bluebelle2Bluebelle

Bluebelle is a classic ‘Do-It-Yourself’ canal cruiser. Built in the 1960’s from ex army bridging pontoons she was fitted out for a family of four.

Many people got onto the water for the first time in a number of cheap ways - pontoon conversions, ex ship life boats and smaller fibre glass and plywood cruisers. Bluebelle travelled most of the Midlands narrow canals `1from her base on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

She has visited Ellesmere Port twice, once in the 1970’s and in 2002 when her owners boated to the Museum to deliver her for preservation, where she was craned into the top floor of the Island Warehouse to go on display.

cuddington

Cuddington

Cuddington is the largest boat in the museum's collection at 102 feet long. She is a 'Weaver Packet' and was built by Yarwoods of Northwich in 1948 for ICI. She carried up to 300 tons of chemical products, like soda ash, from the ICI works at Winnington, near Northwich, down the rivers Weaver and Mersey to Liverpool.

She carried on working until the 1970s and came to the Boat Museum in 1979.

Museum staff and volunteers have overhauled her in recent years and she will be travelling to the Northwich On Water Festival at the Anderton Lift on May 6th 2001.

Mendip mendipbottoms

Mendip is a motor narrowboat of composite construction. This means that she has wooden bottoms and steel sides.

Here she is shown in the colours of the Anderton Carrying Company for whom she worked in later years. She is on the museum's dry dock, having some of her bottom planks replaced.

Mendip was built by Yarwoods of Northwich in 1948. She was built for the Fellows, Morton and Clayton Carrying Company but went to work almost immediately for the newly nationalised waterways fleet. She spent many years carrying chocolate crumb for Cadburys to Bournville. Her captain, Charlie Atkins, became known as 'Chocolate Charlie'.

marburyMarbury

Marbury is an ice boat. She is made of wood but the metal sheathing on her hull protects her from the ice. She was used to break the ice on the canal when it became frozen. A team of horses would pull her along whilst several canal workers stood on her deck, held onto the bar, and rocked her back and forth. All this motion helped to break up the ice.

The Shropshire Union Canal Society found her abandoned on the Prees Branch of the Llangollen Canal in 1972. Their members rescued her before she was given to the Boat 

Starvationer mine boatstarv1


These boats were used in the coal mines at Worsley. They were used on 46 miles of underground canals within the mines from 1760. They were also used to transport coal to Manchester along the Bridgewater Canal. The last of them was used for maintenance in 1969.

They were designed to carry three different loads, 2 tons, 8 tons or 10 tons. The one on display in the Island Warehouse was one of the smallest, carrying two tons. The boats became known as starvationers because of the way that the knees (rib-like timbers) protruded.

boxboat337Box Boat 337

A box boat is a form of narrowboat which has no cabin. As the name suggests it carries its cargo in boxes which fit into the hold. The boats were used mainly for carrying coal from the Lancashire Collieries to the factories that needed it for fuel.

Box boats were designed so that two could fit into the locks on the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal. They date back to the eighteenth century and are probably the first type of container transport.

 

Georgegeorge2

The 'George' is a Leeds & Liverpool Canal short boat. She is only 62 feet long and was designed to work between Wigan and Leeds where the locks were also only 62 feet long.

George was built in 1910 for the Wigan Coal and Iron Company for use as a flyboat. These boats were designed to be towed by either a horse or steam tug.

Until 1950 George carried coal, sand and coke for the Wigan Coal and Iron Company. Afterwards she carried coal for the National Coal Board on the Bridgewater Canal.

02boat02Speedwell

Speedwell was built in 1925 and is an example of the wooden wide boats used in Southern England. Speedwell worked for William Stevens of Guildford on the River Thames and the River Wey. Her principal traffic was carrying grain from docks in London to mills on the Wey. She carried grain to Cox's mill at Weybridge until 1969. We believe that she was built at the Dapdune Yard at Harmsworth.

Speedwell is an unpowered barge with oak frames, oak planking and pitch pine decks. She is of carvel construction.

 

Georgegeorge2

The 'George' is a Leeds & Liverpool Canal short boat. She is only 62 feet long and was designed to work between Wigan and Leeds where the locks were also only 62 feet long.

George was built in 1910 for the Wigan Coal and Iron Company for use as a flyboat. These boats were designed to be towed by either a horse or steam tug.

Until 1950 George carried coal, sand and coke for the Wigan Coal and Iron Company. Afterwards she carried coal for the National Coal Board on the Bridgewater Canal.

02boat02Speedwell

Speedwell was built in 1925 and is an example of the wooden wide boats used in Southern England. Speedwell worked for William Stevens of Guildford on the River Thames and the River Wey. Her principal traffic was carrying grain from docks in London to mills on the Wey. She carried grain to Cox's mill at Weybridge until 1969. We believe that she was built at the Dapdune Yard at Harmsworth. Speedwell is an unpowered barge with oak frames, oak planking and pitch pine decks. She is of carvel construction.