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Pluto

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Pluto last won the day on July 12 2011

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About Pluto

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Barlic
  • Interests
    European inland waterway history, including the transfer of technology during the early industrial revolution; wooden boat construction on inland waterways; the history of opening bridges; and the L&LC.

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    industrial historian
  • Boat Name
    Pluto

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  • Website URL
    http://www.mikeclarke.myzen.co.uk/home.htm

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  1. Water Wanderer

    Actually, inside photos would be of interest, if they show how things were arranged for passengers.
  2. Yesterday's Witness BBC 2 1969

    I worked on Lapwing in 1972, the last year that Charlie worked regularly as steerer, which is where I learnt much about boat handling, though George Radford had helped previously, and a number of L&LC boatmen subsequently.
  3. No one using an adze correctly would leave highly visible marks in timber. Properly adzed timber is virtually flat, hardly requiring the use of a plane. What is replicated today on replacement beams and the like are the marks left by axes.
  4. The green spot mystery

    I wouldn't call them wide boats on the L&LC, as they are what the canal was built for, they are just boats. On traditional L&LC boats, the chimney was in the middle of the deck, next to the forward bulkhead. You just had to line the chimney up with the line on the bridge to go through without touching. The white line around bridge arches and at lock entrances was probably introduced around 1875 when regular flyboats working to a timetable day and night were introduced.
  5. Water Wanderer

    Rather an unusual way to end a trip! I, and I am sure others, would be interested to see any photos you can find. The time when canals/waterways were changing from commercial to leisure use is becoming of interest to historians, so any information is very useful.
  6. Mersey flats spike island widnes

    As with much from Wikipedia, this is not strictly true. The Mersey flat was not always double-ended, as a significant number had square sterns. Although the second mast could be a mizzen, it was usually called a jigger, with jigger being the Liverpool term for an alley behind terraced housing, often occupied by jigger rabbits, or cats as some call them. The size of flats varied considerably, often for no apparent reason, as an examination of the 18th century port registers will show, though it could be a result of the waterways on which they were intended to be used.
  7. Oh dear

    That is certainly the case with Norfolk wherries over the last hundred years or so, but the Norfolk wherry evolved from Viking ships and ceols into coastal cargo boats and Norfolk keels, and then boats for loading and unloading ships waiting to enter Yarmouth, so earlier they would certainly have had to lie on the mud. The flat bottom required would have made them suitable for the shallow waters of the Broads as lands there were drained and water levels controlled.
  8. Any idea what these are?

    Possibly some form of bank stabilisation because of possible subsidence. They would also keep any vehicles away from the canal edge which, despite being concrete, is probably a bit unstable. The banks will have been raised because of subsidence, so may not have sufficient/suitable ties back into the ground behind to make then completely stable.
  9. Oh dear

    In this case, they mean capable of sitting on mud. All coastal sailing boats could do this, though only a few in the south west were flat-bottomed, as per a narrow boat. All the others had conventional rounded chines.
  10. Bridge 132 Leeds Liverpool Canal

    Yes, but really those from Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire are really Northumbrians if you go back a bit further.
  11. Oh dear

    From recent research, I don't think any narrow boat was really based on existing boat construction. Last month I found detailed drawings of Coventry Canal boats done in 1795. The methods for fixing the planks and frames suggest that they were more likely to be built by local carpenters and millwrights, rather than by anyone who was used to boat building. I am continuing my research, and will hopefully have more information soon.
  12. Bridge 132 Leeds Liverpool Canal

    Living there, I describe it as 'no man's land', as it was in Yorkshire until the 1970s alteration of county boundaries, but is now in Lancashire.
  13. Oh dear

    A friend who served his time boat building at a yard on the L&LC in the 1940s suggested to me that, for him, a barge has a mounded width - the width over the frames - of more than 14 feet. Anything less is a boat. This means that L&LC iron and steel boats are barges, but if made from wood are boats, as the thickness of the hull outside the frames makes the moulded width of the former just over 14 feet, while on the latter under 14 feet. In Lancashire, L&LC men sometimes considered it a bit of an insult to be called a bargeman, rather than a boatman, as bargeman suggested they just moved barges around the docks. In Yorkshire there was not the same distinction, as the skills needed for working down the Humber in barges was equal, if not greater, than those needed on the canal.
  14. Bridge 132 Leeds Liverpool Canal

    You mean New Hall Bridge - I can never get used to the bridge numbering system. The area is now one of the poorest through which the canal passes, with a large Asian population, together with a white population, of which a few are extreme rightwing. Consequently, there can be problems in the area, though I have noted a rise in the number of Asian families using the towpath for taking a walk. There will occasionally be problems in the area, but it is unusual. I don't think we have had any problems when passing with Kennet. From a canal history view point, there used to be a dockyard on the Skipton side of the bridge, though you wouldn't know by looking at the site.
  15. Surely their problem is that they never had the necessary expenditure in the first place, and they are merely trying to put the remains under some sort of control. As one of the few people who tried to save a wooden wide boat, I would suggest that the average canal enthusiast doesn't have a clue about the complexity of construction and maintenance of wide boats. That goes for many of those involved with the museum back in the late 1970s when the wide boats, now in such poor condition, were collected. However, they were kept and their construction can be researched. Had the museum not taken them, they would almost certainly have disappeared long ago, leaving a hole in our knowledge of inland waterway boat construction. The real problem is that the importance of the collection was never recognised at a national level, so the museum never obtained sufficient funding for what people expected them to do.
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