British Waterways South Eastern Division

Famous Fleets: NarrowBoat, Winter 2011

Alan Faulkner

Alan Faulkner looks at the creation of one of the biggest fleets of narrowboats ever, following post-war nationalisation

On 1st January 1948 many of the canal companies throughout the country were nationalised to come under the control of the British Transport Commission’s Docks & Inland Waterways Executive. Nationalisation was a major part of the post-war Labour government’s policy to bring many public industries, such as the railways, coal mines, gas and electricity suppliers, and parts of the road haulage industry, under state control. The D&IWE went on to establish British Waterways to operate and control all the inland waterways it had acquired and this was separated out into divisions, one of which was the South Eastern Division based on London. The Grand Union Canal Company was one of those nationalised and the takeover included the Grand Union’s wholly owned subsidiary company – the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co Ltd (Summer 2009 NB), which operated an extensive fleet of narrowboats from a base at Bulls Bridge in Middlesex. These craft traded mainly on the GU, from…

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