Ancient & Modern

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Summer 2013

David Blagrove

David Blagrove studies three slides taken by Mike Stone in 1961 that show both ‘traditional’ and ‘improved’ narrowboats

The immaculate ‘traditional’ pair of Samuel Barlow boats Ian and Iona, as crewed by the Whitlock family, is tied alongside the coal wharf at Aylesbury Basin. The coal traffic to Aylesbury was normally handled by Willow Wren, but presumably Barlows were doing this on a sub-contract basis. This sometimes happened in summer when the coal trade was slack, and when Willow Wren’s timber trade meant that all available boats were otherwise engaged. Barlows gave up their fleet the following winter, the boats and their contracts being advertised for £5,000. The business was bought by Michael Streat of Blue Line Boats in January 1962. Aylesbury Basin had been rescued from semi-dereliction in 1958 by Ran Meinertzhagen, who set up a boat brokerage business as well as hiring boats. He worked from Harvey Taylor’s old office building and was instrumental in persuading adjoining businesses to use the canal. Coal was delivered to the wharf in the side b …

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