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wandering snail

Parker boatbuilder

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A friend has a 50 year old narrowboat built, he has been told, by 'Parker', originally as a hire boat. He hasn't been able to find out anything about its build or history and I wondered if anyone on here could help?

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Graham Parker was based at Norton Canes alonside Malcolm Braine and Canal Transport Services and build mid range no nonsense boats.  I think he was later associated with JD Boat Services iirc.  He may have partnered with Neil Butlin at some stage.

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As the original post suggests, Graham Parker started building steel boats in the mid to late 1960's, and they were quite good quality for the standards of the time- when there were only a small number of companies building new steel boats. His boats always seem to be well regarded. I think most went to private owners but a handful might have served in hire fleets. If you post a photo I might be able to identify it from my collection of hire boat brochures. I'm sure Dave Moore will be along in a minute to give us more details of Graham's boatbuilding.

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1 hour ago, John Brightley said:

As the original post suggests, Graham Parker started building steel boats in the mid to late 1960's, and they were quite good quality for the standards of the time- when there were only a small number of companies building new steel boats. His boats always seem to be well regarded. I think most went to private owners but a handful might have served in hire fleets. If you post a photo I might be able to identify it from my collection of hire boat brochures. I'm sure Dave Moore will be along in a minute to give us more details of Graham's boatbuilding.

Graham built my hull, together with Neil Butlin, trading as 'Narrowcraft '  IIRC. They did me a lovely hull - except for that the bits that they said 'would not work' and for which I was very grateful (no b*** good saying I want this or that - if those who know won't work). I was going to wibly-wobly-boats of Walsall - Bob Allen (son od Les) but he never answered the 'phone...

 

I still have the boat, she swims exactly as I wanted  - pushes her up the Thames and glides quietly up the canals. Solid construction without being clumsy. I love our hull and an eternally grateful for being put in my place through my ignorance.

 

AFAIK  Graham spent   some years at Norton Caines  - but I did see an article in WW some years ago where he did some work in the potteries. Being based Darn Sarf, I never managed to have a long discussion with either Neil or Graham - a pity.

 

Those were the days when boatbuilding was a craft industry. Each hull was an individual, but with the knowledge, skill and expertise of the builder. Sadly long gone.

As a further tribute all my knowledge and love of the canal system, the people and boats were nurtured by the Milwards of Teddesley fame   - without of them I would have stayed with horses....

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A friend has a boat built by Graham Parker. You do see them advertised once in a blue moon on the Internet. They seem to have a shorter than average bows which is short and upswept.

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We have a Graham Parker boat which he originally built and fitted out for himself some 25 years ago at his workshop in Coven Heath. Very sturdy boat with steering via a funnel / tube around the propeller which provides excellent reverse steering. We still own the boat, Graham retired to a bungalow on an old coal wharf arm near Wolverhampton. Wonderful guy who produced great shells.

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I’ve just found this old thread. Neil Butlin finished his building days at Norton Canes, working with Graham Edgson and Tony Bate. In retirement he lived on site, I’m sorry to report his death in March. Another fine craftsman gone. I was in awe of his welding skills!

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Hi, I have a Graham Parker boat, 1961 as per one survey, 1966 as per another. Steel hull and superstructure, iv been searching for info and history, and confirmation of where it was launched, 1 survey says Norton Canes.

Any more information or history would be very much appreciated. Many thanks

On 04/10/2018 at 18:26, John Brightley said:

As the original post suggests, Graham Parker started building steel boats in the mid to late 1960's, and they were quite good quality for the standards of the time- when there were only a small number of companies building new steel boats. His boats always seem to be well regarded. I think most went to private owners but a handful might have served in hire fleets. If you post a photo I might be able to identify it from my collection of hire boat brochures. I'm sure Dave Moore will be along in a minute to give us more details of Graham's boatbuilding.

 

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