Inspection Boats Part 2

Working the Waterways: NarrowBoat, Winter 2018

Cath Turpin

Part two of Cath Turpin’s exploration of the variety of craft once used to survey the condition of the inland waterways

In the Autumn 2018 issue of NB, we began our study of the boats specifically built, or specially adapted, to assess the state of the Shropshire Union, Grand Union, Staffs & Worcs canals, and River Weaver. As we’ll see, though, inspection boats were employed on many other waterways, and, in some cases, continued their work until comparatively recently.Leeds & Liverpool Canal There were a number of inspection boats which served the Leeds & Liverpool Canal from the middle of the 19th century. Victoria was based in Lancashire and is believed to have been bought second-hand for £125 in November 1898. It was primarily used as an engineers’ survey boat. Alexandra was a steam-powered launch with riveted iron plates on angle frames. It is thought to have been built c1882 at a shipyard on the Humber Estuary. Pictured at the top of Bingley locks in about 1899, Earl Bateman, the canal engineer for the Blackburn-to-Leeds section of the L&L, bought Alexandra to …

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