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Blue Line at Marsworth

Picturing the Past: NarrowBoat, Spring 2019

Two evocative colour images from Jack Parkinson’s collection show canal-carrying on the Grand Union in the mid-‘60s

One of the last canal transport companies to operate on the Grand Union was Blue Line Canal Carriers Ltd. Two of its boats, Ian and Lucy, are seen in these photographs, taken at Marsworth Locks in May 1965 while being operated by Rose and Bill Whitock, with Laura Carter. The first image showing Ian was taken above Lock 39. Despite passing into the Blue Line fleet in 1962, the boat still bears the livery of her previous owner, Samuel Barlow Coal Company Ltd, and would have been due for docking soon. Ian was a product of post-war Britain, being built at Braunston Wharf late in 1948 for Barlows and paid for by the Ministry of Transport. She had a Ruston Hornsby engine valued at £200 in 1955 and was steered throughout the 1960s by Laura Carter. She carried coal, usually for Kearley & Tonge Ltd, jam manufacturers at Rubastic Dock, Southall, known to boaters as the ‘Jam ’Ole’. The second image shows Ian and Lucy between Marsworth locks 41 and 42, and gives us a…

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