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old riveted barge at Bulls bridge GU called Ruby. any info?


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There is an old wide open barge moored just inside the Paddington arm about 100yds after the turn at Bulls bridge. Offside by the aggregates yard. Its Called Ruby.

It's been there a while. I have the owners name but I don't think he's on forums.

Its an attractive boat although it seems to have been messed about quite a lot and has a hopper style double skinned hold which I assume is not original. Also a bit of side plating / coaming has been cut away for some reason possibly the 1990s optical fibre cable laying operations.

I was just wondering if anyone knew the origins of the boat (maybe Tam Murrell would know as he used to lease the cottage there I believe - which has recently been rebuilt).

Someone suggested to me that Ruby was an old Thames conservancy vessel but I think it looks a bit dutch.  some of the upstream Thames  Lighters did have that sort of shape as well so it may well be correct.

Its quite a nice old boat IMO .

Any info appreciated. I've not got a photo as have not passed it for a while it just came up in conversation today so I began to wonder about it.

Found a pic via Google but its not a very good photo. I cropped it. It gives a general idea



Edited by magnetman
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I can't blow the photo up well enough to see detail, but it does look to be more English than Dutch. The suggestion that it was originally with Thames Water sounds plausible. Apparently it was owned by a guy on the Lea and Tim Wood says he will try to find out more about it for me from the current owner.


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These new shots appear to show traces of BW blue and yellow paint. As it was on the Lea until recently it may well have been a dredging hopper there, but its heavy construction also suggests a possible northern origin. Hopefully Tim will get info on it.

I'm horrified at the background though. We drive by on the Hayes by-pass flyover and vaguely look over at it when we visit our mooring site at Spikes Bridge, but have not actually visited the area since we moved from the Toll House 17 years ago. I see now what you meant by reference to an aggregates yard  :(  We did get low-level protection for the three cottages, but that seems to have been shrugged to one side.

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The aggregates yard has impinged severely and I'd say its within a few metres of the back of the cottage/s. I'm a bit surprised as its a very picturesque location with the lovely bridge, the cottage and remains of a stop lock or flood gates but I guess due to the area being predominately industrial nobody is bothered about the canal (how ironic !!) and associated structures.

I've been passing there regularly for about 20 years and had noted that the buildings became derelict but in the last few years they have been rebuilt quite nicely

 I don't know by or for who this was done but I guess its a Good Thing even if they are spoiled by the aggregates yard immediately beside them..

Will be interesting to see what happens there.


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9 minutes ago, magnetman said:

The aggregates yard has impinged severely and I'd say its within a few metres of the back of the cottage/s.

Looking now at an overhead view I see they have removed No.2 and No.3 cottages. Tim did tell me some while back that the new owners of the site tried to demolish the Toll House but were forced to reinstate it - i just didn't realise they'd totally removed the other two. No.3 cottage was associated with the FMC fuelling depot there. They've also removed the best greengage tree in the world from what was our garden, and now use that area for parking.

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Yes I did think it was a single building but when you said 3 cottages I started to question that. I suppose the fact the single remaining building (the toll house) has been refurbished is a good sign but I intrigued to know just what it will actually be used for.


Just realised from what you said that they were "forced to reinstate it" so I guess it has simply been put back to how it was (grade2 listed?) and will simply fall back into disuse. It really doesn't seem like a residential type area. I'll probably still be passing it regularly in 20 years time on my boat. so I will be able to provide updates if required  :)




Edited by magnetman
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