Boats of the Lower Grand Junction

Historical Profiles: NarrowBoat, Summer 2023

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones looks at a series of images illustrating boats and traffics on the lower Grand Junction Canal

Lock 100 of the Grand Junction at Brentford, facing onto the navigable River Brent, was rebuilt as a double lock after disastrous flooding. This view of it shows all the different types of boats that plied the lower canal: narrowboats, wide-boats and river barges, including Alfred owned by William Buck of Brentford. Next to it is the wide-boat Water Lily owned by Thomas Turner of Hillingdon. Water Lily dates from the spring of 1888 when owned by Samuel Phipkin of Hillingdon as Phoebe, and was 73ft 2in long and just over 11ft 3in wide. In June 1897 it was sold to Fellows, Morton & Clayton which, in turn, later sold it on to Thomas Turner and, in 1910, it was steered by John Ricks. It was most likely used to carry gravel, bricks, sand and the like as it has no cloths. Thomas Turner started as a liveaboard boatman, then later as an independent boat-owner based at Horton Road, Yiewsley. Over time he built up a fleet of wide- and narrowboats, especially through the 1890s and after the t…

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