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Narrowboats at Lincoln

Historical Profiles: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2019

Christopher M. Jones

Chris M. Jones studies three images of Lincoln from the days when commercial narrowboats traded there

Lincoln is usually associated with the large sailing and, later large motor-powered, vessels that plied the Fossdyke and River Witham rather than narrowboats, but in fact there were three other types of craft working in the city and wider area. The biggest were keels, and then there were Trent craft, built to operate on the upper reaches of that river and along the Fossdyke and into the Lincolnshire wolds and Fenland country. Both of these were wide-beam vessels. There were also narrowboats, mainly ‘cuckoo’ boats visiting from the Chesterfield Canal. The cuckoo-boats were largely owned and operated by boatmen who lived at various towns and villages along the Chesterfield Canal. They were not used as dwellings like the narrowboats of the Midlands canals, although they did have an aft and fore cabin in which the boaters could stay overnight on longer trips. The Chesterfield Canal entered the tidal Trent at West Stockwith, and boats regularly traded to Gainsborough and occas…

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