Passing Through Middlewich

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2021

Two images from the Jack Parkinson Collection show a pair of British Waterways boats at Middlewich in 1964

This is our free-access sample article from the Autumn 2021 NarrowBoat.

<p>Centre stage is the steel motor boat&nbsp;<em>Lindsay</em>, constructed by W.J. Yarwood &amp; Sons Ltd at Northwich. She was built for British Transport Waterways and launched in April 1960, then subsequently registered at Northwich on 19th July. She was one of only two motors built by Yarwood&rsquo;s for British Waterways as part of its Admiral Class fleet, the other being&nbsp;<em>Mountbatten</em>. Two butties named&nbsp;<em>Jellicoe</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Keppel</em>&nbsp;were also built for these motors and all had very distinctive raked fore-ends.</p>Credit: Online Transport Archive

Centre stage is the steel motor boat Lindsay, constructed by W.J. Yarwood & Sons Ltd at Northwich. She was built for British Transport Waterways and launched in April 1960, then subsequently registered at Northwich on 19th July. She was one of only two motors built by Yarwood’s for British Waterways as part of its Admiral Class fleet, the other being Mountbatten. Two butties named Jellicoe and Keppel were also built for these motors and all had very distinctive raked fore-ends.

Online Transport Archive

These two views of the Trent & Mersey Canal at Middlewich are looking due north towards King’s Lock (No 71), which is barely visible in the mist, as is the adjacent white painted King’s Lock pub. Both images show the substantial estate of the Mid-Cheshire Alkali Works towering into the overcast sky owned by ICI (Alkali) Ltd at Brooks Lane. The site was formerly operated by Brunner Mond & Co Ltd, which was a subsidiary of ICI.

<p>The second image taken just seconds later shows&nbsp;<em>Lindsay&rsquo;</em>s butty&nbsp;<em>Crewe</em>. She was also built by Yarwood&rsquo;s, originally for the LMS railway as an open station boat named&nbsp;<em>Raye</em>, completed in December 1938 for railway/ canal transshipment work on the BCN. She was later acquired by British Waterways and converted to a butty at its dock at Stone with a registered living cabin built in October 1955, specifically to work in its North West carrying fleet between Wolverhampton, Weston Point Docks, the Potteries and Manchester.&nbsp;<em>Lindsay</em>&nbsp;&amp;&nbsp;<em>Crewe</em>&nbsp;were operated by Ken Nixon and his family in 1964, which was a momentous year for British Waterways as it decided to give up its narrowboat fleet carrying operations on 6th October, and leased 20 of these boats to Willow Wren Canal Transport Services at &pound;21 per craft. Willow Wren also took over the North West traffics still existing at the time.</p>Credit: Online Transport Archive

The second image taken just seconds later shows Lindsay’s butty Crewe. She was also built by Yarwood’s, originally for the LMS railway as an open station boat named Raye, completed in December 1938 for railway/ canal transshipment work on the BCN. She was later acquired by British Waterways and converted to a butty at its dock at Stone with a registered living cabin built in October 1955, specifically to work in its North West carrying fleet between Wolverhampton, Weston Point Docks, the Potteries and Manchester. Lindsay & Crewe were operated by Ken Nixon and his family in 1964, which was a momentous year for British Waterways as it decided to give up its narrowboat fleet carrying operations on 6th October, and leased 20 of these boats to Willow Wren Canal Transport Services at £21 per craft. Willow Wren also took over the North West traffics still existing at the time.

Online Transport Archive