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Harefield Flash, A Request From Graham Clutton


Ray T
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Hi everyone, I'm sure you all remember the boats that Mark Pullinger stumbled across in Harefield flash. Well, there has been progress and no progress. Mark has talked to English Heritage, Hillingdon Council and the Colne Valley Trust.

 

English Heritage have said they don't have the budget to investigate. Hillingdon Council (who own the land) do not seem to be interested, and the Colne Valley Trust who manage the land, whilst they talk like they're interested, seem to want to dampen any progress, and are focusing on negotiations with HS2 regards compensation for the land lost when the railway is built through the middle of Denham Country Park.

 

The good news is that all relevant parties know about the boats. The bad news is that there's no appetite to do anything... In the meantime the bow of the wide boat on land has broken away - probably from someone climbing on it...

 

Mark, having done all the initial work and contacting everyone needs to focus on his new business.

 

Who is interested in joining in with me to see if we can get any progress.

 

Cheers Graham

 

CanalScape-London@yahoogroups.co.uk

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All of the boats in Hawtrey's Pit, Harefield are known and well documented - some are even photographed.

 

The only boats of genuine 'historical' interest will be the wide boats, which were unique to the southern Grand Union Canal and related waterways. I have every confidence that these wide boats will be beyond repair, and would very possibly break up during retrieval.

 

I am more than aware that the boats that would be of most interest commercially are the iron F.M.C. Ltd. horse boats, and I am equally confident that these would be sold off with most if not all being converted to counter sterned motor boats.

 

My view has not changed in that these boats should remain where they are, why - because they are a part of the story of 'British Waterways' in the south east. The wooden boats are 'no hopers' and I would also rather see the iron F.M.C. Ltd. horse boats rust away in the ground than become counter sterned luxury liners where the only reason for their conversion is to use their history to inflate their price.

 

Clearly, and unfortunately, my support can not be counted upon, although I am more than happy to discuss the individual boats in question, their history and how they happened to end up in Hawtrey's Pit. I would like to add that I am the custodian of the original 'British Waterways' documents that tell the story behind the fate of these boats captain.gif

 

edit = I appreciate this is not the response you are looking for but I wish to put my 'cards on the table', again.

Edited by pete harrison
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Well, if opinions are wanted, mine are as Pete's. What remains are crumbling back into vegetation. What monies might be sunk into any recovery would be better spent sponsoring Chris Collins resurection of PROGRESS.

http://www.canalworld.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=41409

 

Which in twenty years time may well need further work to keep afloat?

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It seems although TWT showed interest and latterly CRT no one really wants to take charge. This is stupidity at a grand level, this is the only chance of salvaging a London area wide boat that remains, I really do think that today its all talk and little else. The fact that there's £15-20K worth of "Josher" hulls there too has had little impact, this would not have been the case 20 years ago.

I do firmly believe that the interest in the history of our waterway system is dropping like a stone, I see this on a personal level in the way our DVD sales have fallen away on films that are not time related, there seems no interest now in the "why things evolved", indeed the boat owning persons now seem to to be getting very close to those who went out and bought a massive caravan and a range rover some years ago.

Hawtrey's pit will probably remain in peace forever, "Iver", "Yardley", Upwood, Penkridge, Amesbury and their sisters will never be seen again.

Edited by Laurence Hogg
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With respect to trade in general - or at least where we are living - this past year has seen a marked turndown (that's from the shops in Wenlock).

But if you look at what is around today in terms of restored ex-working craft, then compare it with same 40yrs ago, I think we have a great deal of interest in historic craft that have been saved from various 'graves'. A lot of this has come from more disposable income available to those who are in their later years in life, but like so many things, it's cyclic, and with the changes in ownership not fulfilling some hopes, inevitable that uncertainty for the future is rife. Ride the waves, or don't go in the water.

 

Not wishing to get political, but this country is currently caught in a web of deceit that started in 1922 (arguably earlier) and directly affected us from 1972, and is again set for more upheaval and uncertainty, or integration/sterilisation. But some clocks cannot be turned back - though I do wish in moving this forum platform the spell checker would be re-activated . . . .

Edited by Derek R.
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I do firmly believe that the interest in the history of our waterway system is dropping like a stone, I see this on a personal level in the way our DVD sales have fallen away on films that are not time related, there seems no interest now in the "why things evolved", indeed the boat owning persons now seem to to be getting very close to those who went out and bought a massive caravan and a range rover some years ago.

 

This is almost identical to the view expressed to us about 20 years ago by Mark Baldwin, a well respected dealer in secondhand books on canal matters who also republished a few. Derek R is doubtlessly correct that several "historic" craft have been brought back to a more active role, but Mark's and Laurence's experience with marketing historic records of one kind or another do reflect the more common attitudes of people now attracted to canals. Those interested in restoring and recording are a mere handful alogside those who want a cheap home or a boat they can step into and drive like a family car. They are no more interested in how the canal came into being than most drivers are in the road they motor on.

 

Despite this perhaps pessimistic view I do hope the dedicated few will continue to try to stir up interest in salvaging and recording as much as possible in places like the Widewater flash and Purton on the Severn.

Edited by Tam & Di
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For those who have forgotten what is there here is a few images:

 

The light blue is a wide boat and the green narrow boats:

To answer the most obvious question on everyones mind - what is there?

The following craft are identifiable and their probable / definite locations are known, this is derived from written BTC evidence, photos and examination of the site:

Fellows, Morton & Clayton iron horse boats:
Yardley
Upwood
Jersey
Penkridge
Amesbury
Tring (former Turkey)
Pretoria
Natal
Yeading
Keswick
Iver

Wooden horse boats:
Ida
Ena
Dee
Fay
Gladys
Dorset

Wooden Motor boat:
Erica

A H Taylor horse boat:
Daisy

L B Faulkner Horse boat:
Maude

Warickshore Canal carrying Co motor boat:
Calder

Thos Clayton (Paddington) wooden wide boats:
Jill
David
Trixie
Forget me not
Mavis
Edythe

The following are known to be on the site but location is not known:

Associated Canal Carriers (Royalty class)(GUCCCo) buttys:
Adelaide
Albert
Alexandra
Countess

Thos Clayton (Paddington) wide boats
Alberta
Rose of Tyburn

Warickshire Canal Carrying Co:
MB The King

Henry Boyer wide boats:
4 iron, 1 steel names not known.

BCN Joey
BCN !7928 open iron boat

Grand Union Canal Co
Composite Mud hopper

 

gallery_5000_522_155250.jpg

 

Josher butty / horse boat hulls and wide wooden boats, all now buried under a few inches of spoil.

 

gallery_5000_522_61846.jpg

 

For those interested in the original extensive thread about this place go to here: http://www.canalworld.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=28897&view=findpost&p=501634&hl=hawtrey%26%2339%3Bs

Edited by Laurence Hogg
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I suppose I am mildly sceptical about removal/restoration of vessels from Harefield Flash, although there may be exceptions that are viable and worth the effort. More pertinently though, it is imperative that the site is examined and the vessel remains are identified and recorded. The emphasis, in my view needs to be on archaeology above all else, with a conservation strategy that accepts natural degradation, whilst minimising unecessary human destruction of the artefacts. That is the kind of strategy that we've adopted at Purton. Happy to help in any way I can with the above.

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I suppose I am mildly sceptical about removal/restoration of vessels from Harefield Flash, although there may be exceptions that are viable and worth the effort. More pertinently though, it is imperative that the site is examined and the vessel remains are identified and recorded. The emphasis, in my view needs to be on archaeology above all else, with a conservation strategy that accepts natural degradation, whilst minimising unecessary human destruction of the artefacts. That is the kind of strategy that we've adopted at Purton. Happy to help in any way I can with the above.

How many times and how often does this need to be done. These boats were examined and photographed on 26 March 1961 by Alan E. Brown and Herbert R. Dunkley - when the water level was lowered and prior to being completely covered over. One of these photographs is published in post number 10 along with a comprehensive list of boats in Hawtrey's Pit and a modern plan drawn up by Laurence Hogg.

 

The colour photographs taken by Herbert R. Dunkley are housed within the C. & R.T. archives. The black and white photographs taken by Alan E. Brown are with a researcher (at the request of Alan E. Brown). The list of boats and their positions was recorded by Alan E. Brown, and his records are now split between C. & R.T. archive and the Historic Narrow Boat Club archive (so I am told).

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  • 2 months later...

Hi, I'm from 200 years in your future, and we had a look in Harefield for the remaining F.M.C horse boats, we found only rust. Now there are a few preserved boats that were converted back to Horse boats, as that is the way we prefer it. But what a shame you didn't preserve the rest. All the steel hull boats from your era are just available as holograms and downloads now as they long since rotted away, w make modern boats from a composite that looks feels and smells like iron, but is rot free and can be recycled in 10 mins when we've finished with it, but there is nothing nicer than a real Gardner or Lister plopping long, even if they don't run on foscil fuels. Please save the rest of them, I know it might cause a paradox, but we really do need more antiquity to enjoy what you guys do!

 

Lots of Love

 

A. Dent

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As you have come from 200 years in the future and clearly have far more technology and resources than todays mortals, perhaps you would like to wave your magic wand and resurrect these craft so you can enjoy their existence in the future.

 

Or is that beyond your capabilities?

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Sma11fry, can I have some of what you're on?

 

Not another incarnation of Alf Roberts are you?

Oh lord preserve us, not the same Alf Roberts that plagued railway preservation forums with batty ideas about turning a sliver of the Dunstable branch into a heritage railway?

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Oh lord preserve us, not the same Alf Roberts that plagued railway preservation forums with batty ideas about turning a sliver of the Dunstable branch into a heritage railway?

 

Might have been better than running empty buses along it. Someone made a few bob out of that scheme.
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Funny enough I walked up there last week with the dog and removed the soil around the stem post of an iron josher. I reckon 50 more visits and I might un-earth the boat!!!

 

Darren

 

Darren, which boat was this? Have the water levels fallen or is this a freshly exposed hull?

Thanks,

Laurence

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The two boats with the t studs just showing right next to the bank as well as being about 6 feet from the wooden wide boat that's on the bank. The water has dropped quite a bit. I did put the soil back on though. Also there's a lovely stem post iron just laying in the water.

 

Darren

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