Famous Fleets: NarrowBoat, Winter 2008

Alan Faulkner

Alan Faulkner looks at a small but significant narrowboat fleet based at Aylesbury

For many years a small, but active, business undertook the majority of the carrying on the 6¼-mile branch of the Grand Union Canal that drops down through 16 locks from Marsworth to Aylesbury, the county town of Buckinghamshire. It was run by Arthur Harvey-Taylor, who had an important trade in the town as a coal merchant and also dealt in sand, ballast and other building materials. The business was based on that of John Landon & Co, which had been founded in the 1880s by Henry & John Landon and had wharves at Paddington Basin and at Aylesbury. The Landons built up a fleet of boats, mostly named after places in the south east of England, such as Blackwall, Erith, Guildford, Purfleet, Richmond and Westminster. Most of these boats were built at the Berkhamsted boatyard run by William Edmund Costin – later W.E. Costin Ltd – with a regular series emerging until Hythe was launched in June 1909; the yard closed down soon after. Harvey-Taylor took over Landon&rsquo…

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Harvey-Taylor  featured image