Boating through Rickmansworth

Working the Waterways: NarrowBoat, Winter 2015

Christopher M Jones

Chris M. Jones studies photos of a British Waterways pair on the Grand Union in around 1960

The first in this sequence shows motor Gemini with Alf Best at the tiller, leaving Batchworth or ‘Ricky’ Lock 81 northbound with a full load. The boat was built as an iron-composite motor by Harland & Wolff for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company in 1935, as one of its Small Woolwich ‘Star Class’ boats. The wooden ground paddle on the towpath side shows great wear, with very deep grooves worn into the woodwork that has been overpainted, perhaps many times over since the days of regular horse-boating. Both ground paddles have several different initials crudely marked on the white top portions in dark paint. Perhaps readers might know the reason for this? The lock house behind has been built in typical Grand Junction-style. The curious flat-roofed extension that projects out towards the lock is a later addition. The lock house was demolished, probably in the mid1960s, as was the building behind. The buildings in the distance, on the other side of Church Street (now London Roa …

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