectively.

 

There was a boat yard at Burscough, on the off side of the canal between Top Locks and Glovers Bridge. The yard was run by the Tyrer family, and I do wonder if they were part of Tyrer and Glovers, who were one of the two large general cargo carriers prior to 1848, when they were taken over by the canal company following railway competition. On the 1802 plans of the canal, no boat yard is shown here, but there was the drydock at Top Locks, where boats may have been built. Coastal sailing vessels from West Lancashire were usually built in the Tarleton area, and there were several yards below the present lock. If the Diamond was built at Burscough, it would have had to be small enough for the Rufford Branch locks, quite possible with a registered tonnage of 25T. Masts would then have been put in at Tarleton. As a two masted schooner, it would probably have been better known as a jigger flat, the jigger being the smaller mast at the stern. Back entries in Liverpool were once known as jiggers, with cats called jigger rabbits. One other possibility is that the Diamond was owned by a group of Burscough area residents, as there is a long history of sailing boat ownership in the area.

  • Greenie 1
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Firstly, the canal is the Leeds and Liverpool, not the Leeds Liverpool. Please use the correct terminology in future posts. ;) Sailing boats certainly did use the L&LC up till the 1840s, when the Stanley Dock branch was built. Coal for ships in Liverpool Docks was taken onto the Bridgewater Canal, then down Runcorn Locks, and then sailed down to Liverpool, ensuring that it only needed to be transhipped once, directly into waiting ships. In Yorkshire, goods were advertised as being delivered to Hull 'in one bottom', meaning that transhipment did not take place, and again sailing boats must have been used. However, they would have had folding or removable masts. I suspect that the masts were removed at Runcorn or Goole/Knottingley/Leeds respectively.

 

There was a boat yard at Burscough, on the off side of the canal between Top Locks and Glovers Bridge. The yard was run by the Tyrer family, and I do wonder if they were part of Tyrer and Glovers, who were one of the two large general cargo carriers prior to 1848, when they were taken over by the canal company following railway competition. On the 1802 plans of the canal, no boat yard is shown here, but there was the drydock at Top Locks, where boats may have been built. Coastal sailing vessels from West Lancashire were usually built in the Tarleton area, and there were several yards below the present lock. If the Diamond was built at Burscough, it would have had to be small enough for the Rufford Branch locks, quite possible with a registered tonnage of 25T. Masts would then have been put in at Tarleton. As a two masted schooner, it would probably have been better known as a jigger flat, the jigger being the smaller mast at the stern. Back entries in Liverpool were once known as jiggers, with cats called jigger rabbits. One other possibility is that the Diamond was owned by a group of Burscough area residents, as there is a long history of sailing boat ownership in the area.

Firstly apologies, I often forget to type the "&" in L&L. I should know better.. :)

 

That is a cracking bit of info. I know the stretch well between top locks and Glovers Bridge, and I have been told about boat building activities in the past. I am certain there was a manual crane on the bank at one time. I once built a small boat on the bank at Glovers Bridge, probably 1972 ish; It was then that an old boy told me I wasn't the first. Just keeping the tradition alive you know :) Also I agree the drydock is a likely spot. (I remember a wooden clinker built boat breaking its back in there in the early '70's.)

 

Brilliant to think that sailing boats such as the Diamond once used this canal. BTW she was 25T IIRC, so yes, would likely fit in Rufford locks.

 

Thanks for your detailed info; we live and learn as the saying goes.

 

As an aside, my wife's neighbour "Teddy Baybutt" used to steer a wooden (?) barge called "Muriello" back in the late '50's or early '60's, possibly BWB but my memory might be playing tricks. I was only a nipper then.

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As an aside, my wife's neighbour "Teddy Baybutt" used to steer a wooden (?) barge called "Muriello" back in the late '50's or early '60's, possibly BWB but my memory might be playing tricks. I was only a nipper then.

Murillo was one of Parkes coal boats, a wooden 72 footer. When Parkes fleet was sold to BW circa 1962, she was transferred to the maintenance fleet and was the last wooden L&LC motor boat in BW service, being broken up circa 1973 IIRC. The other wooden boat at the time was the Rufford, a square transom dumb maintenance boat about 50 feet long by ten feet wide. Both worked in the Burscough area at the start of the 1970s. The Baybutts were a well-known local boating family, with Burscough being the centre for boatmen in the area.

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Murillo was one of Parkes coal boats, a wooden 72 footer. When Parkes fleet was sold to BW circa 1962, she was transferred to the maintenance fleet and was the last wooden L&LC motor boat in BW service, being broken up circa 1973 IIRC. The other wooden boat at the time was the Rufford, a square transom dumb maintenance boat about 50 feet long by ten feet wide. Both worked in the Burscough area at the start of the 1970s. The Baybutts were a well-known local boating family, with Burscough being the centre for boatmen in the area.

 

Thanks again.

I remember Rufford now that you mention it. I think the last time I saw Murillo would have been around 72-73, suggesting that she may have come to the end of her days. I can recall going on it as a young kid; must be where I got the bug. Roland,Juno and a few others were about then too, but I have forgotten a lot of them. There was a large wooden barge at Haskayne for a while in the late 60's but the name escapes me.

I think there may have been a steel barge bearing the name Murillo in more recent years?

 

One I do recall was a wooden barge which we helped a bloke take up to Leigh which was eventually to go on the Weaver as some kind of trip boat. It was renamed "The Riverboat" but was originally called (I am 99% certain) Susan. I do recall it had been fitted with a ships wheel for steering and was a handful to steer. I think he picked that boat up in Burscough.

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Thanks again.

I remember Rufford now that you mention it. I think the last time I saw Murillo would have been around 72-73, suggesting that she may have come to the end of her days. I can recall going on it as a young kid; must be where I got the bug. Roland,Juno and a few others were about then too, but I have forgotten a lot of them. There was a large wooden barge at Haskayne for a while in the late 60's but the name escapes me.

I think there may have been a steel barge bearing the name Murillo in more recent years?

 

One I do recall was a wooden barge which we helped a bloke take up to Leigh which was eventually to go on the Weaver as some kind of trip boat. It was renamed "The Riverboat" but was originally called (I am 99% certain) Susan. I do recall it had been fitted with a ships wheel for steering and was a handful to steer. I think he picked that boat up in Burscough.

BW did replace Murillo with a steel work flat. Roland was the restaurant boat at Burscough in the 1970s which subsequently was on display at Wigan. She was broken up to enlarge the car park. Juno was moored at Parbold for use, IIRC, by a Liverpool-based boys club in the early 1970s. Scorpio and George were moored at Crabtree Lane in the early 1970s, before being moved to the Boat Museum, and I lived on Pluto in the Burscough area in 1972/3 and 1975/6.

This photo of Jumbo at Haskayne was taken by Edward Paget-Tomlinson in 1971. Jumbo was one of Crooke & Thompson's boats, built in 1948 and was one of two which had the larger twin-cylinder Widdop so they could tow two dumb boats.

5929018159_ce23c48428_z.jpg

Susan was another East Lancashire coal boat, also owned by Crooke & Thompson.

5929574954_104c64157f_z.jpg

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BW did replace Murillo with a steel work flat. Roland was the restaurant boat at Burscough in the 1970s which subsequently was on display at Wigan. She was broken up to enlarge the car park. Juno was moored at Parbold for use, IIRC, by a Liverpool-based boys club in the early 1970s. Scorpio and George were moored at Crabtree Lane in the early 1970s, before being moved to the Boat Museum, and I lived on Pluto in the Burscough area in 1972/3 and 1975/6.

This photo of Jumbo at Haskayne was taken by Edward Paget-Tomlinson in 1971. Jumbo was one of Crooke & Thompson's boats, built in 1948 and was one of two which had the larger twin-cylinder Widdop so they could tow two dumb boats.

5929018159_ce23c48428_z.jpg

Susan was another East Lancashire coal boat, also owned by Crooke & Thompson.

5929574954_104c64157f_z.jpg

Brilliant pics. I have steered and slept on the boat Susan :) (nearly typed "I have slept on Susan" but thought better of it.)

Yes I recall Roland being a restaurant boat,and I seem to remember a story about her getting stuck in New Lane bridge after they had put the electric one in. Juno was moored at Parbold as you say, alongside the playing fields as they are now.

 

Jumbo was almost cetainly the boat I remember at Haskayne.

 

George was a wooden narrowboat if I am not mistaken? If I am thinking of the same boat, we got stuck in the breech at Lymm in 71 (?) and George was stuck there for a year or two. I didn't realise George was at the museum; how did I miss that?

 

Thanks for reminding me of these fine boats :)

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George was a wooden narrowboat if I am not mistaken? If I am thinking of the same boat, we got stuck in the breech at Lymm in 71 (?) and George was stuck there for a year or two. I didn't realise George was at the museum; how did I miss that?

 

Thanks for reminding me of these fine boats :)

No, George was a former Wigan Coal & Iron Company wide boat, seen below at Astley Green in 1971.

5930657050_2391a65677_z.jpg

  • Greenie 1
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No, George was a former Wigan Coal & Iron Company wide boat, seen below at Astley Green in 1971.

5930657050_2391a65677_z.jpg

Clearly a different George :) I can't remember having seen these boats, although I must have seen them at some time on the Leigh branch. You have some amazing photos.

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As Tim says, they have a tendency to slip when turning, as they have round chines so don't grip the water as much as square-chined boats do. That said, you just had to put the bow where you wanted to go, and the rest of the boat would follow as if the bow would not move sideways, the stern location being dictated by the rudder, ie. using the rudder moved the stern rather than the bow. None of the strange way that narrowboats seem to pivot around a point one third back from the bow. Empty, they can be badly affected by the wind direction, and they are easier to steer when you have a fire going in the bow cabin stove, the smoke giving an indication of wind direction. The wooden ones swam superbly, as their underwater shape at the stern was much finer than anything you will find today. Personally, I found them easier to steer than narrowboats, especially so for wooden boats.

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Brilliant pics. I have steered and slept on the boat Susan :) (nearly typed "I have slept on Susan" but thought better of it.)

Yes I recall Roland being a restaurant boat,and I seem to remember a story about her getting stuck in New Lane bridge after they had put the electric one in. Juno was moored at Parbold as you say, alongside the playing fields as they are now.

 

Jumbo was almost cetainly the boat I remember at Haskayne.

 

George was a wooden narrowboat if I am not mistaken? If I am thinking of the same boat, we got stuck in the breech at Lymm in 71 (?) and George was stuck there for a year or two. I didn't realise George was at the museum; how did I miss that?

 

Thanks for reminding me of these fine boats :)

 

I suspect the Narrowboat ‘George’ that you refer to was the Royalty Class motor moored up outside the cottages just Burscough side of Crabtree lane swing bridge which is where Pluto, ‘Fat George’ and Scporpio were in the early 1970’s. – NB George was there from late 1960’s until 2006 as is an all steel built in 1928 by The Uxbridge Steel Barrel Co.

 

NB George was kept at Preston Brook, near the tunnel during the Lymm breach years.

 

It would not have been the ‘Roland’ that you recall becoming stuck at New Lane when it was electrified as the Roland was on the bank by Trencherfield Mill at Wigan by the mid 1980’s and had stopped operating as a restraint bet some time before that with Frank Boothby operating the ‘Roland Botel’ with the Ainscoughs boat the ‘Ambush’ with the conversion having been put on previously (For Mike Sampson ?) to operate as a trip boat in amongst other places in the Liverpool docks, the New Lane bridge was electrified in the 1990’s. (IIRC) – May be in the very late 1980’s

Edited by Mike C
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I suspect the Narrowboat ‘George’ that you refer to was the Royalty Class motor moored up outside the cottages just Burscough side of Crabtree lane swing bridge which is where Pluto, ‘Fat George’ and Scporpio were in the early 1970’s. – NB George was there from late 1960’s until 1996 as is an all steel built in 1928 by The Uxbridge Steel Barrel Co.

 

NB George was kept at Preston Brook, near the tunnel during the Lymm breach years.

 

It would not have been the ‘Roland’ that you recall becoming stuck at New Lane when it was electrified as the Roland was on the bank by Trencherfield Mill at Wigan by the mid 1980’s and had stopped operating as a restraint bet some time before that with Frank Boothby operating the ‘Roland Botel’ with the Ainscoughs boat the ‘Ambush’ with the conversion having been put on previously (For Mike Sampson ?) to operate as a trip boat in amongst other places in the Liverpool docks, the New Lane bridge was electrified in the 1990’s. (IIRC) – May be in the very late 1980’s

Yes there was definitely a wooden NB called George there when I was a youf.

 

In the '70's there was an interesting wooden boat called "Mary" on the moorings there too, by the slipway. This boat definitely had some history on the L&L but I can't recall what now. Will add an image when I find it.

 

I have clearly got confused with the New Lane bridge, but there was definitely a problem with a boat becoming wedged.

 

 

 

The wooden boat Mary winding at Appley Locks, in late '60's

 

stanboat6.jpg

 

 

Possibly the last boat to be built at Glovers Bridge circa 1971 :)

 

scan006.jpg

 

 

I would also be interested if there was any info about a boatman called "Jim Melling" from Burscough. Jim was my wife's grandfather.

Thanks

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In the '70's there was an interesting wooden boat called "Mary" on the moorings there too, by the slipway. This boat definitely had some history on the L&L but I can't recall what now. Will add an image when I find it.

 

I would also be interested if there was any info about a boatman called "Jim Melling" from Burscough. Jim was my wife's grandfather.

Thanks

Mary used to moor at Scarisbrick, IIRC, and was quite old for a pleasure boat, though I don't have any further details. Someone from the Mersey Motor Boat Club should have the answer.

 

Regarding Bursco boatmen, have you had a look at http://www.boatfamilies.org.uk/ which has been put together by the Ormskirk and District Family History Society. The Archive at Ellesmere Port also has some details of L&LC boatmen.

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Mary used to moor at Scarisbrick, IIRC, and was quite old for a pleasure boat, though I don't have any further details. Someone from the Mersey Motor Boat Club should have the answer.

 

Regarding Bursco boatmen, have you had a look at http://www.boatfamilies.org.uk/ which has been put together by the Ormskirk and District Family History Society. The Archive at Ellesmere Port also has some details of L&LC boatmen.

I believe you are correct about the Scarasbrick mooring of Mary. There was also a beautiful wooden boat called "Eileen" there too, which reputedly had a Model T ford engine. It was a boat to die for.

 

Thanks for the boat families link, I will have a good scan :)

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Yes there was definitely a wooden NB called George there when I was a youf.

 

 

The wooden NB 'Hebble' and the 'Droitwich' were about in that area in the 1970's and the ‘Hebble’ may have been there just into the 1980's (before going to Chorley as an exhibit at L&L Cruisers, but not at Crabtree or New lane. The only NB 'George' was the one I mentions I’m sure.... as it was ours and I’m also sure (I hope) that I would have known of any others sharing the name.

 

Mike - Do you remember any other wooden NB's when you were there on Pluto?

Edited by Mike C
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The wooden NB 'Hebble' and the 'Droitwich' were about in that area in the 1970's and the ‘Hebble’ may have been there just into the 1980's (before going to Chorley as an exhibit at L&L Cruisers, but not at Crabtree or New lane. The only NB 'George' was the one I mentions I’m sure.... as it was ours and I’m also sure (I hope) that I would have known of any others sharing the name.

 

Mike - Do you remember any other wooden NB's when you were there on Pluto?

I seem to recall that the owners of a wooden NB (possibly George but I may be getting mixed up) moored at Crabtree had a really old blue Austin 7 car.

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I seem to recall that the owners of a wooden NB (possibly George but I may be getting mixed up) moored at Crabtree had a really old blue Austin 7 car.

 

Yes the 1934 Austin seven was owned by the same family as the NB George but that was definatly a steel NB. It could be that you are getting confused with the woden Hotel Boats 'Mabel' and 'Forget-me-not' which were owned in the early 1990's by one of the familys sons but they were only there for a couple of winters.

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Yes the 1934 Austin seven was owned by the same family as the NB George but that was definatly a steel NB. It could be that you are getting confused with the woden Hotel Boats 'Mabel' and 'Forget-me-not' which were owned in the early 1990's by one of the familys sons but they were only there for a couple of winters.

That'll explain it ;) I do seem to remember those names, especially Mabel.

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The wooden NB 'Hebble' and the 'Droitwich' were about in that area in the 1970's and the ‘Hebble’ may have been there just into the 1980's (before going to Chorley as an exhibit at L&L Cruisers, but not at Crabtree or New lane. The only NB 'George' was the one I mentions I’m sure.... as it was ours and I’m also sure (I hope) that I would have known of any others sharing the name.

 

Mike - Do you remember any other wooden NB's when you were there on Pluto?

Droitwich, moored at Burscough, was the home of Frank and Margaret, who owned the Roland Boatel. There was also Stork at Burscough, the name of the owner escapes me at the moment, (edited to say he was called Oswald) but he had been in the RFC, and also reckoned he took the last boat up Tewitfield Locks. Chertsey was around for some of the mid-1970s as I did recover some scrap from an old pile of lock gates with Chertsey Kid, and with BW approval. There was another wooden narrow boat around, but I can't recall which one.

 

Living on Pluto at Crabtree Lane, I became an honorary member of the Uxbridge Steel Barrel Company Boat Club, with regular weekend meetings to drink home-brew. Given the strength, I'm surprised I remember!

Edited by Pluto
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Droitwich, moored at Burscough, was the home of Frank and Margaret, who owned the Roland Boatel. There was also Stork at Burscough, the name of the owner escapes me at the moment, but he had been in the RFC, and also reckoned he took the last boat up Tewitfield Locks. Chertsey was around for some of the mid-1970s as I did recover some scrap from an old pile of lock gates with Chertsey Kid, and with BW approval. There was another wooden narrow boat around, but I can't recall which one.

 

Living on Pluto at Crabtree Lane, I became an honorary member of the Uxbridge Steel Barrel Company Boat Club, with regular weekend meetings to drink home-brew. Given the strength, I'm surprised I remember!

 

Mike

 

Stork was owned by Oswald and Pat Plant - with Corgi dog 'Penny' and yes Richard B did have 'Chertsey' there now you remind me.

 

I remember my father realising that the home brew strength increased each week as he made up the next lot while under the influence of the last. - Do you also remember the coal dust 'turds' made with cement powder and one of our plastic buckets from the sand pit? - I remember them spiting and cracking as they burnt - smouldered

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Mike

 

Stork was owned by Oswald and Pat Plant - with Corgi dog 'Penny' and yes Richard B did have 'Chertsey' there now you remind me.

 

I remember my father realising that the home brew strength increased each week as he made up the next lot while under the influence of the last. - Do you also remember the coal dust 'turds' made with cement powder and one of our plastic buckets from the sand pit? - I remember them spiting and cracking as they burnt - smouldered

The were made from the coal found under the ceiling/hold floor in Scorpio - there was about five tons. The coal was riddled twice to get anything reasonably sized, with the dust then turned into coal 'turds' by the addition of cement. I remember one of them still producing a fine thread of smoke after a week. We decided that they were endothermic, and actually made the room colder by taking in heat, rather than giving any out.

 

Edited to say that one week a bottle of home-brew was produced which, when opened, deposited all its contents on the ceiling. Getting back on board Pluto was always a bit uncertain after an evening at No52.

Edited by Pluto
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