Ovaltine Epilogue

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2016

Another selection from Patrick Rawlinson’s superb photo collection shows the last working pair of Ovaltine boats. From the 1920s onwards the beverage manufacturer built up its own fleet, but by April 1959, the company’s boats, William and Enid, had carried their last load.

Beverage manufacturer Ovaltine had its British manufacturing plant at Kings Langley, and its own boat fleet was built up by the company from January 1926 (Winter 2007 NB), specifically to carry the bulk of its fuel supplies. The first image was taken at Stoke Bruerne Top Lock and shows the distinctive livery details of Ovaltine boats William and Enid. These craft were the last working pair in the Ovaltine fleet after 1957, and continued carrying until their last load in April 1959 under the command of Charles Carter and his family. Can any readers identify the young boy in the photograph? Motor William (left) was built by W.H. Walker & Brothers of Frogmoor Wharf, Rickmansworth, late in 1929 for Ovaltine. Enid was also built by Walkers but originally as the small Ricky star class butty Ursa for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co. It passed to Ovaltine early in 1941, and was subsequently renamed Enid. Despite the flaking paint and general wear and tear of the wooden working pair, t…

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