Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Potted Histories

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)

Looking at Sarah's "Chertsey" Blog I note that she has tackled what seems to come up from time to time if you have an historic narrow boat - namely the need to provide a "potted history" to go on the entry form to an event, or some such similar thing.

Cath and I were discussing the other day that we really need a few of these of different lengths, to allow a quick "cut and paste" of a suitable one on to anything that requires it.

I was just about to think about starting to prepare something, when I recalled I had had to put something on the form for entering "Sickle" to the Black Country Living Museum - Tug Event on the weekend of 5th/6th/7th May.

Having looked at that, it's not after all a bad synopsis:

Name: "Sickle"

Length: 40 Feet
Draught: 3 feet
Construction: Riveted Steel

Date Built.: 1936 Boat Type: GUCCCo “Middle Northwich"
                  Converted 1942 to to Icebreaker/Tug


Built as 71’6” carrying boat for Grand Union Canal Carrying co in 1936, a motor boat from one of 8 pairs of “Middle Northwich” boats, built by W J Yarwoods – unusual because of rounded chines, and slightly vee-ed bottom.

In 1942 one of 4 such boats requisitioned by the Ministry of War Transport for conversion to ice-breakers. Shortened to 40 feet, given heavily reinforced front end, and a massive 5 foot ice ram added.

On nationalisation of the waterways in 1948 became a tug on the maintenance fleet, and appears to have had its ice ram removed by 1957, (but when is unclear). Worked for British Waterways on the Southern Grand Union maintenance fleet, until condemned and very nearly scrapped in 2000.

Eventually rescued and restored to approximately 1960s condition, it has been with its current owners for less than a year. The powerful Lister HA3 air-cooled engine is one of the types it carried whilst on maintenance duties, and dates from 1963.

"Sickle" at work as a tug (Photo courtesy Matt Parrott).

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