The Boats -
156. NAME: Nuneaton. GAUGE No. AND DATE: 12563-26/08/1936.
HEALTH REGISTRATION AND DATE:
BUILT BY: W. J. Yarwood No.555. TYPE:
'F' Town Class. CONSTRUCTION: All steel. KNOWN AS: Large
Northwich. ENGINE: National 2DM-18hp No.46641 - G'BOX No.
DELIVERED: 08/08/1936. INTENDED BUTTY:
in the mid-1930's as part of the massive expansion programme of the
Grand Union Canal Carrying Company (G.U.C.C.Co.) -
186 pairs were built, designed to carry 72 tons of cargo per pair on a
draught of 4ft 3ins at a speed of 6 miles per hour.
|But the canals
were never able to take boats with that load, typically 50-55 tons were
commissioned Nuneaton was fully employed carrying many
different loads mainly between London Ports and the Midlands, with
backloads of coal from the Coventry coalfields.
In 1948 a large part of the canal system came under government control
- the British Transport Commission (Docks & Inland Waterways
Executive). Nuneaton now became part of the nationalised narrowboat
fleet operated by the B.T.C.(D.& I.W.E.), though the daily routine
of boating remained the same. It passed to British Waterways (B.T.C.
(B.T.W) in October 1953, and continued to carry goods much as it had
done with G.U.C.C.Co. Ltd.
During this period Nuneaton had its original steel cabin
removed, and replaced with a wooden cabin similar to those on the Harland
& Wolff boats; this was done to several of the boats due to
heating and condensation problems.
In about 1960 Nuneaton's National engine was removed and
replaced with a Petter PD2 air cooled engine.
after the formation of British Waterways Board in 1963 the
nationalised carrying fleet was disbanded. Many boats' carrying careers
ended, but Nuneaton was hired along with about 67 other
narrowboats to the newly formed Willow Wren Canal Transport
Services Ltd. Due to the good maintenance routine and hull
renovation carried out by B.T.W. some of these boats were able to
continue working until 1970.
Nuneaton was returned to B.W.B.
in 1970 after 34 years of continuous work, being one of the last
narrowboats employed in long distance canal carrying. But as B.W.B. had
no work available for Nuneaton she was stored, along with several other
boats returned at the same time, on the Wendover Arm of the
Grand Union Canal. They remained here for about 18 months during which
time 'enthusiasts' scavenged anything of interest, and engine parts
were stolen to keep other boats running.
Sold to the Narrow Boat Trust, restoration of the boat was put in hand,
using mostly volunteer labour. Thirty years later Nuneaton is still
working, and maintenance, as with all other working boats, is ongoing.
at the helm of Nuneaton, Willow Wren days, Grand Union Canal 1966.
In the winter
2000/1 the temporary wooden cabin was replaced with a steel one in the
style of the original, and a number of other repairs were made to the
hull and fittings.
The Petter engine was replaced with a Lister HRW2 in
2001, although The Trust still has an aspiration to return at some
stage to a National-type engine, similar to that originally fitted.
& Alperton, steered by George Wain, Braunston
Locks, 22nd May 1966
(with the kind permission of Mike Webb)
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Boat Trust is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Cardiff
under number 1724536
Office of the Narrow Boat Trust is at:
23 Redway Drive, Twickenham, Middlesex TW2 7NT
The Narrow Boat
Trust is a charity registered in England under number: 288243