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A "Bulk" on a early GUCCCo motor boat - is this unique?


Laurence Hogg
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Below is a single frame taken from an amateur cine film shot in 1936 to promote water transport. Its shows the fore end of GUCCCo "Umbriel" with a "Bulk" instead of the usual deck board. I have never seen this on a GUCCCo boat during this time period and maybe this is a unique shot. Some Royalty boats had Bulks but I am not aware of any boats in the post expansion era having them.

 

gallery_5000_522_68124.jpg

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Below is a single frame taken from an amateur cine film shot in 1936 to promote water transport. Its shows the fore end of GUCCCo "Umbriel" with a "Bulk" instead of the usual deck board. I have never seen this on a GUCCCo boat during this time period and maybe this is a unique shot. Some Royalty boats had Bulks but I am not aware of any boats in the post expansion era having them.

 

gallery_5000_522_68124.jpg

 

In this post , Pete Harrison reckons Electra has a bulk cratch.

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I know very little of this how ever I recently read a book by Tom Chaplin (I think) that showed a 'bulk'. In this instance there was a photo of Flamingo with a bulk.

 

Not Flamingo but Avocet in Willow Wren's days, photo taken in 1965. Page 7 of the second (revised) edition of Tom Chaplin's book "A short history of the Narrow Boat"

Edited by David Schweizer
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Not Flamingo but Avocet in Willow Wren's days, photo taken in 1965. Page 7 of the second (revised) edition of Tom Chaplin's book "A short history of the Narrow Boat"

 

Flamingo definitely carried a bulk for a while towards the end of her Willow Wren days, (probably in 1970), and is pictured in one of the standard texts. I would have also guessed it to be a Tom Chaplin book if I'm honest, but I have no sources on the boat to check.

 

It is hard to make out, but in a distant shot Derek R sent me of Flamingo, (almost certainly paired with Cygnus), the bulk can also be seen.

 

However Laurence's question is about GUCCCo days, not anything later, and I have never seen anything suggesting any boat other than the one he pictures carried one, so unusual that certainly is!

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But why? What purpose did it serve?

 

Flamingo definitely carried a bulk for a while towards the end of her Willow Wren days, (probably in 1970), and is pictured in one of the standard texts. I would have also guessed it to be a Tom Chaplin book if I'm honest, but I have no sources on the boat to check.

 

It is hard to make out, but in a distant shot Derek R sent me of Flamingo, (almost certainly paired with Cygnus), the bulk can also be seen.

 

However Laurence's question is about GUCCCo days, not anything later, and I have never seen anything suggesting any boat other than the one he pictures carried one, so unusual that certainly is!

I think we have read the same book. Will dig it out and confirm the name and page.

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But why? What purpose did it serve?

 

 

 

No other purpose than the same as polishing brasses or keeping a smart cratch - appearance, pride, one-upmanship - just the same as traction engine drivers would keep their charges in spic'n span condition, and carters and ploughmen would keep their horses brasses and tack in good order - and boatmen their fenders just 'so'.

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I thought as much, but why? Why was bulking out the cratch seen as anything special? I can see polishing brass, keeping boats tidy etc as being pride and one upmanship but why bulking? To give the boats a more streamlined appeareance? I'm just trying to picture how and why it came about, this must have statted somewhere, someone at some point was the first person to do it, so why? Was it so things could be stowed there? And it developed from there? Most things have a why and a how, an origin if you like - especially in boats as most things served a purpose. So why bulking?

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In a hundred years people will have serious discusions about the moose bars seen on British trucks in the 1990 and early 21st century. Surley they indicate that moose must have been roaming in Britain?

And the discussion about company or driver issued light bars will be hilarious. ..

 

 

and I'll be in the pub, taking pints, and talk about the good old days 'when I was a trucker'....

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In a hundred years people will have serious discusions about the moose bars seen on British trucks in the 1990 and early 21st century. Surley they indicate that moose must have been roaming in Britain?

And the discussion about company or driver issued light bars will be hilarious. ..

 

 

and I'll be in the pub, taking pints, and talk about the good old days 'when I was a trucker'....

Ok. Point taken. So the answer is 'Why not?'

 

Crazy world out there.

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I wonder if the film maker all those years ago could ever imagined people discussing one frame of his film at great length, isn't life amazing?, the same film shows Joe Skinner walking backwards calling his mule on too.

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I know very little of this how ever I recently read a book by Tom Chaplin (I think) that showed a 'bulk'. In this instance there was a photo of Flamingo with a bulk.

 

Not Flamingo but Avocet in Willow Wren's days, photo taken in 1965. Page 7 of the second (revised) edition of Tom Chaplin's book "A short history of the Narrow Boat"

 

I have just realised that although I do not have the book on the boat, I do have a scan of the picture of "Flamingo" being referred to on my computer here.

 

It was definitely taken from a Tom Chaplain book - almost certainly this one.....

 

narrowboats.jpg

 

I assume Tom Chaplain should be credited with the photo, but if anybody knows otherwise please advise and I'll correct the post.....

 

Narrow_Boats_Chaplain_001_zpsmqy1mgww.jp

 

It seems odd looking at a 45 year old photo to think that I will shortly be bedding down for the night just in the area where that cratch used to be!

 

 

Edited by alan_fincher
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Just embrace the fact that even in those days, not everything was either company issue, company edicted, painted by a demi-god, or even approved by the carrying company. ..

those bulked headboards may well have been scourned by other boaters, just as a thousand marker lights on a truck today are. But the very few trucks with a thousand marker lights are featured in the magazines, and will be the bench mark in a hundred years....

 

mine's a 'old gruntfuggle', and I'll tell you all about the lights I used to have on my truck...

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I wonder if the film maker all those years ago could ever imagined people discussing one frame of his film at great length, isn't life amazing?, the same film shows Joe Skinner walking backwards calling his mule on too.

true. I very much doubt that Heinrich who took a picture of his crew and Tiger tank in Russia in 1944 would have expected that 60+years later model builders around the world would spend years attempting to confirm what month his Tiger was produced, at which factory, and wether the Zimmerit was factory or field applied. .

 

And lets not start about determining correct colours from 60+ year old black & white photos...

 

:-)

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I have just realised that although I do not have the book on the boat, I do have a scan of the picture of "Flamingo" being referred to on my computer here.

Yes...page 84 (Chaplin though, not Chaplain).

 

Chaplin doesn't credit the photograph to anyone else so I assume it is one of his own.

 

Edited to add: On putting on my reading glasses I see that he has credited it to the NWM Gloucester confirming that I am getting old (though still resisting growing up).

Edited by carlt
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Silly question. maybe, but I genuinely don't know......

 

Is there a normal deck board hidden away behind the bulk, so that it it is just an additional adornment, or is the deck board omitted, (in which case what supports the top planks?).

Edited by alan_fincher
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I have just realised that although I do not have the book on the boat, I do have a scan of the picture of "Flamingo" being referred to on my computer here.

 

It was definitely taken from a Tom Chaplain book - almost certainly this one.....

 

narrowboats.jpg

 

I assume Tom Chaplain should be credited with the photo, but if anybody knows otherwise please advise and I'll correct the post.....

 

Narrow_Boats_Chaplain_001_zpsmqy1mgww.jp

 

It seems odd looking at a 45 year old photo to think that I will shortly be bedding down for the night just in the area where that cratch used to be!

 

 

 

 

That is from the third edition of Tom Chaplin's book, her is the photo ftom the second edition, Clearluy a different (wooden) boat. Picture credited to Hugh McKnight.

 

bulk%20cratch%20avocet%202_zpsvslu4xid.j

Edited by David Schweizer
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I was lead to believe (which means nothing at all) that the deck board remains and the bulk itself is straw. The clever bit being the prior sewing up of the canvas to maintain the shape once the straw's been stuffed in.

Somebody please shoot me down and destroy 45 years of long-held belief.

 

I like them and think they're groovy, although it made jumping down onto the foredeck from the top of the cratch next to impossible and passing around the side of it a tad heart stopping also.

 

In Laurence's photo of The Cowburn and Cowpar boat emerging from Harecastle I've magnified the image 400% to try and read the warning roundel on the tunnel barrier, to no avail.

It looks like "SAT OAP". I imagine the first bit is 5ft .... or perhaps it is SAT OAP???

 

Incidentally Laurence says .... Cowburn & Cowperr

Google suggests .................... Cowburn & Cowper

HNBC confidently spell it ....... W H Cowburn & Cowpar

CRT Heritage Boats also go ...Cowburn & Cowper

 

 

Edited once upon a twice to add that Tam Murrell back in 2009 explained with wise words: - http://www.canalworld.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=20947&p=346145

Edited by zenataomm
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