Grand Union Traffic in Colour

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Summer 2021

We look at a selection of photos taken in the early 1960s by Brian Stroud showing commercial narrowboats on the Grand Union Canal

A close-up view of Bargus and Betelgeuse was taken at the next lock up at Braunston. Judging from the condition of the paintwork, with hardly a scratch to be seen, they must have been on their first or second trip off the dock. The roses and castles decorations were actually transfers based on the distinctive paintwork of Frank Jones of Leighton Buzzard, only without the flair and subtlety of his own hand. The boats are carrying small coal used for industrial purposes, most likely at one of the paper mills operated by John Dickinson & Co Ltd in Hertfordshire.

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