British Waterways Boating

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Spring 2018

Another delve into Patrick Rawlinson’s colour photo archive shows British Waterways boats Purton and Capella at work at Buckby on the Grand Union Canal in the 1950s.

Buckby Locks, near Whilton, is a pleasant spot in the summer, but these images show a rather different bleak winter scene. Dreary, wet, dull weather under leaden skies could sometimes last for days, and affected both boaters and canal workers. But it didn’t stop traffic – only heavy frosts and ice could do that. The pair shown here is motor Purton and butty Capella. The former, No 162, was built for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company in August 1936 by W.J. Yarwood & Sons of Northwich, and is an all-steel, large Northwich class which still retains her original riveted steel cabin. Her butty Capella was built over a year earlier in July 1935 by Harland & Wolff of Woolwich, as a steel-composite small Woolwich class.…

To read the full article…

…you need to be a subscriber to NarrowBoat. If you are, you can login here. If not, you can buy a subscription here . If you are having trouble logging in, please contact support at

British Waterways Boating featured image