Acquiring A Carrier Part 2

From the Archives: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2022

Joseph Boughey

Joseph Boughey continues his study of the fleet bought by BW from canal-carrier John Parke & Son in the early 1960s

In the Summer issue of NB we followed the sale of John Parke & Son’s fleet of “four powered boats, 17 dumb craft and three tugs” to British Waterways Northern Division in 1962. In this article, we follow the fortunes of the boats over the following years, using one of 1,600 documents in the British Waterways files at the National Waterways Archive. On 16th August 1963, there was a stark memorandum from Arnold Allen, the new BWB General Manager, to Divisional Waterways Manager Christopher Marsh stating, “I gather that the Northern gas fleet which looked as if it was going to do quite reasonably well in a small way is proving very disappointing at the present”. Marsh replied a week later saying that the “financial results of the past have been very disappointing, and the picture for the future of the fleet is very bleak”. During the major freeze early in 1963, a new loading point was built in Litherland for delivery by road, so as to reduce…

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