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Barlow's Joeys

Famous Fleets: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2013

Christopher R. Jones

Christopher M. Jones and Christopher R. Jones look at an important but often neglected type of narrowboat operation

The Barlow name is synonymous with the highly decorated long-distance carrying craft of the south Midland canals. Less well known are the two fleets of Joey boats (also known as box cabin boats) operated by S.E. Barlow of Glascote, and both Samuel Barlow (Tamworth) Ltd of Tamworth, and its successor, the Samuel Barlow Coal Company Ltd. Few photographs survive, or were ever taken, of these boats, but there is enough information to recreate their liveries. Their cabins did not display any flowers or landscapes like their long-distance brethren, and were more in keeping with the decorative style of the Birmingham Canal Navigations. Nevertheless they were colourful. This link between day boat traffic and Barlow’s is long. It seems that Samuel Barlow of Bedworth, the originator of the carrying fleet, may well have been a day-boat operator on the Coventry Canal and BCN before moving into longer distance work. The Barlow Limited fleet was built up after the incorporation of the compan…

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