Traffic at Thorne

A Broader Outlook: NarrowBoat, Winter 2020

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones studies three images showing keels at Thorne


All over the canal system there are small towns and villages synonymous with boat-building and the carrying trade. Braunston in Northamptonshire and Banbury in Oxfordshire are just two examples in the South Midlands. In Yorkshire one of the most important was Thorne on the Stainforth & Keadby Canal. Two shipbuilders were based in the town, the most wellknown of which was the extensive yard of Richard Dunston, founded in 1858. Dunston’s constructed vessels as wide as 21ft (to fit the maximum size of Keadby Lock which gave access to the River Trent) and with a capacity of up to 80 tons.

In 1917 Dunston’s concentrated on just building craft from iron and steel, then in 1925 installed its first marine diesel engine. The shipbuilder was situated between Thorne Lock and the canal company’s maintenance yard where lock gates were built.

The other shipbuilder at Thorne was Staniland & Company Ltd, located ab …

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