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John Knill's Navy: Five Years on the Cut

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9 hours ago, jeannette smith harrison said:

Ray Mike will be able to put some stories to some of the info & stories as Jackson & Monk are family connected  & the picture of Charlie Lane is Aunt Violets dad 

I'm seeing Mike tomorrow, I'll take the book and as usual I'll read passages to him which he enjoys.

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The Weaver Collection (RCHS) has a few images of John Knill's boats. This view is of KENELM at Nursers Yard in 1951.

 

 

 

46706.jpg

  • Greenie 1

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22 hours ago, Chris Williams said:

Sir John Knill's boat 'Columbus'.

v0_web[1].jpg

Almost - this boat is COLUMBA, a small Woolwich originally built for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Ltd.

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9 hours ago, Heartland said:

The Weaver Collection (RCHS) has a few images of John Knill's boats. This view is of KENELM at Nursers Yard in 1951.

 

 

 

46706.jpg

This photograph was published in Waterways World magazine November 1986 page 43. It is captioned "John Knill talks to Ronald Wilson, captain of his motor boat KENELM, at Braunston Dock in March 1953 just before the boat was taken on engine trials following the fitting of the new engine" - accredited to C.P. Weaver. This article on the activities of John Knill features four more photographs accredited to C.P. Weaver.

 

The 'new engine' fitted into KENELM (exEPSOM) was a Petter 3BM 27hp @ 1500rpm, removed in about 1958 and fitted into the ex'Ovaltine' motor WILLIAM - KENELM then being fitted with a Lister JP2 along with an entirely new cabin as it was recommissioned into the Samuel Barlow Coal Company Ltd. fleet :captain: 

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On ‎13‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 20:51, Ray T said:

:captain:Just got a copy from Abe Books £20 plus postage.

Inside the front cover, in pencil, 50p!

 

Even so I don’t think I have done too badly.

I seem to recall that this book s based upon John Knill's memory as he disposed of his boating documents shortly after he sold out to Samuel Barlow Coal Company Ltd.. I certainly thought some of the content was poor when I read this book several years ago :captain:

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59 minutes ago, pete harrison said:

Almost - this boat is COLUMBA, a small Woolwich originally built for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Ltd.

Of course - silly me.

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10 hours ago, pete harrison said:

I seem to recall that this book s based upon John Knill's memory as he disposed of his boating documents shortly after he sold out to Samuel Barlow Coal Company Ltd.. I certainly thought some of the content was poor when I read this book several years ago :captain:

Possibly the content is poor but I need books with pictures to show Mike.

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On ‎14‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 08:53, Ray T said:

I'm seeing Mike tomorrow, I'll take the book and as usual I'll read passages to him which he enjoys.

 

2 hours ago, Ray T said:

Possibly the content is poor but I need books with pictures to show Mike.

O.K., the photographs are likely to be accurate - but you did say that 'I'll read passages to him', and I am sure you will read the entire book. Either way Mike will know right from wrong :captain:

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Tom Foxton’s Anderton for Orders covers his time with John Knill and is much more accurate - I remember there being several howlers in JK’s book.

 

I owned Columba’s old 3BM (in William) at the end of the 70s.  A cracking engine or it may be just because it was set up so well but the boat could stop in its own length!

 

Paul

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The Weaver list also gives Columba

 

This view is the Columba and the Uranus seen South of Braunston and stated to be 11/1950

 

The is no record of the oncoming craft.

 

RCHS Weaver Collection, again

 

 

46704.jpg

Edited by Heartland

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3 minutes ago, Paul H said:

Tom Foxton’s Anderton for Orders covers his time with John Knill and is much more accurate - I remember there being several howlers in JK’s book.

 

I owned Columba’s old 3BM (in William) at the end of the 70s.  A cracking engine or it may be just because it was set up so well but the boat could stop in its own length!

 

Paul

I have read Tom Foxon's  Anderton for Orders and No. 1 several times, and highly recommend them (I am reading Anderton for Orders again now during my breaks at work). I think these two books capture the spirit of the time brilliantly and their content surrounding professional boating makes so much more sense to me :captain:

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15 minutes ago, Heartland said:

The Weaver list also gives Columba

 

This view is the Columba and the Uranus seen South of Braunston and stated to be 11/1950

 

The is no record of the oncoming craft.

 

RCHS Weaver Collection, again

 

 

46704.jpg

I believe this photograph was taken on the Tring summit, and as is often the case is one of a sequence of photographs. This photograph is also the wrong way around as the cabin chimney should be on the steerers left

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9 minutes ago, pete harrison said:

I believe this photograph was taken on the Tring summit, and as is often the case is one of a sequence of photographs. This photograph is also the wrong way around as the cabin chimney should be on the steerers left

Maybe the entire Weaver collection is back to front! It’s blindingly obvious on this one.

 

JP

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Thanks I will change it and this is the next image taken moments later.

 

Not all images are reversed, it just the way the slides were mounted. Some have been picked up over time, others no doubt need to be discovered.

 

46705.jpg

Edited by Heartland

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8 hours ago, pete harrison said:

I have read Tom Foxon's  Anderton for Orders and No. 1 several times, and highly recommend them (I am reading Anderton for Orders again now during my breaks at work). I think these two books capture the spirit of the time brilliantly and their content surrounding professional boating makes so much more sense to me :captain:

I heartily agree.  Tom Foxon's books are written by someone who did a serious amount of boating, in a wide variety of ways, including horse boating as well as with powered boats oth as employee and as a Number One.  It always seems to me that this one person did more boating overall than done in total by most of the other people who have written about a spell as professional boat people.

 

A close second for me is John Thorpe's "Windlass in my belt".  If only I had been born a decade of so earlier, how I would have loved to be taken under the wing of a boating family, and to get to do and see the things that he did.

Any other books I have read on the topic don't come close to those by these two writers. (Sorry, David Blagrove!).

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On ‎15‎/‎05‎/‎2019 at 11:55, pete harrison said:

I have read Tom Foxon's  Anderton for Orders and No. 1 several times, and highly recommend them (I am reading Anderton for Orders again now during my breaks at work). I think these two books capture the spirit of the time brilliantly and their content surrounding professional boating makes so much more sense to me :captain:

I have just finished reading Anderton for Orders, and once again I can highly recommend it.

 

My favourite has to be on page 109 were Tom Foxon makes reference to a conversation with John Knill who remarked 'to go Joshering was to endure the most primitive conditions and the possibility of considerable hardship' - obviously Mr Knill and I think alike, especially in light of the existence of more modern and far superior Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Ltd. boats (all of John Knill's second hand boats were former G.U.C.C.Co. Ltd. boats - later supplemented by the Barlow built butty LUCY) :captain: 

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In Tom Foxon's book "Following the Trade" he mentions an encounter with the Humphris family at Cropredy.

 The Humphris family had LUCY after she was sold to Barlow's. She was paired with Neptune. 

Picture from Waterways World.

 

Neptune & Lucy 1961.jpeg

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12 hours ago, pete harrison said:

'to go Joshering was to endure the most primitive conditions and the possibility of considerable hardship'

Quite agree, I can't understand why so many people seem to think they are wonderful.  Heavy-arsed, can't take a decent load. etc.

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In the back of "John Knill's Navy":

 

A Poem by Ray White

 

THE BOATMAN’S RETURN

 

HAWKESBURY JUNCTION 1986

 

It’s back again and home again, and here at Sutton Stop

I’ve come to seek familiar things that modern folk’s forgot.

It must be sixteen years or more since lorries boating killed,

And up and down our waterways the motor boats were stilled.

In basins, arms and dockyards, their rusting skeletons lie,

Reminders of a way of life that took so long to die.

 

Now, round the bend to Tushes Bridge, the towpath stretches bare,

But in my mind those ghostly pairs still wait for orders there.

At weekends, or at holiday times, they made a stirring site,

Their brasses bright and shining, their cratch-strings dazzling white.

Their cabin-sides proclaimed from companies old and new

Like ‘Waterway, and ‘Willow Wren’, to name the biggest two.

And, further back, come Barlow’s, both ‘Limited’ and ‘S E.’,

Then ‘John Knills’,’ Cowpars’, ‘Joshers – The famous ‘FMC’.

 

Now, turning to the Coventry side, where ‘Friendship’, used to tie,

The pleasure craft lie stem to stern, where coal trains once went by.

Across the cut on wooden bridge – that too has gone to burn –

One day, perhaps, the roads will be redundant in their turn.

 

The monstrous concrete cooling towers that stood at ‘Longford Light’,

Were blown up several years ago, and weeds now mark the site.

 

Between the ‘Cov’ and Oxford cuts, an office used to stand,

From which each morn’ the captains came, their orders in their hands.

The building still is there, ’ tis true, but where is Mr. Shaw?

Or dear Miss Doreen Edwards, the boatman’s friend of yore?

 

I turn around and face the north, where houses used to be,

Across the Coventry stop-place, a wondrous site to see.

The pumping-engine chimney, and engine-house still stand.

For once they’ve left them standing, restored by caring hand.

A pity ‘bout the footbridge, for which many years has stood

And now it is ‘unsafe to use’ – it’s only made of wood.

 

Of Fieldings and the ‘Salvo’, there is no trace today,

Salvation Army folk were praised along the waterway.

And many a boatman’s child new born was christened by them too.

And any time trouble struck, they knew just what to do.

 

So now towards the pub I turn, the centre of our lives,

The ‘Greyhound’ was a ‘home from home’, for boatmen and their wives.

Alas it has been ‘Modernised’, it never had a bar.

And boating folk feel strangers now – its patrons come by car.

And gone too is the little shop, where boat wives spent their pay,

Buying enough of this and that to last ‘till settling day.

Our friendly Mrs Nelson, ‘Rowie’ and Nuala too

No longer serve the folks beer and crisps – it’s not the pub I knew.

 

I think of dear Joe Skinner, the last of that long crew

Of owner-boatmen, Number ones, and of ‘Friendship’ too.

Preserved at Ellesmere Port she lies, for modern folk to see.

But I do remember meeting her, when bound for Banbury.

Joe’s faithful mule called ‘Dolly’, but she took sick and died.

So Joe and Rose tied-up their boat along the Coventry side.

 

I think I have seen enough of Sutton Stop today

I find it too depressing now the boats have gone away.

The boating life held lots of fun – and lots of hard work too.

These folk who glamorise it often have no clue

Of what it’s like to drive a horse all day in pouring rain

Then wake up in the morning – and do it all again.

I’ll keep my private memories, and dream of what might have been

If England wasn’t so lorry mad – a bright new boating scene.

 

Edited by Ray T
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Just in case you're interested, we are publishing a new edition of John Knill's Navy, with some original photos, plus many others.  It should be available by late summer/early autumn.  Peter, CanalBookShop

  • Greenie 2

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On 15/05/2019 at 12:11, pete harrison said:

I believe this photograph was taken on the Tring summit, and as is often the case is one of a sequence of photographs. This photograph is also the wrong way around as the cabin chimney should be on the steerers left

I was going to enquire why they were passing on the wrong side.  Thanks for the info.

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I have just re read No 1 and because Tom kept a diary his books are full of true detail. His boat which he called New Hope was John Knill’s Hesperus a Ricky motor which had been brought from Grand Union by Lord Lucan, Tom paid £150 for her and spent his savings getting it in order.

when I was on the IWA council in the 70’s John Knill somehow found my phone number and rang to tell me to keep up the pressure on BWB, not sure now what I had done that pleased him.

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