Friday, 4 August 2017

BRING ON THE BIG GUNS

In 1966, Cliff Sherwood and myself were driving up Factory Road in Tipton when we saw a plume of smoke rising from the rear of the Tipton gauging station.  Stopping to investigate Cliff parked up and we entered the yard to be met by two British Waterways blokes who were having a bonfire and burning all the paperwork from the gauging station.  When asked what they were doing they said “clearing the building”.  Cliff enquired “what are you doing with them” pointing to a set of BCN registers stacked next to the bonfire ready to be consumed by flame.  “Burnin em” was the reply, “why dun ya want em, cuz if yow do then tek em”  We proceeded to load the fullscap sized books into the rear of his van, in all over 160 volumes containing 200 boats in each.  These were taken to Cliffs house and unloaded, after which Cliff promised me when he had finished with them they would be mine.
50 Years later at Parkhead boat rally, cliff spoke to me and said “I have something for you, you’ll have to come down to Greensforge and collect it.  A few weeks later saw Dawn and I visiting Cliff and Barbara and loading the boxed 160 volumes into Dawns car, along with a gauging stick I gave Cliff in 1968, for them to be transferred to our summer house.  Since then I have set about producing a searchable electronic data base of the registers which, when finished will be donated the Dudley Tunnel Trust’s Hub along with the original registers. So far I have transferred about 4000 boats in 12 months, so yes it is a big job but I feel worth while.






BCN
REG No
DATE GAUGED
OWNER/
OPERATOR
ADDRESS
TYPE BOAT
NAME
LENGTH
BEAM
TONS MAX
16185
29.04.1898
A E HARLEY
W’TON
CAB WOOD
MARY ANNE
76'-6"
7'-7"
50
16181
27.04.1898
A E HORLEY
W’TON
CAB WOOD
ELSIE MAY
77'-10"
7'-7 1/2"
50
19639
20.02.1905
A HORTON
W’TON
CAB WOOD
CYRIE
75'-3"
7'-6"
49
906
3.09.1924
A J BAUGH
W’TON
CAB WOOD
MAMY
79'-2"
7'-8"
49
343
28.07.1922
ALBION COAL CO
W’TON
CAB WOOD
CAMBRIA
76'-10"
7'-8 1/4"
47
23250
13.09.1920
B & H SMITH
W’TON
CAB WOOD
PEACE
78'-0"
7'-6 3/4"
44
395
25.08.1922
CHARLES INGLES
HORSELEY FIELDS
CAB WOOD
VIOLETTA
77'-3"
7'-8"
48T
17498
29.10.1900
D A WRIGHT
DEEPFIELDS
OPEN WOOD

76'-2"
7'-7 1/2"
53
445
2.10.1922
D BAKER & SONS
BRADLEY
CAB WOOD

82'-4"
7'-7 1/2"
50
1876
13.09.1935
D BAKER & SONS
W’TON
CAB WOOD

88'-10"
7'-9 1/2"
61
678
22.06.1923
D STEVENS & SON
DEEPFIELDS
CAB WOOD
JACK
80'-7"
7'-8 1/4"
51
757
5.11.1923
D STEVENS & SON
DEEPFIELDS
CAB WOOD
MAYFLOWER
82'-6"
7'-8 1/4"
51
856
12.05.1924
D STEVENS & SON
DEEPFIELDS
CAB WOOD

82'-2"
7'-8 1/2"
51
933
8.10.1924
E DYKE
LANESFIELD
CAB WOOD
HORACE
82'-4"
7'-8"
51
1713
1.02.1932
E J THOMAS
ETTINGSHALL
CAB WOOD
QUEENIE
87'-7"
7'-9"
57
1736
19.08.1932
E PROBERT & SONS LTD
MILLFIELDS
CAB WOOD
PROMPT
87'-8"
7'-10 1/2"
59
1416
20.08.1928
E PROBERT & SONS LTD
MILLFIELDS
CAB WOOD
PROSPERITY
85'-4"
7'-8 1/2"
52
1663
24.03.1931
E THOMAS
WALSALL
CAB WOOD
RAY
97'-11"
7'-9"
56
1591
26.04.1930
E W REED
DUDLEY PORT
CAB WOOD

83'-0"
7'-9"
50
19481
14.10.1904
EVERALL & HILL
W’TON
OPEN WOOD

77'-6"
7'-7"
50
23306
22.11.1920
EVERALL & HILL
W’TON
CAB BWOOD

77'-4"
7'-6 3/4"
47
14531
23.08.1895
EVERALL HILL
W’TON
OPEN WOOD

76'-6"
7'-5 1/2"
47
14594
7.10.1895
EVERALL HILL
W’TON
CAB WOOD

77'-3"
7'-7 1/4"
50
1537
2.12.1929
F ROBINSON
W’TON
CAB WOOD
GEORGE HARRY
79'-7"
7'-8 1/2"
52
1535
26.11.1929
F ROBINSON
W’TON
CAB WOOD
SEGRAVE
83'-1"
7'-9"
50
159
30.01.1922
FANSHAW & PINSON
W’TON
CAB WOOD
ANNIE
75'-7"
7'-6 1/2"
49
1446
29.11.1928
FANSHAW & PINSON
W’TON
CAB WOOD
BONZO
76'-5"
7'-6 1/2"
50
1758
28.04.1933
FANSHAW & PINSON
W’TON
CAB WOOD
SHEILA
85'-10"
7'-8"
55
348
31.07.1922
GEORGE & MATTHEWS
W’TON
CAB WOOD
FLORENCE
79'-4"
7'-7 1/4"
47
16216
23.05.1898
GODDARD & CO
W’TON
CAB WOOD
TAMOSHANTER
75'-6"
7'-6 1/2"
48
18079
28.02.1902
H ROBINSON
W’TON
CAB WOOD
GEORGE HENRY
83'-0"
7'-8"
53
1741
16.09.1932
H TURTON
MONMORE GREEN
CAB WOOD
ADELINE
87'-4"
7'-9 1/2"
56
16391
23.09.1898
HADLEY & KNOWLES
OLDBURY
OPEN WOOD

76'-8"
7'-6"
49
1725
27.06.1932
J & E TAYLOR
HORSELEY FIELDS
CAB WOOD

85'-5"
7'-8 1/2"
52
19441
21.09.1904
J BEDDOWS & SON
ALDRIDGE
OPEN WOOD

80'-0"
7'-8"
53
14768
3.01.1896
J BEDDOWS & SON
WALSALL
OPEN WOOD

77'-7"
7'-9"
48
1982
24.09.1937
J FOULKES
WEDNESFIELD
CAB WOOD
JOE
88'-0"
7'-9"
58
1801
25.04.1934
J FOULKES
WEDNESFIELD
CAB WOOD
RON

7'-8 1/4"
58
1801
25.04.1934
J FOULKS
WEDNESFIELD
CAB WOOD
RON
88'-0"
7'-8 1/4"
58
1772
21.08.1933
J FOULKS
WENDESFIELD
CAB WOOD
TONY
87'-6"
7'-8 1/2"
57
882
16.07.1924
J GRIFFITHS & CO
WALSALL
OPEN WOOD
JACK
75'-1"
7'-5"
46
19443
22.09.1904
J H PEARSON
NETHERTON
OPEN WOOD

75'-2"
7'-6 1/2"
46
19456
27.09.1904
J H PEARSON
NETHERTON
OPEN WOOD

77'-0"
7'-6"
46
17573
7.01.1901
J HELLS & SON
W’TON
CAB WOOD
GEORGE
79'-4"
7'-7"
52
16453
11.11.1898
J JENKS & SON
W’TON
OPEN WOOD

75'-6"
7'-4 1/2"
43
942
17.10.1924
J JONES Ltd
ETTINGSHALL
CAB WOOD
ELIZABETH
82'-8"
7'-7 3/4"
51
14487
7.08.1895
J PICKERING
W’TON
CAB WOOD
GERTRUDE
77'-7"
7'-6 1/2"
51
777
19.12.1923
J TURTON
OCKER HILL
CAB WOOD
MARJORIE
78'-8"
7'-8 1/2"
48
23270
15.10.1920
J TURTON
TIPTON
CAB WOOD
PROSPERITY
78'-10"
7'-8"
48
699
30.07.1923
J TURTON
TIPTON
CAB WOOD

83'-6"
7'-8 3/4"
52
19635
15.02.1905
J W SHEPHERD & SON
W’TON
CAB WOOD

76'-8"
7'-6 1/2"
49
134
14.11.1921
J WELLINGS
MILLFIELDS
CAB WOOD
JACK
79'-10"
7'-7 1/4"
49
886
21.07.1924
J YATES
PELSALL
CAB WOOD
HORACE
81'-9"
7'-8 1/2"
50
795
16.01.1924
J YATES
PELSALL
CAB WOOD
JESSIE
82'-8"
7'-8 3/4"
53
1413
25.07.1928
J YATES
PELSALL
CAB WOOD
LITTLE BILL
84'-10"
7'-8 1/2"
52
1503
11.07.1929
J YATES
PELSALL
CAB WOOD
RUBY
84'-7"
7'-9"
50
1605
28.05.1930
JONES & COWELL
ETTINGSHALL
CAB WOOD
SANUEL
85'-7"
7'-8 1/2"
53
1420
27.08.1928
JONES & POWELL
ETTINGSHALL WHARF
CAB WOOD
BEATRICE LILY
81'-9"
7'-8"
52
1840
1.02.1935
JONES & POWELL
ETTINGSHALL
CAB WOOD
EDNA IRENE
86'-8"
7'-8 1/2"
58
1720
20.05.1932
JONES & POWELL
MILLFIELDS
CAB WOOD
IRIS MOREEN
86'-2"
7'-8 1/4"
57
1745
31.10.1932
K TURTON
HEATH TOWN
CAB WOOD

86'-8"
7'-10 3/4"
58
16541
18.01.1899
M A HARLEY
W’TON
CAB WOOD

79'-1"
7'-7 3/4"
51
19417
9.09.1904
MARY A HARLEY
W’TON
CAB WOOD

77'-0"
7'-6 1/2"
48
657
9.05.1923
N BENNETT
MILLFIELDS
CAB WOOD
DAISY
78'-7"
7'-5 3/4"
47
16268
27.06.1898
NAKER & SONS
HIGHFIELDS
CAB WOOD
DOLLY
80'-4"
7'-7 3/4"
53
23309
29.11.1920
OAKLEY & Co
W’TON
CAB WOOD
CLIFTON
77'-7"
7'-6 1/"
45
23375
23.02.1921
OAKLEY & Co
W’TON
CAB WOOD
ERIC
77'-6"
7'-7"
45
18081
28.02.1902
OAKLEY & Co
W’TON
CAB WOOD
PERSEVERANCE
77'-6"
7'-4 1/2"
49
16275
15.06.1898
P WARD LTD
PUMPHOUSE WORKS
OPEN WOOD

79'-6"
7'-3 3/4"
50
1623
27.07.1930
S EVANS & SONS
W’TON
CAB WOOD
HANNAH.  E
86'-0"
7'-8"
55
16259
17.06.1898
S JONES JNR
W’TON
CAB WOOD
WILLIAM
77'-6"
7'-5 1/2"
50
151
13.01.1922
SOUTH COALING Co
W’TON
CAB WOOD
MARIE ROBERTS
79'-2"
7'-7"
48
1778
9.10.1933
T HICKENBOTTOM & SONS
WEDNESBURY
CAB WOOD
BETTY
84'-5"
7'-10 1/4"
55
1777
29.09.1933
T HICKENBOTTOM & SONS
WEDNESBURY
CAB WOOD

84'-7"
7'-8 1/2"
53
1952
16.04.1937
T HICKENBOTTOM & SONS LTD
WEDNESBURY
CAB WOOD
THOMAS SIDNEY
80'-9"
7'-8"
49
15857
4.10.1897
T HOPE & CO
W’TON
CAB WOOD
MARY
75'-11"
7'-6 1/2"
46
19564
30.12.1904
THOS INGLES
W’TON
OPEN WOOD
QUEENIE
77'-0"
7'-7 1/2"
50
1746
25.1.1933
W ELWELL & SONS
TIPTON
CAB WOOD
IVY
88'-9"
7'-10"
58
1793
7.02.1934
W ELWELL & SONS
TIPTON
CAB WOOD
MR PERKINS
86'-4"
7'-8 1/2"
57
1770
19.07.1933
W ELWELL & SONS
TIPTON
CAB WOOD
UNCLE JIM
84'-0"
7'-8 1/4"
54
15993
31.12.1897
W H HARLEY
W’TON
CAB WOOD
JESSE
79'-3"
7'-7 1/2"
51
749
22.10.1923
W J WEBBERLEY
W’TON
CAB WOOD

84'-6"
7'-8 3/4"
51
1672
13.05.1931
W J WEBBERLEY
W’TON
CAB WOOD

86'-2"
7'-9"
56
1804
16.05.1934
W J WEBBERLEY
W’TON
CAB WOOD

88'-0"
7'-8 1/2"
57
19696
3.03.1905
W J WEBBERLEY
W’TON
OPEN WOOD

80'-0"
7'-8"
51
567
31.01.1923
W T WEBBERLEY
W’TON
OPEN WOOD

80'-6"
7'-9 1/2"
51
1804
16.05.1934
W T WEBBERLEY
W’TON
CAB WOOD

88'-0"
7'-8 1/2"
57
17586
23.01.1901
W WEBBERLEY
W’TON
CAB WOOD

81'-2"
7'-7 3/4"
53
986
29.12.1924
WULFRUNA COAL CO
W’TON
CAB WOOD
AMY
82'-11"
7'-8"
50
782
28.12.1923
WULFRUNA COAL CO
W’TON
CAB WOOD
ARGO
76'-4"
7'-6 1/4"
44
1751
24.02.1933
WULFRUNA COAL CO
W’TON
CAB WOOD
IRIS MOREEN
88'-0"
7'-9 1/2"
58
781
28.12.1923
WULFRUNA COAL CO
W’TON
CAB WOOD

77'-1"
7'-6 1/2"
44
1696
18.09.1931
E THOMAS
WALSALL
CAB WOOD
MARGE
88'-0"
7'-10"
59
16249
13.06.1898
ALBION COAL CO
W’TON
CAB WOOD
COLUMBIA
77'-8"
7'-7 1/2"
50


In all, from about 1898 to 1956, there were probably about 32,000 boats registered and gauged at one of the two weigh stations either at Smethwick or Tipton, these were all plying their trade around or through the BCN.  Apart from long distance boats owned by such companies as Fellows Morton & Clayton limited, Severn & canal carrying company, Chester & Liverpool Lighterage Company Limited, Shropshire Union  etc,  the rest were a combination of cabined and open iron day boats, open and cabined ‘Joey’ boats and a collection of ‘other’ craft.  I know sometimes I am accused of banging on and being a little anal but I like things right.  Too many people these days call all BCN day boats ‘Joey’s’ which is wrong.  Joeys are wooden and are named after a well known BCN boat builder who had several yards around the BCN, Joe Worsey. Any other open boats on the BCN are ‘day boats’.
 Joey boat Queen Mary



An un named Day boat
 These were mainly averaging about 71’-0” long and an average of 7’1 ½” wide with a gauged capacity of 40tons with less than an inch free board, in fact very, very few were actually 70’ by 7’, the accepted ‘standard for narrow boats, however things were different for the coal loading facilities and factories that were situated on the 473’ W’TON level of close on 50 miles of lock free canal.  As a result of this a special breed of boat was developed to work this canal.  As the only restrictions were the width of bridge ‘oles and stops and the width/length of the junctions that had to be negotiated then a much longer and wider boat was built by the boat builders on this canal known as ‘Ampton Wharf Boats.  These averaged about 85 ‘-0” by 7’-9”and could carry 50+tons.  Due to their size, these boats could only be gauged at Tipton gauging station. Here I have included some of the details of these craft which I have recorded so far..

One particular Ampton boat owned by E W Reed of Dudley Port, was sold to some enthusiasts who did not understand the boats design.  It was duly pumped up and towed to take it to its new home.  Unfortunately when they got it to the top of the 21 at Wolverhampton, they discovered it did not fit and so I believe it was then scrapped and cut up and burned, which in itself was a great pity as at the time it was in quite good condition and in more understanding hands would probably still been with us as the only remaining example of this unique craft as there are no viable survivors.
  The only survivors I am aware of are the sunken remains in the arm alongside Wulfruna coal company’s wharf in Wolverhampton
 and at the Black country museum alongside the lime kilns, all well past their preservation dates. (Sunken on the left in this photo)


So there you have it, Ampton wharf boats.
So till next time,
‘don’t bang ‘em about’


Blossom

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