Inspection Boats Part 1

Working the Waterways: NarrowBoat, Autumn 2018

Cath Turpin

Part One of Cath Turpin's exploration of the variety of craft once used to survey the condition of the inland waterways.

After the inland waterways in England and Wales were developed, they needed to be properly maintained and any faults identified. The most convenient way of doing this was by boat and the various canal companies either built dedicated inspection craft or adapted other vessels for this use. A great variety of boats were employed, some of which were furnished to a high degree of comfort, while others were very basic. Inspections were often carried out by directors or committees of the canal company that had been set up for the purpose. In later years, after the nationalisation of the inland waterways in 1948, inspections and maintenance were organised on a regional/divisional basis. New multi-purpose boats were built and the former Grand Union Canal Company inspection boat Kingfisher was used nationally. Shropshire Union Canal As early as February 1779, the committee of the Chester Canal (which ran from Chester to Nantwich and opened throughout that year) ordered that a Mr Richard Johns…

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