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Audlem Gathering of Historic Boats 2018

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This year's (10th) annual gathering of historic boats at Audlem on the Shroppie is on 28/29 July.  Though a fair few boats are already booked in, we still have space for more.  An ex-working boat built up to 1960 is invited to book in - please email [email protected]

 

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Merely out of curiosity you understand ...... and I fully appreciate there aren't many built after 1960 ....... but off the top of my head I can think of three ...... so why not?

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And taking pedantry to the extreme, but "built up to 1960" would actually exclude those built throughout 1960!

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Merely out of curiosity you understand ...... and I fully appreciate there aren't many built after 1960 ....... but off the top of my head I can think of three ...... so why not?

I seem to remember a thread on here some while ago which listed around 14 or 17 boats that have been built as cargo carrying narrow boats since the 1960s.  But the key is that this is a show of historic boats, so we draw the line somewhere.  1960 saw the last boats built for carriers who had been going for decades, or a considerable number of years.  Just about all boats built since then have (I believe) been one-offs for individual people, none of whom traded under the names seen prior to 1960.  No doubt someone will now tell me how wrong I am - but I'm still drawing the line at 1960!

And taking pedantry to the extreme, but "built up to 1960" would actually exclude those built throughout 1960!

Alan, you are of course right.  Can I amend that to "built up to the end of 1960"?

Pedant alert over, I hope!

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I wasn't being pedantic when I asked my question.

I wondered if this was revisiting the criteria for joining the original Narrow Boat Owners Club as it was in the 1980s when we attempted to get recognition for John and Madeleine's Newbury  but the rivet counters would have none of it.

However you have now explained, but I am no less disappointed that you don't consider boats built in the last nearly 60 years for owner operators as worthy.

History shows that the likes of Tooleys of Banbury (and of course numerous other single yard builders) only built for Number Ones.  In fact the big yards that provided for carriers post dated  the likes of Tooleys etc. The Company boat builders came along after and have since disappeared. Yet Tooleys and Gilbert Bros are still there. Company fleets came and went, but The Number Ones were at the beginning and are still here.

The bottom line is really "It's your event and you'll run it the way you want"  Which is fine, but it does smack of inverted snobbery.

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I'm inclined to agree. I could turn up with Belfast, built in 1936 by Harland & Wolff for the GUCCC, but with a full length conversion with bus windows and an unfitted back cabin, to most of the public it would look no more 'historic working boat' than your average 70 ft clonecraft, whereas a post 1960 carrying boat with all the running gear would show more of what narrow boat carrying was all about.

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12 minutes ago, zenataomm said:

I wasn't being pedantic when I asked my question.

I wondered if this was revisiting the criteria for joining the original Narrow Boat Owners Club as it was in the 1980s when we attempted to get recognition for John and Madeleine's Newbury  but the rivet counters would have none of it.

However you have now explained, but I am no less disappointed that you don't consider boats built in the last nearly 60 years for owner operators as worthy.

History shows that the likes of Tooleys of Banbury (and of course numerous other single yard builders) only built for Number Ones.  In fact the big yards that provided for carriers post dated  the likes of Tooleys etc. The Company boat builders came along after and have since disappeared. Yet Tooleys and Gilbert Bros are still there. Company fleets came and went, but The Number Ones were at the beginning and are still here.

The bottom line is really "It's your event and you'll run it the way you want"  Which is fine, but it does smack of inverted snobbery.

Canal carrying started in the mid-1930s and ended in the 1960s. All the boats were built at Woolwich or Northwich. Everyone knows that don't they?

Mind you I could register myself as a canal company, stick my name on the side and call myself a Number One (which the genuine article maybe never did).

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25 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Canal carrying started in the mid-1930s and ended in the 1960s. All the boats were built at Woolwich or Northwich. Everyone knows that don't they?

Mind you I could register myself as a canal company, stick my name on the side and call myself a Number One (which the genuine article maybe never did).

Errr ... no! On every count.

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1 minute ago, zenataomm said:

Errr ... no! On every count.

But if my second point is wrong you have invented an arbitrary rule about what qualifies someone as a Number One. Bear in mind I own a tug so could pick up some towage work.

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When I had my Small Woolwich pair I had commercial licences and commercial insurance, have you? That was Waterway's rules not mine.

If your neighbour's car breaks down and you tow him back with your car you think that makes you a commercial vehicle transporter, well it doesn't.

 

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3 minutes ago, zenataomm said:

When I had my Small Woolwich pair I had commercial licences and commercial insurance, have you? That was Waterway's rules not mine.

If your neighbour's car breaks down and you tow him back with your car you think that makes you a commercial vehicle transporter, well it doesn't.

 

Obviously not because it was a hypothetical question but I could set up as a legitimate commercial operation. The point was that to have a theme for an event you have to make some arbitrary rules and you will probably annoy someone by doing that. The acid test would be in the response of the festival committee to a request to enter a boat outside of the written rules but conforming to the spirit of them.

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45 minutes ago, zenataomm said:

I wondered if this was revisiting the criteria for joining the original Narrow Boat Owners Club as it was in the 1980s when we attempted to get recognition for John and Madeleine's Newbury  but the rivet counters would have none of it.

History shows that the likes of Tooleys of Banbury (and of course numerous other single yard builders) only built for Number Ones.  In fact the big yards that provided for carriers post dated  the likes of Tooleys etc. The Company boat builders came along after and have since disappeared. Yet Tooleys and Gilbert Bros are still there. Company fleets came and went, but The Number Ones were at the beginning and are still here.

The big problem I had with the Narrow Boat Owners Club is that an ex-boater (born to the boats) could be a full member even when they did not own a boat, but somebody working boats professionally in the old ways (a few in retail coal or camping back then) could not - and I recall this being John Forth's gripe as much as NEWBURY not qualifying. I was so dissatisfied with this situation a few years later that I left this organisation (I was endlessly correcting the N.B.O.C. NEWSLETTER and providing loads of information on member boats, as well as being an ex-professional boatman but still had no vote). I am now in a position where I may rejoin the H.N.B.C. but I have massive reservations.

As far as the Audlem event is concerned any boat built by Tooley's and most by Gilbert Brothers would qualify, the only problem being so few exist - and few were built By Gilbert Brothers pre1960 as they were more of a repair yard (and I am sure they only built a couple of steel hulled pleasure boats post 1960's). Although I accept that Tooley's and Charity Dock still exist I am far from convinced that they can offer anything like the skills and facilities that they once did. 

Perhaps an event could be organised for the narrow boats built for carrying post 1961 inclusive - now that would be interesting :captain:  

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7 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Obviously not because it was a hypothetical question but I could set up as a legitimate commercial operation. The point was that to have a theme for an event you have to make some arbitrary rules and you will probably annoy someone by doing that. The acid test would be in the response of the festival committee to a request to enter a boat outside of the written rules but conforming to the spirit of them.

The 'spirit' carries no weight as it either conforms to a specified date so is 'historic' or it does not :captain:

31 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

But if my second point is wrong you have invented an arbitrary rule about what qualifies someone as a Number One. Bear in mind I own a tug so could pick up some towage work.

VULPES is not a tug, it just has some similarity of design to a few tugs that worked commercially post World War 1 - or at least is no more of a tug than any other boat with an engine :captain:

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10 minutes ago, pete harrison said:

The 'spirit' carries no weight as it either conforms to a specified date so is 'historic' or it does not :captain:

From the perspective of the organising committee it can if they choose. Not every boat that has ever been entered at Braunston or Alvecote qualifies as a historic. We are not talking about HNBC rules here.

10 minutes ago, pete harrison said:

VULPES is not a tug, it just has some similarity of design to a few tugs that worked commercially post World War 1 - or at least is no more of a tug than any other boat with an engine :captain:

It would be if I started tugging things with it and it's rather better configured for that purpose than most other boats. I have been told it has occasionally been used for that purpose in the past but I have no proof.

Edited by Captain Pegg

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8 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

From the perspective of the organising committee it can if they choose. Not every boat that has ever been entered at Braunston or Alvecote qualifies as a historic. We are not talking about HNBC rules here.

This would also depend on whether these are date limited, ie 'historic', or whether they are ex-working boat events (I have never attended the Alvecote event) :captain: 

Edited by pete harrison

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24 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

It would be if I started tugging things with it and it's rather better configured for that purpose than most other boats. I have been told it has occasionally been used for that purpose in the past but I have no proof.

As a teenager I used to use a 45' Rugby Boatbuilder built hire cruiser with an open back end deck and Lister SR2 to tow B.C.N. day boats between central Birmingham and Dudley, but I would not claim this to be a tug - I also used CHRISTOPHER JAMES on occasions which definitely was a tug (if a little soft in places) :captain:

edit = I am dropping out of this thread now as it is meant to be about the event at Audlem - which I am sure will be well worth attending.

Edited by pete harrison

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7 hours ago, pete harrison said:

The big problem I had with the Narrow Boat Owners Club is that an ex-boater (born to the boats) could be a full member even when they did not own a boat, but somebody working boats professionally in the old ways (a few in retail coal or camping back then) could not - and I recall this being John Forth's gripe as much as NEWBURY not qualifying. I was so dissatisfied with this situation a few years later that I left this organisation (I was endlessly correcting the N.B.O.C. NEWSLETTER and providing loads of information on member boats, as well as being an ex-professional boatman but still had no vote). I am now in a position where I may rejoin the H.N.B.C. but I have massive reservations.

I'm sure you are aware Pete, but others may not be, so it is probably worth pointing out that the HNBC now encourage anybody interested in historic working boats boat to be a full member, and place absolutely no requirement to own one or even be involved in operating them.

The clue is it is now the HNBC - the Historic Narrow Boat Club, the "O" for "Owner" having been dropped from the name some years back.

7 hours ago, zenataomm said:

When I had my Small Woolwich pair I had commercial licences and commercial insurance, have you? That was Waterway's rules not mine.

If modern day historic boat events were limited to only boats with commercial licences and commercial insurance they would, of course, be fairly sparsely attended though!

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1 hour ago, alan_fincher said:

'm sure you are aware Pete, but others may not be, so it is probably worth pointing out that the HNBC now encourage anybody interested in historic working boats boat to be a full member, and place absolutely no requirement to own one or even be involved in operating them.

T

This brought a wry smile from me!..As in my experience not only having an interest but even when attempting to buy a vessel I come across comments like..."maybe he is not worthy to be a custodian of such a vessel"..etc etc

Ian

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10 hours ago, Captain Pegg said:

Canal carrying started in the mid-1930s and ended in the 1960s. All the boats were built at Woolwich or Northwich. Everyone knows that don't they?

Mind you I could register myself as a canal company, stick my name on the side and call myself a Number One (which the genuine article maybe never did).

Am I missing something? I thought commercial canal carrying started with the Duke of Bridgewater's canal carrying coal to Manchester, opened 17th July 1761.:captain:

Edited by Ray T
  • Greenie 2

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20 minutes ago, Ray T said:

Am I missing something? I thought commercial canal carrying started with the Duke of Bridgewater's canal carrying coal to Manchester, opened 17th July 1761.

Well, I never. You learn something new every day.

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38 minutes ago, Ray T said:

Am I missing something? I thought commercial canal carrying started with the Duke of Bridgewater's canal carrying coal to Manchester, opened 17th July 1761.:captain:

There are those who would say Sankey Canal, 1757. 

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14 minutes ago, twbm said:

There are those who would say Sankey Canal, 1757. 

Or maybe Foss Dyke. Some say 120, others 1121.

Those in the know reckon 1930.

Edited by Captain Pegg

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2 hours ago, Captain Pegg said:

Those in the know reckon 1930.

Those who think they are in the know obviously aren't aware FMC was operating long distance narrow boats in the shape of steamers in the early 1900s, and that was to replace their horse drawn boats.

They probably also think that all the boats were built at Woolwich or Northwich, neatly disregarding Walkers, Uxbridge Steel Barrel Co, James Pollock Sons & Co Ltd of Faversham, Kent, Bushell Bros of Tring. FMC yards at Uxbridge and Saltley and many, many others.

5 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

If modern day historic boat events were limited to only boats with commercial licences and commercial insurance they would, of course, be fairly sparsely attended though!

I wasn't suggesting that Alan. I was educating C.P. that merely painting Joe Bloggs LTD on the side of his boat and offering to do a bit of towing doesn't make him a commercial operator nor his craft acceptable for such. In order to get my 1935 Small Woolwich boats a commercial licence in the 80s I had to provide a lot of evidence and go before a meeting with the local area manager and his team with evidence that I had the relevant boats, insurances and permission to use deep drafted wharves as no loading or unloading over the towpath would be permitted.  I was then allowed to get my commercial licences which being triangular didn't fit in the square plastic pocket!

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5 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

I'm sure you are aware Pete, but others may not be, so it is probably worth pointing out that the HNBC now encourage anybody interested in historic working boats boat to be a full member, and place absolutely no requirement to own one or even be involved in operating them.

The clue is it is now the HNBC - the Historic Narrow Boat Club, the "O" for "Owner" having been dropped from the name some years back.

Yes I am aware as I was at the A.G.M. when this change was made, but for me it was too little too late.

The main reason for the change was that a 'historic' boat could have more than one owner through marriage, family or consortium and prior to the change it was one boat one vote, so this change was not for the benefit of non 'historic' boat owning members - although clearly they did get the benefit as a side thought :captain: 

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34 minutes ago, zenataomm said:

Those who think they are in the know obviously aren't aware FMC was operating long distance narrow boats in the shape of steamers in the early 1900s, and that was to replace their horse drawn boats.

They probably also think that all the boats were built at Woolwich or Northwich, neatly disregarding Walkers, Uxbridge Steel Barrel Co, James Pollock Sons & Co Ltd of Faversham, Kent, Bushell Bros of Tring. FMC yards at Uxbridge and Saltley and many, many others.

I am well aware of that. Puzzled that you and Ray T have responded as though I had made a serious comment when you are both regulars in the History & Heritage section where I often post the findings of my own research and details that go way back in time.

I didn't think I needed to put a big "Irony" flag on it. The point being that the historic scene is dominated by the GUCCCo/BWB carrying fleets. For the obvious reason that the vast majority of boats and literature available to that market relates to those operations. That's why you get a 1960 cut off. In that sense I was sympathising with your point of view but also pointing out the difficulties of defining what is required for something billed as 'historic'.

I think the idea that any of the terms by which you can define types of boat such as 'historic', 'heritage', 'original', 'restored', 'replica', 'commercial', 'tug', 'working' etc... could ever be wholly aligned to one ideal of what is 'right' is a fallacy. Best to work on the basis of whether it fits with the spirit of the aims if the individual or organisation at hand. It doesn't matter that much at the end of day.

And to bring it back to topic I may attend Audlem; maybe even in an official capacity.

JP

Edited by Captain Pegg

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