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cheshire~rose

British Waterways "Uniform" Mid Century

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19 hours ago, Mike Adams said:

I've got some BW Wellington boots with the BW logo on the side!

I did think when CRT recently changed their logo how many people my stash away a few items of kit with the old logo on it on the bass that one day it would be interesting from a heritage point of view. Yes I know we can all mock BUT with the nostalgia for the older logo's it would make sense not to use them all as polishing cloths 

 

What size are your wellies?

 

18 hours ago, Ray T said:

Jack James at SB.

Jack James at SB.jpg

Now that is pretty much exactly what I had in mind - although the donkey jacket would be discarded in summer of course so I suspect the rolled up shirt sleeves and tank top shown in Alan Fincher's picture would be for warmer days 

then on the single hot day each summer a knotted handkerchief might replace the flat cap 

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15 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

In this one the chap using the capstan is wearing a hard peaked cap. but others are in suits, overalls or everyday cloths

 

I have only watched the opening frame of that so far (on a mobile connection - I will watch it when I can get some proper data! 

 

The guy putting the rope around the capstan's look is possibly what first came to my mind and might be the way forward for what I need 

15 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

Well there are a few workers in this video

 

Thanks I will have a proper look when I am not on mobile data 

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14 hours ago, Jennifer McM said:

Thanks Jennifer. I do have a copy of that book. It is a really interesting book for those looking for detail on the traditional clothing worn by the boating families back in the heydays of carrying but, from memory, does not cover the more recent attire from the period I am looking at, and that is probably because the attire is really not specific to boats in any way, it is the standard attire that any manual worker might wear going about his daily routine 

14 hours ago, haggis said:

More recently but still in BW days the ground workers were issued with sweat shirts, trousers and I think polo shirts. Different region's had different colours and Jim Stirling who at that time was the CEO in Scotland nabbed navy blue for his workers. I gather that some areas of down south were a bit jealous 😉. I actually still have a few BW Scotland sweat shirts which I used to wear when boating down south. 

No, I never worked for BW 😊

haggis 

What decade was this please? 

  • Greenie 1

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12 hours ago, David Mack said:

When the Waterways Trust ran the Rochdale Canal the local chap on the ground wore a crisp white shirt ironed within an inch of its life, a black tie, an army-style ribbed pullover in black complete with epaulets, black trousers with razor sharp creases and black boots polished so you could see your face in them. No idea if it was an official uniform, but I assume he was ex military.

That sounds very smart, as you say it does sound ex-military too 

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11 hours ago, Derek R. said:

 

 

Couple of chaps on the buses stood out from the rest during the seventies (both long service men), an Inspector whose trouser crease you could shave with, and a Conductor five foot 'not much' likewise - the "Star of India" - Roy Flanders, always known as 'Poppy' for obvious reasons. Served in India, and full of tales of derring do from his days out there.

.................and that is, in a nutshell my quandary

 

That old chestnut of crew wearing "traditional attire" when "On Parade" has raised it's head. 

 

Now, I have to say that there is nothing I love more at festivals than seeing folks steering well turned out boats when they have at least given a nod to tradition with their attire, whether it is a collarless shirt and waistcoat, a flat cap or trilby, even a neckerchief can add a bit of something. It isn't always practical for the ladies to wear a long skirt and frilly blouse but if they do it can look good. While I have no problem with people wearing whatever they feel comfortable in when you later look back at photos it is those whose attire does not jar with the boat that have the best atmosphere about them. 

 

The problem we have with Python is that the boatwoman's bonnet and pinny look would look as "wrong" as a dayglo pink sweatshirt would. Being an 1980's maintenance craft (based on a design that didn't really change much from the 50's to the late 80's ) to try and find a correct style of attire that would look suitably smart for the occasion but without going down the line of the naval style uniform worn by the Waterbus crew is a fine line but you have all given me plenty of fuel for thought thanks. 

 

....and just how did The Donkey Jacket become a style icon? Let's hope for some nice warm sunshine for the festivals this year because donkey jackets appear to have a value! 

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No idea what this chap thinks he is playing at (!), but at least a nod to my more usual parading style of flamingo shirts and/or brightly striped jackets!

(And looking back at this, I'm so glad we swapped to a much less smoky engine, although if you are aiming for genuine 1960s/1970s BWB work boat that all of smoke is probably more authentic than what we now have)

DSCF8012.JPG

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2 hours ago, cheshire~rose said:

 

Wow - how smart does he look!

 

 

Apparently Water Rambler was a luxury Waterbus which was commissioned for holidays, with the passengers  travelling during the day, and staying in Hotels overnight.

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I don't know if many boatmen would have worn Donkey jackets, but I was issued with one in 1968 whilst working for Enfield Borough Council as was. Still got it!

It has no lining (never had one), and with shoulder, cuffs and lower under arm with leather reinforcement (not pvc). This was a jacket as issued to drivers, and the lower under arm was prone to more wear as it came into contact with the steering wheel when turning. It's worn quite thin, and is not particularly warm. The right hand pocket git ripped, and I sewed it up with a sail making stitch over forty years ago - and is still good!! Been hanging in the shed for most of that time, and pretty mildewy. You might see its resident spider if you look close . . .

 

Sold through Arthur Miller, 175 Bermondset Road, London S.E.1.

 

Why Donkey? Used for 'Donkey work' general labouring, and a bit tougher than something from the jumble sale jacket. They were popular amongst dockers, miners and building site workers.

 

4jfkl.jpg  2v9t15s.jpg  2cyqsyr.jpg

 

Look away now . . . .

 

oihbv6.jpg

 

 

Edited by Derek R.

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Northern canals of 58/72 had no "official issued clothing some boots on the towpath wore B&B overalls ,or boiler suit, most wore what have been regarded as the std manual work ware .ISTR that branches of Army Navy stores in towns the cut passed through had sales of "Seconds "in clothing line summer/winter buttons missing needing a bit of stitching ( How the working boatman would have welcomed the Charity shops ) There used to be company's that collected & bundled "Rags" from rag& bone operatives a couple would let you sort through before shredding,  often a good jacket pair of trousers could be found a good wash & OK for a few months Some got footwear at agri outlets or government surplus stores I used to get " Clogs"made a bit more expensive but always found easier to get comfy in than & "pre run in leather boots "Donkey jacket from mid 60 on with trilby or flat cap tried beret but didn't keep the rain of my face  as the others did the limiting factor was cost rather than fashion & the fact that not all outlets would sell to you

Edited by X Alan W

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Cheshire rose you could if you are not aversed to men's clothing wear trousers of type that suits,shirt with collar & a gents waist coat  this was my wife boating attire on suitable warmer days

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I can only agree with Alan on this one, just ordinary working clothing as worn by many. I don’t recall any of the BW folk I met in the 60s having anything other than this kind of stuff. I’m not sure where the red neckerchief came from, though it seems to be de rigeur among those found on traditional craft. It’s probably me, I’ve never been one for dressing up, or down, come to think of it....

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1 hour ago, dave moore said:

I’m not sure where the red neckerchief came from, though it seems to be de rigeur among those found on traditional craft.


I'd say it is pretty unusual unless you are a "Friend of <something>" or some other trust maybe.  (I believe fr President and Kildare it may now be obligatory,(or at least some things like the caps are obligatory?).

 

I always feel a bit sorry for Richard Parry when he is told he has to don one, (particularly if he also has to don a bright red CRT inflating life jacket!).

I am happy to stand corrected, but I see very little wearing old red neckerchiefs by those of us who have our own historic boats.  However if we are doing say "Village at War" we will make some effort to look vaguely WW2 boatman, (even if both boats carry liveries from the 1960s!.....).

Edited by alan_fincher

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When I worked for the Board as it was then in the mid to late 1980's on the old Manchester section we were issued with quite a lot of gear. We had steel toe cap walking boots with a natty blue stripe up the back. Every year you could pick two items from a choice of boiler suit, jacket and trousers and bib and brace. All these were in blue a shade darker than the colour on the boats, plant and vehicles. The bib and brace had the BWB wavy logo sewn on the front. If I remember correctly the other stuff had WATERWAYS in white capitals on the back. Every two years you could have a donkey jacket again with WATERWAYS on the back. We also had bright orange waterproofs which quickly became filthy and although waterproof they didn't breathe so you just got wet from the inside out. One year we were given a nice dark blue holdall/shoulder bag in a plastic type material to keep stuff in. This also had the company logo on it. I don't think anyone ever used it. I've still got mine, it must be quite a rare item now. I also still have a few sets of the bib and brace. A couple of these are unworn and still in the bag they came in. Donald the old foreman at Marsden gave me a rather nice BWB enamel cap badge which I still have.

I can't say much about other areas but Wigan area lads always wore the company gear at work. It was issued to everyone from foremen down. Hope this is some help to cheshire rose.

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3 hours ago, dave moore said:

I can only agree with Alan on this one, just ordinary working clothing as worn by many. I don’t recall any of the BW folk I met in the 60s having anything other than this kind of stuff. I’m not sure where the red neckerchief came from, though it seems to be de rigeur among those found on traditional craft. It’s probably me, I’ve never been one for dressing up, or down, come to think of it....

Racking the old grey matter I can't remember any regularly employed boater weaning a red or other coloured "hankie" around their neck, silk or other upmarket materiel scarf + C Atkins Snr's quip "I'll have to polish me brass " he was refering to the front collar stud I have spoke with a few folk on the end of the working boat era  they cannot get their heads around the lack of disposable income & were gobsmacked that some  shops  would not serve us

Edited by X Alan W

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I think exactly what era we are talking about is very relevant.

I would say 1960s probably little gear was issued to people working on maintenance, and by my own observations this continued for much of the 1970s.

Moving into the 1980s and beyond, it probably became far more commonplace.

I don't think this is unique to British Waterways.  I'm fairly sure if you studied railway maintenance workers, road workers, dustmen, and similar, much the same would apply.  Nowadays it is the norm that people being employed in those roles will be given (hopefully!) suitable over-clothing.  Back in the 1950s, 1960s and probably most of the 1970s, I think it would have been far less the norm.

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46 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:


I don't think this is unique to British Waterways.  I'm fairly sure if you studied railway maintenance workers, road workers, dustmen, and similar, much the same would apply.  Nowadays it is the norm that people being employed in those roles will be given (hopefully!) suitable over-clothing.  Back in the 1950s, 1960s and probably most of the 1970s, I think it would have been far less the norm.

After the 1974 Health & Safety At Work Act, the various regulations which followed under it require employers to make available suitable protective clothing/equipment for their employees. I think this has contributed to the provision of overalls and the like as well as the more obvious protective gear such as steel toecap boots and hard hats. 

And the desire of organisations to present a corporate image will also have contributed.

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7 hours ago, dave moore said:

I can only agree with Alan on this one, just ordinary working clothing as worn by many. I don’t recall any of the BW folk I met in the 60s having anything other than this kind of stuff. I’m not sure where the red neckerchief came from, though it seems to be de rigeur among those found on traditional craft. It’s probably me, I’ve never been one for dressing up, or down, come to think of it....

This is true, although a natty waistcoat has become a tradition at banters it is not really like "dressing up" I don't mind going to town for a proper fancy dress event but for a festival you need to be safe and comfortable for the duration of the day

5 hours ago, alan_fincher said:


I'd say it is pretty unusual unless you are a "Friend of <something>" or some other trust maybe.  (I believe fr President and Kildare it may now be obligatory,(or at least some things like the caps are obligatory?).

 

I always feel a bit sorry for Richard Parry when he is told he has to don one, (particularly if he also has to don a bright red CRT inflating life jacket!).

I am happy to stand corrected, but I see very little wearing old red neckerchiefs by those of us who have our own historic boats.  However if we are doing say "Village at War" we will make some effort to look vaguely WW2 boatman, (even if both boats carry liveries from the 1960s!.....).

Agreed, we have had people come to volunteer with us simply because they refuse to dress up to volunteer as a "friend of something"

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3 hours ago, Steve Corbett said:

When I worked for the Board as it was then in the mid to late 1980's on the old Manchester section we were issued with quite a lot of gear. We had steel toe cap walking boots with a natty blue stripe up the back. Every year you could pick two items from a choice of boiler suit, jacket and trousers and bib and brace. All these were in blue a shade darker than the colour on the boats, plant and vehicles. The bib and brace had the BWB wavy logo sewn on the front. If I remember correctly the other stuff had WATERWAYS in white capitals on the back. Every two years you could have a donkey jacket again with WATERWAYS on the back. We also had bright orange waterproofs which quickly became filthy and although waterproof they didn't breathe so you just got wet from the inside out. One year we were given a nice dark blue holdall/shoulder bag in a plastic type material to keep stuff in. This also had the company logo on it. I don't think anyone ever used it. I've still got mine, it must be quite a rare item now. I also still have a few sets of the bib and brace. A couple of these are unworn and still in the bag they came in. Donald the old foreman at Marsden gave me a rather nice BWB enamel cap badge which I still have.

I can't say much about other areas but Wigan area lads always wore the company gear at work. It was issued to everyone from foremen down. Hope this is some help to cheshire rose.

Steve, this is fantastic and just what I was hoping to find information about. I can'y believe you still have some of the gear! Hang onto that! Do you have any photos of the gear you have that you are willing to share with us? Is the logo that was on the front this one:

 

britishwaterwaysoldcirclelogo_1.jpg

and roughly how big would that have been?

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If it's anything like the boiler suit I have from Thames Water, it's two inches in diameter. A vinyl of some sort impregnated into the cotton.

 

rqvurc.jpg

 

That's on the left breast pocket.

Edited by Derek R.

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No, this is the old Transport logo from before 1963. I've just done a Google search and the BWB logo is notably absent. All I can find is the "Bridge behind the Reeds" logo that came in in 1991 the CRT Swan logo and the new CRT logo. I'll have a root in the shed and see if I can find the old BWB stuff and take a few pictures. In the meantime, here is a picture of me and a mate (me in the white shirt) on Bantam tug 69 with Lumb Lane  bridge in the background about 1985/86. We are both wearing standard issue Bib and Brace. I think the Bantam is now displayed in a garden in Wigan. The tug is in the BWB shade of pale blue.

Waterways 1980s Bantam 69.jpg

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8 minutes ago, Steve Corbett said:

No, this is the old Transport logo from before 1963. I've just done a Google search and the BWB logo is notably absent. All I can find is the "Bridge behind the Reeds" logo that came in in 1991 the CRT Swan logo and the new CRT logo. I'll have a root in the shed and see if I can find the old BWB stuff and take a few pictures. In the meantime, here is a picture of me and a mate (me in the white shirt) on Bantam tug 69 with Lumb Lane  bridge in the background about 1985/86. We are both wearing standard issue Bib and Brace. I think the Bantam is now displayed in a garden in Wigan. The tug is in the BWB shade of pale blue.

Waterways 1980s Bantam 69.jpg

Ah! Yes I know the one you mean, it is like two white wiggles 

 

I thought when I posted the yellow one it was earlier. There is a sign somewhere with that old logo on. I think I have a photo "somewhere" but whether I would ever find it.... 

 

I bet Alan Fincher has a picture with it in though! 

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It's on a boat, rarther than a uniform, but I would say this is probably the latest BW logo in the mid 1980s.

Sickle breaking ice in Berkhamsted in 1985, (photo Roger Allsop).

Not that the crew are in any kind of uniform even here.  It's Ian Tyler (who now owns "Holland") at the tiller of Sickle.

Sickle_1985_001.jpg

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Yes. That's it. The boat name on a red and white plate and the logo was a stick on vinyl type thing. The workwear logo was just the same. The chap in Sickle's hold seems to be wearing the company orange waterproof. The number on the fore end will be the plant number.  In Waterways eyes boats were just another piece of plant like an excavator or dumper truck. Wigan yard used to put a builders plate on everything they made, lockgates and boats. Oval like a railway builders plate. I've got the one off my last tug, Aspull built at Wigan in 1985.

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2 hours ago, Steve Corbett said:

No, this is the old Transport logo from before 1963.

 

 

I had some fun with logos in this thread:

 

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10 hours ago, Steve Corbett said:

The number on the fore end will be the plant number.  In Waterways eyes boats were just another piece of plant like an excavator or dumper truck.

Yes, I  have always heard it called an "asset number" until now.

 

"Sickle" still carries these numbers, but not currently picked out in paint, as in that picture.

 

One of the ongoing debates is whether to leave them intact, because they all form part of the history, (though thnkfully that hadn't been done with the cabin!), or to grind them off, as they are not appropriate to restoration to a 1960s look.

 

We hanker after a repaint to a more complex exhibtion livery that "Sickle" was given in the late 1950s, but that had her name painted on the bow.  This might be scuppered by the assett number, as it is applied as raised weld.

 

The alloy name plates in this picture didn't make it as far as our ownership, but I do have her BW index number plates, although when the cabin was sprayed in all over grey before she was dumped in Saweley Maina car park, these were also spyayed over in grey.  I'm no sire what logo (if any) they have on them - a later one, I would guess. (I wonder where I put them!).

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