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Re-homing boats After almost a century these old boats are now facing an uncertain future.

The National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port on Merseyside, have been fortunate enough to have had a number of old historic boats given to them. However, they are now looking to find new homes for some of their collection, including those shown here.

Speedwell

What is evident, with all of these old boats, is that they were built to last. Each cracked plank holds a story, one that unfortunately we may never hear as much of the history of many is now lost.

Chiltern was a 70ft craft built-in 1946 by the famous boat builder Fellows, Morton & Clayton of Uxbridge. Weighing 25 tons, she was originally powered by a 9hp Bolinder engine.

It's not known when the boat was cut in half, but the Canal and River Trust are hoping that a new owner will make the most of what's left.

Chiltern's stern

The Trust is not looking to make money from the sale of these old boats. They are looking for groups or organisations who will restore and maintain these unique boats from our industrial past.

Aires

At just over 71ft in length, Aires is one of the biggest boats on offer. Built-in 1935 by the Walker Brothers of Rickmansworth, Aires was given the fleet number 14 and was one of the Star class of boats operated by the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company.

Ice breaker

One of the more unusual boats on offer is this ice breaker, something we wouldn't associate with the waterways of today. But when the movement of goods by water was vital, there was a need for sturdy little boats like this to keep the canals open in winter. This example is made of iron plate, now etched with rust after many years of service.

Time running out for some of these wooden hulls

For some, it may already be too late, but with interest already being expressed by a number of organisations, some of these examples of our canal history may well yet be restored.

It is something of a cliché to say, 'if only these walls could talk' but when you see the result of decades of use and hard work reflected in these wooden hulls, it's hard not to wonder what tales these old boats could tell!

Created By
Phil Pickin
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Credits:

© Phil Pickin LRPS