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Hancock and Lane

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I was wondering if anybody knew the dates that Hancock and Lane were in business boat building? Is there any record of the boats they built?

 

Editor's Note: Two similar topics have been merged for completeness - the original topic started with this post and the later topic started here.

Edited by NB Alnwick
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I was wondering if anybody knew the dates that Hancock and Lane were in buisness boat building? Is there any record ogf the boats they built?

They were very prolific, and already heavily in production in the early 1970s.

 

Graham Booth's book "The Inland Boat Owners Book" says "Several owners claim to possess the 'last H&L ever built' (in 1984)", although when the book was published H&L were still in the engineering business.

 

He describes the boats as "slightly chubby, unremarkable styling", but that is not accurate, as they also built some sleek boats with long swims, and fine lines that went like a rocket, and handled superbly, (in forwards and reverse).

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They were very prolific, and already heavily in production in the early 1970s.

 

Graham Booth's book "The Inland Boat Owners Book" says "Several owners claim to possess the 'last H&L ever built' (in 1984)", although when the book was published H&L were still in the engineering business.

 

He describes the boats as "slightly chubby, unremarkable styling", but that is not accurate, as they also built some sleek boats with long swims, and fine lines that went like a rocket, and handled superbly, (in forwards and reverse).

 

I worked for hancock and lane in the 70s the began about 1970 and produced a large number of boats and comercial craft they are best known for the Norsman style boat they also built a smaller boat with a raised front deck called Marlin these were mostly 30 feet in length I worked for them from 1972 through to the end which I belive to be 1984 I was made redundant twice At the finish there were only four of us left and at one time they had at least 8 teams of 3 men building boats and employed 60 men many other companies have been borne out of this skilled labour force It is true that the boats were a little dumpy however many of these craft are still in use on the canals giving testimony to there build quality they were in there time considered by many to be at the forefront of the industry I would regulaly work 70 hrs a week to keep up with demand starting at 6 am and finishing at 6 pm 5 days a week and then doing a Saturday morning for good measure The eatly starters were summoned at 8 am for a trip to Willerby to the cafe for cooked breakfast on the firm I am still boatbuilding I was only 19 when I started work Thats enough from an old boatbuilder

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No, not enough - your memories are fascinating, thank you. Which boatbuilder do you work for now?

H&L were, so I'm told, considered to ne the Rolls Royce of builders in the '70s, with Springer as the Skoda! Don't get me wrong, I've never owned a Springer but I think they have character.

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I have a 1976 Norsman, 54' , no patches and still very sound. It's a bugger to reverse though, but perhaps that's just my incompetence showing.

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I have a 1976 Norsman, 54' , no patches and still very sound. It's a bugger to reverse though, but perhaps that's just my incompetence showing.

 

Ours is a 46' 1978 Norsman, and is also a bugger to reverse - the bow veers off wildly. This has, however, allowed me to do some quite spectacular manouvres which onlookers take to be extremely skillful when in reality I just bung it in gear and hope for the best :lol:

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when in reality I just bung it in gear and hope for the best :lol:

 

Do you mean that there is another way of manouvering?

 

Richard

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I worked for hancock and lane in the 70s the began about 1970 and produced a large number of boats and comercial craft they are best known for the Norsman style boat they also built a smaller boat with a raised front deck called Marlin these were mostly 30 feet in length I worked for them from 1972 through to the end which I belive to be 1984 I was made redundant twice At the finish there were only four of us left and at one time they had at least 8 teams of 3 men building boats and employed 60 men many other companies have been borne out of this skilled labour force It is true that the boats were a little dumpy however many of these craft are still in use on the canals giving testimony to there build quality they were in there time considered by many to be at the forefront of the industry I would regulaly work 70 hrs a week to keep up with demand starting at 6 am and finishing at 6 pm 5 days a week and then doing a Saturday morning for good measure The eatly starters were summoned at 8 am for a trip to Willerby to the cafe for cooked breakfast on the firm I am still boatbuilding I was only 19 when I started work Thats enough from an old boatbuilder
Do you know Mike Gratton/Grafton? I think he was a foreman there and started up again as MG Fabrications and then as MG Narrowboats in Northampton and he started producing the Norsman again? I had one and liked the style of them.

 

He has since vanished from the scene I think.

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Do you know Mike Gratton/Grafton? I think he was a foreman there and started up again as MG Fabrications and then as MG Narrowboats in Northampton and he started producing the Norsman again? I had one and liked the style of them.

 

He has since vanished from the scene I think.

 

 

Hi I now work for myself Kedian Eng Ltd I also do work for Probuild narrow boats at Stockton Warickshire Sadly Mike Gration died this year I worked with him for a number of years

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Hi I now work for myself Kedian Eng Ltd I also do work for Probuild narrow boats at Stockton Warickshire Sadly Mike Gration died this year I worked with him for a number of years
Oh that is sad. I got to know him quite well when he built my boat. A very nice guy.He was in the business for a long time and knew what he was talking about regarding boats.
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Oh that is sad. I got to know him quite well when he built my boat. A very nice guy.He was in the business for a long time and knew what he was talking about regarding boats.

 

He was a nice guy and very easy to get on with there are fewer and fewer boat builders of the old school now youngsters dont seem to want to get there hands dirty prefering computers etc

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Can someone tell me anything about the boatmaker Hancock and Lane? I've tried looking on the internet to no avail.

 

As far as I can reacall they operated from Daventry in the 70's and 80's perhaps. Were quite well respected at the time in mid-range shells.

Roger

Edited by Albion
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Can someone tell me anything about the boatmaker Hancock and Lane? I've tried looking on the internet to no avail.

Hancock and Lane was a steel fabricator and boatbuilder in Daventry. They built a lot of boats and supplied kits, many hire boats were H&L.In the early 1980's the boatbuilding business got into a price war, so as not to become unprofitable or reduce quality H&L departed from boatbuilding. They placed a large advert in Waterways World saying goodbye to their supporters and customers. It was a loss to the boatbuilding world as their quality was very good. They continued in business in the steel structure side of things. As "boatmans cabin co" I supplied the brassware for their boats, so if you have one you have BCC equipment as fittings. They also ran a small Chandlery at their factory. The buyer was David Taylor who after H&L finished boatbuilding, worked with me for BCC then went to be the buyer at Midland Chandlers. He now works for Aquafax.

 

This was their chandlery display of BCC stuff.

gallery_5000_522_1632.jpg

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Quite a lot more discussion in This Old Thread.

 

EDIT:

 

No! Scrub that! - That thread now appears to have been merged into this one!

Edited by alan_fincher
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David Hammond went out on his own as a steel fabricator

he built

Vixen (foxton boat services) horse boat

Communicator (joint build with myself)

and as far as i know put the new bottom in Corolla (ex zoo bus and FBS)

don't know about the other guys who worked there

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interesting that this has been resurrected on the other thread

i knew Mike Gration very well and his neice is still one of my gas customer, sadly missed he almost got to build Communicator but in the end i went with his colleague David hammond who did most of the steel work for me.

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Hancock and Lane boats were built like tanks, and still fetch good prices today. For several years I worked a trip boat built by them, and whilst it wasn't the prettiest boat on the canal, it handled well and stood up to plenty of hard work without complaint.

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H&L also built some wide beam boats for the French hire market. I remember them being placed in the water (for inspection) at Whilton Marina prior to being shipped out to the British company starting up in France. This would be around 1976. There were two main types an "American" style with a very flat cabin top, forward wheelhouse and (I think) a flying bridge, they were about 45/50ft long. The others were more conventional centre cockpit cruisers, slightly shorter. I THINK the customer company were an offshoot of Blue Line, but I could be wrong.

 

 

Tony.

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Can someone tell me anything about the boatmaker Hancock and Lane? I've tried looking on the internet to no avail.

 

:lol: In 91/2 I used to drive a 72 foot narrowbeam trip boat on the leicester section gu and the river soar. It was built like a tank and took frequent knocks especialy when the river was in flood which it tends to do quite a lot. It was an old boat then but good quality. If you are thinking of buying one I would think them still a good bet. :lol:

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and Quote Big Steve Our Norsman is also a bugger to reverse - the bow veers off wildly. This has, however, allowed me to do some quite spectacular manouvres which onlookers take to be extremely skillful when in reality I just bung it in gear and hope for the best :lol:

Jake is ALSO a Norseman, 1976 and 60', and is ALSO a cow to reverse.

The only time it went well was backing 1/2 a mile round a sharp bend, when the cut was very low, leaving either the channel or dry mud. Nobody watching tho' !

Edited by jake_crew
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Thanks for all the replies! I'm looking at a 40 foot H+L called Owl that really needs work.

 

I just hope I can raise the funds to buy her.

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Thanks for all the replies! I'm looking at a 40 foot H+L called Owl that really needs work.

 

I just hope I can raise the funds to buy her.

 

Is it the one on Apollo Duck "for disposal"? If what people have said about the quality of H&L boats is true of this boat then I would have thought it would be worth the investment, even though you would have to completely refit it and maybe put a new engine in.

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It looks as if that one has been sunk - the expression "significant water ingress" is alarming! But for someone with the requisite skills it's a boat worth looking at given the very low price.

Steve, why "The Train"? Are you a railwayman, or an enthusiast, or perhaps both?

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My mate has one from the later 70s. Built like the proverbial and not much corrosion last time out. John always looks happy when going forwards. But then, reversing is an entirely random business for most of us anyway - point and hope, that's my technique.

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