Wide Boats on the Grand Junction

A Broader Outlook: NarrowBoat, Summer 2022

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones looks at a series of images that detail the traffics carried in these distinctive craft

This 1934 image provides a rare pre-war colour view of wide boats on the Paddington Branch of the Grand Union Canal. The general view is from Old Oak Lane Bridge looking north-west towards Willesden Power Station in the far distance. In the middle distance to the left on the towpath side is a sillimanite works, and in the foreground is Atlas Wharf where the two nearest wide boats are unloading, possibly sand for a brass foundry facing onto the towpath. The building on the right, known as the Buick Works, was owned by Lendrum & Hartman Ltd, which was an importer of Buick and Cadillac cars through London docks, and acted as a maintenance and service depot. The loaded boat moored there is unloading at Old Oak Wharf. Interestingly, the nearest boat has a family living aboard; this was in decline during the 1930s as families started to move into homes ashore. This image was made using the Vivex three-colour gravure system. …

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