Raising Monnow

Traditional Techniques: NarrowBoat, Winter 2014

Laurence Hogg

Laurence Hogg recalls raising the last Clayton boat sunk at Oldbury

The raising of Monnow (which, at that time, was thought to be Kennet or Ganges) took place in July 1978 just before the Inland Waterways Association’s Titford Pools national rally. First seen on my honeymoon cruise in 1973, the boat had remained undisturbed on the offside just below Titford bottom lock for years. I approached Thomas Clayton’s, then still trading with road vehicles, to ask if I could buy the wreck. It turned out that they were not aware they had a boat left and didn’t object to it being salvaged. So, a group of us set off one sunny Saturday to raise her. We hired Cygnus, an ex Grand Union butty, from Caggy Stevens and with a 3in pump started to raise the boat. The pump soon clogged up; the boat had sunk due to a fire in the back cabin when there was a full load of tar on board. The fire had effectively burnt the stern off, and the load had never been recovered by Clayton’s. The pump kept failing; the mix of tar, silt and debris was just too mu…

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