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William & Samuel Foster

Famous Fleets: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2020

Christopher M Jones

Chris M Jones studies a Tipton-based canal-carrying firm that traded between London and Ellesmere Port

The firm of William & Samuel Foster was founded by boatman William Foster Senior by the early 1850s. During the 19th century he was just one of several men who had started as owner-boatmen before going on to begin substantial canal-carrying businesses. William Senior was born in Tipton in 1811, and with wife Sarah had several daughters and two sons, William Junior born 1840 and Samuel born 1849. When his children were growing up, he became a canal-carrier living at Dudley Road, Tipton. The first record of a boat in his ownership dates from April 1833, but it’s not until May 1858 that a steady succession of craft appear in the surviving records owned by William Foster of Tipton. It could be the latter date was William Senior’s death and his son William Junior took over the business. In March 1861, aged 22, William Junior was working as a hay and corn dealer at Swan Village, between Sedgley and Tipton, and married his bride Maria. William’s younger brother Samuel a…

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