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Phyllis Nicklin Canal Images


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Phyllis Nicklin was a geography lecturer who died in 1960, her photographs are often a useful source of imagery for historians. There has been a project in Birmingham to retake the image location in a then an now comparison. These images are now on the display in Birmingham Central Library.

 

There is one shot in Gas Street Basin showing a colourful narrow boat. Does anybody know the history of this craft?

630751.jpg

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1 hour ago, Heartland said:

Phyllis Nicklin was a geography lecturer who died in 1960, her photographs are often a useful source of imagery for historians. There has been a project in Birmingham to retake the image location in a then an now comparison. These images are now on the display in Birmingham Central Library.

 

There is one shot in Gas Street Basin showing a colourful narrow boat. Does anybody know the history of this craft?

The boat in the photograph is DANUBE, completed in April 1912 by William Nurser and Sons, Braunston for the Salt Union Ltd., Marston as a single cabin horse boat. DANUBE passed to Mersey Weaver and Ship Canal Carring Company Ltd., Burslem and then in 1944 to W.J. Podmore and Sons Ltd., Shelton.

 

In 1950 DANUBE was sold to Christopher Clifford, a potter at Pallisey China Company, Longton, and once converted to a pleasure cruiser was used to display their wares from time to time. It is also claimed that DANUBE was 'garaged' in Frogall Tunnel when not in use. The last reference I have for DANUBE is details of its sale in 1972, although it may have been seen at Curdworth locks as late as 1979 :captain:

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3 hours ago, pete harrison said:

The boat in the photograph is DANUBE, completed in April 1912 by William Nurser and Sons, Braunston for the Salt Union Ltd., Marston as a single cabin horse boat. DANUBE passed to Mersey Weaver and Ship Canal Carring Company Ltd., Burslem and then in 1944 to W.J. Podmore and Sons Ltd., Shelton.

 

In 1950 DANUBE was sold to Christopher Clifford, a potter at Pallisey China Company, Longton, and once converted to a pleasure cruiser was used to display their wares from time to time. It is also claimed that DANUBE was 'garaged' in Frogall Tunnel when not in use. The last reference I have for DANUBE is details of its sale in 1972, although it may have been seen at Curdworth locks as late as 1979 :captain:

 

Judging by the cabin, that looks to be the stern half of Danube. Yet it seems to be longer than half the original. So did the fore end get used for a shorter boat?

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11 minutes ago, David Mack said:

 

Judging by the cabin, that looks to be the stern half of Danube. Yet it seems to be longer than half the original. So did the fore end get used for a shorter boat?

The photograph above does illustrate the original stern of DANUBE in use as the fore end of the pleasure boat of the same name. I have no record of the fore end being re-used but I suspect after 38 years of commercial operation it will have suffered more than the stern so was very likely beyond reasonable use, although I am sure it will have been subject to regular docking as required :captain:

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So it was Danube, thanks for that

 

Phyllis actually died in 1969, and many of her important images of Birmingham Industry and canals were taken in the later years of her life. The next image shows the BCN curving around to the Icknield Port Loop junction at Icknield Square. Just in the far right the railway bridge that carried the Harborne Railway can be seen

 

 

628010.jpg

 

Some of the buildings shown belonged to Bellis & Morcam.

Edited by Heartland
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  • 2 years later...

I've been looking through the Phyllis Nicklin images again and found some more canal shots which I don't think have been featured on this forum before.

They are Creative Commons licenced, so free to be shared for non-commercial use. The originals can be found here: http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/chrysalis.html

Icknield Port Loop 9 Nov1968:

 mbb0250.jpg.b214704df3baa5161deb19abd463b9cf.jpg

 

Gas Street Basin 24 Sept 1968:

mCan0004.jpg.c969786756f7e88436ecb1a3706478a7.jpg

 

near Salford Junction 14 March 1968:

mbb0423.jpg.97f03ba91dfdca2fc05507c728cb7122.jpg

mbb0425.jpg.55d15d23f9bb28d08f55fcd51ed17689.jpg

 

Gas Street 1962:

mCan0006.jpg.da9e6a8f4fa33f371380839a2007ec6b.jpg

 

Gas Street 1st July 1961 - the boat in the lock appears to be 'Water Vole', an early BW hire cruiser, and to the left of it appear to be two of the 'Water Baby' class cruisers :

mCan0002.jpg.39848663929b2ec2666189c5e13810e5.jpg

 

Selly Oak 1960:

mbb0427.jpg.346b5bce2e51d7fb153fced701e4dad8.jpg

 

California Portal of Lapal Tunnel, 28 Sept 1953:

mbb0428.jpg.b07168ba36ad31a0f6f965a2d4b51578.jpg

 

Farmers Bridge, 23 July 1953: 

mCan0007.jpg.787daf8ea2bab0e849448b91547d61aa.jpg

mCan0008.jpg.ac0d43ee591afbf6e7fd9ba4fd0bd533.jpg

 

Gas St 27 Feb 1953 (image is incorrectly handed, but note 3 gates to lock):

Can0005.jpg.b665d313607d8c081ad5266398c3ae17.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Great images. Showing well the run down state, but in a strange way more attractive than the clinically tidy area today. Not that I've been there this past 20yrs!

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On 06/07/2021 at 18:13, Ray T said:

Can0005.jpg.b665d313607d8c081ad5266398c3ae17.jpg

 

So the plank swing-bridge was put in after the gates had gone, presumably? I'd never seen a photo with "proper" gates - I'd assumed that might be stop gates without beams that could be swung "if needed"

BTW, in the bottom left of the picture is a paddle that must be mounted on the 4th gate. 

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Yes, the lock had two sets of gates either end at Worcester Bar and BW put back the double gates at Digbeth

 

Should gates be put back as a heritage feature at Hall Green, on the Macclesfield ?

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1 hour ago, magpie patrick said:

 I'd never seen a photo with "proper" gates - I'd assumed that might be stop gates without beams that could be swung "if needed"

When I first encountered Gas St in the early 70s there were stop gates (facing both directions I think), but without balance beams and with the uprights cut down to below coping level, and no sign of paddle gear.

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Surely someone who attended the Birmingham IWA Rally in Gas Street can remember whether the beams were still there or had been cut off. I only started going to the Rallies the year after, but as Magpie says, the beams and all above water level gear had disappeared by 1971. There is some confusion about the plank bridges though. I have no idea when the standard BCN Toll Office bridge disappeared. It does appear in photos of the basin. Clearly at one point in the 60s a builders plank was used, and that was also the only way of crossing the Bar Lock when we first arrived there in late 1970. I believe the bridge shown here was installed for the Rally but soon disappeared, although there were at least two more versions of this bridge there during the late 70s and early 80s. They were rather flimsy and were regularly knocked off the mountings by pleasure boats, resulting in a shout for as many people as possible to come and lift them out of the water. Because of the counterweights they were quite heavy to lift!

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The one of the gates still seem to be there in 1969, which I think is the date of this Roger Lorenz photo, and it is still there in my 1970 photo.

Gas St, Atilla 215.jpg

Gas St..jpg

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Yes, that is how I remember them in 1971 although the remains got a little lower over time. Although we had left the basin by the time the far too steep new bridge was built there, I believe the gates were finally removed when new dropping gates were installed. More importantly is that the remains of the Toll Keepers plank bridge can be seen behind the left hand gate. That had been removed by the time we arrived but the mark 1 swing bridge had already disappeared then and it was back to the builders plank as in the earlier Gas Street image. Bodmin appears to have had a lot of work done as well.

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John's boat is bottom right. The photo is 1970 or 1971, and taken from the top of the lock house when Andy Millward was having the roof repaired.

Gas St 999.jpg

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I had started cleaning Linda/Victoria with a view to moving on board in 1971, but came back north and ended up working for Peter Froud with Charlie Atkins. George Radford moved back to Northwich around the same time when he got married again.

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