Ovaltine Boats

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Summer 2015

David Blagrove

David Blagrove looks at photographs of A. Wander Ltd’s Ovaltine boats in 1947

This sequence of three photographs was sent in by Martin Wedlock, whose father took them on the Grand Union Canal in July 1947. The butty is Elizabeth Anne, but the name and registration number of the motor boat cannot be made out. It could be Thomas, as this was paired with Elizabeth Anne at one time, captained, I think, by Ron Withey’s grandfather. The photographs were taken in the pound below ‘Gas Two’ near Berkhamsted as the boats approached Broadwater Lock (No 53). The house beside the lock was demolished in the late 1960s or early 1970s by British Waterways. It looks as if this lock is against the boats and that the boats are two-handed, hence running abreast. Doubtless ‘the missus’ has gone ahead to get the next lock ready, but it is evident that, until a short while before, the boats had a ‘good road’ from Cowroast, since the butty’s block rope is in position, as is the ‘downhill runner’ (the rope that can be seen dra…

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