Refuelling at Ricky

Preserving the Past: NarrowBoat, Summer 2022

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones studies a magic lantern slide of Batchworth Lock at Rickmansworth

From October 1890, Fellows, Morton & Clayton Ltd was contracted to provide an express service for the Hertfordshire paper manufacturer John Dickinson & Son Ltd, between its mills and depot at Paddington. Initially this was done with horse-drawn boats and steamers, then, late in 1897, two steamers and two butties were continually employed on this run working as fly-boats. The two FMC steamers were Princess and Countess, and the butties were Maud and May. Countess was rebuilt from an earlier steamer of the same name by FMC as an iron composite vessel at its Saltley Dock, Birmingham, in June 1897. Its engine dated from 1889 and it is thought that the boiler was built by Charles Burrell & Co Ltd of St Nicholas Works, Thetford, Norfolk. The firm specialised in building traction engines, road locomotives and road rollers. The work cost £500 and Countess was subsequently registered at Birmingham on 1st October 1897. It seems the boat was employed on the Dickinson’s r…

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