Fossdyke Traffics

A Broader Outlook: NarrowBoat, Spring 2024

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones explores several images illustrating boats and cargoes traversing the Fossdyke Navigation

The Fossdyke is a rural route in Lincolnshire with little in the way of local industry. During the working era of the waterways, it primarily served as an 11-mile conduit between the navigable River Trent and Lincoln. Its junction to the River Witham in Lincoln connected traffic to the Horncastle Navigation, the Sleaford Navigation, the Lincolnshire Fenland country and the port of Boston. Most of the traffic was merely passing through, although there was some local trade in the form of market boats which usually operated only on a Friday. One of these was owned by a farmer at Torksey and also carried passengers in the late 19th century. The maximum size of vessel that could use the navigation was 78ft long and 15ft 2in wide on a 5ft draught. Old-established carriers Furley & Co Ltd and rivals the Lincoln & Hull Water Transport Co Ltd were both still engaged in traffic to Lincoln until 1971. Newly built by Hepworth’s of Paull in October 1959 as a purpose-built steel motor…

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