The Preston Family of Middlewich

Tracing Family History: NarrowBoat, Spring 2019

Mary Kelly explores her family’s long involvement with inland boating in the North West

My father, William (Bill) Preston, was featured in Chris Jones’ ‘Famous Fleets’ article on two Trent & Mersey carriers (NB Autumn 2018). In 1932 he left school at the age of 14 to work with his father (also William) on J. & G. Meakins’ pottery boat Alice. So far, I have traced my paternal family line back to 1837. My great-grandfather and great-greatgrandfather were also called William Preston and were boatmen. All of them were based in Middlewich, which is where I was born and grew up. I was the last of the line to have ‘William Preston, boatman’ as my father’s name and occupation on my birth certificate. By the time my brother was born, Meakins had stopped using boats and my father worked in Seddons salt works in Middlewich. Alice was sold into private ownership and converted to a pleasure craft. My brother remembers taking Dad to see her in Market Drayton in around 1978/79 and she was in a very bad state then. I believe that she wa…

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