Carrying around Cut End

Traditional Techniques: NarrowBoat, Summer 2022

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones studies nine images illustrating boat-handling at Marston Junction

Images of boats negotiating locks and other parts of the cut are usually self explanatory, but some parts of a navigation required special techniques and so need a more detailed study. Luckily this series of photos, taken by Arthur Watts at Whitsun 1953 (24th-25th May), shows a succession of craft passing Marston Junction and gives us a view of how professional boaters negotiated this difficult connection between the Ashby (Moira Cut) and Coventry canals. There are three boats shown, motor boat The Rocket, and butties Jack and Little Marvel, with all three being owned by Samuel Barlow Coal Co Ltd of Birmingham and Braunston Wharf. They were previously owned by owner-boatmen and were absorbed into Barlow’s fleet when they were compelled to sell out after the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co Ltd took over their coal traffic to John Dickinson’s paper mills in Hertfordshire. In 1953 these boats worked together carrying slack from Measham Colliery on the Moira Cut to Hawkesbury p…

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