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Ed M

Narrowboat "Margaret"

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Does anyone know anything about the narrowboat "Margaret" (BCN 2189). This was a full length metal narrowboat gauged in 1944, so surely must still exist??

Length 69'1" Beam 7'1/2" Gauged BCN2189 on May 10th 1944. Owners: The Reliance Coal Supply Company. Wednesbury.

I suppose the boat could be an older boat re-gauged in 1944, or was the boat newly built in 1944? Any ideas?

 

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This boat is almost certainly one of the second hand FMC motors used as motor joeys / tugs on the BCN. It is listed as a proper living cabin boat and the dimensions are more likely to be FMC rather than GUCCCo as the originating source. It is listed as going onto the "SWD" (very likely South Western Division of BW).

Edited by Laurence Hogg

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It is usually around Audlem when they have their boat gathering at the end of August.  I've seen it moored in Middlewich as well.

Interesting cabin with a higher centre section.  I'm sure google will find some pictures.

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Not sure if I'm remembering correctly but ddn't the 2 horse drawn " Hostel boats" of the early 60's 1 was "Pamala" & had an idea tother was " Margaret " Different boat same name ?

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9 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

You're not thinking of the NB ELIZABETH, are you?

 

getimage.ashx?w=640&h=640&id=3480

Damn!   Yes you are right.   Stupid of me.  Elizabeth is an interesting boat though!

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35 minutes ago, X Alan W said:

Not sure if I'm remembering correctly but ddn't the 2 horse drawn " Hostel boats" of the early 60's 1 was "Pamala" & had an idea tother was " Margaret " Different boat same name ?

That "Margaret" was a wooden potteries boat, as was the "Aston", the "Pamela" being an iron boat

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There are lots of boats called "Margaret" including the hostel boat and the potteries boat.  But the "Margaret" I am asking about is a metal motor narrowboat gauged in Birmingham in 1944. I'd agree with Laurence that it quite likely could be one of the second hand FMC motors. If so, then which one??? However, for me the off putting bit about saying "Margaret" was a Josher motor is that the listed length (69'1") and long hold length are not Josher dimensions. I know the gauging measurements are often a bit out, I just think that listing the boat as 1'5" shorter than a Josher makes the boat unlikely to have been a Josher. Any thoughts?

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Following on the theory put forward by Laurence. Can anybody think of any Josher that was in the South Western Division of BW? The boat would also have to be one that FMC had already sold by 1944 (to The Reliance Coal Supply Company), and not one transferred on Nationalisation.

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3 hours ago, Ed M said:

Following on the theory put forward by Laurence. Can anybody think of any Josher that was in the South Western Division of BW? The boat would also have to be one that FMC had already sold by 1944 (to The Reliance Coal Supply Company), and not one transferred on Nationalisation.

I have all of the available B.C.N. Gauge Registers in Microsoft Access database format and I can perform very quick analysis and cross reference. I am aware of MARGARET and it is my view that this boat was based upon a B.C.N. day boat of some description, but it was definitely a lightly built boat that has no connection to either F.M.C. Ltd. or G.U.C.C.Co. Ltd..

I can also confirm that SWD refers to Docks and Inland Waterways Executive South Western Division as they are mentioned by name on the four copies I have seen of B.C.N. 2189 :captain:

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This photo turned up on Ebay a couple of years ago. One of a large collection being auctioned. I think there was much discussion about them on CWDF. This is clearly a wooden boat - the hostel boat that has already been mentioned, not a BCN boat.

$_597.jpg

Edited by Nick G

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That boat I believe was the ex Mersey Weaver horse / butty boat "Aston". It was part of the "Hostelcraft" fleet with "Pamela".

Several pictures exist showing in some cases LMS "Station" boats and other Joey types fitted with outboard engines. These I believe were early "Evinrude" types and were used on the BCN and nearby waterways. Given Peter's information this may be the type of craft "Margaret" was. A cheap "Make it go" solution to wanting a motor boat.

In 1969 I photographed this boat on the T&M it had a engine inside the boatmans cabin but motored very well.

image.png.f7f5b8fad95741f055621306ebdd9076.png

Edited by Laurence Hogg

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On 07/11/2017 at 14:27, pete harrison said:

I have all of the available B.C.N. Gauge Registers in Microsoft Access database format and I can perform very quick analysis and cross reference. I am aware of MARGARET and it is my view that this boat was based upon a B.C.N. day boat of some description, but it was definitely a lightly built boat that has no connection to either F.M.C. Ltd. or G.U.C.C.Co. Ltd..

I can also confirm that SWD refers to Docks and Inland Waterways Executive South Western Division as they are mentioned by name on the four copies I have seen of B.C.N. 2189 :captain:

It would be very nice to prove or abandon the idea put forward by Laurence that MARGARET was a Josher motor. So your analysis would be a good idea. I too was puzzled by the lightness of this boat, appearing to be much lighter than a Josher or a Grand Union boat. Because the boat was gauged as a carrying boat for The Reliance Coal Supply Company I would have thought the boat would have been a conventional motor boat, not powered by an outboard.

What happened to The Reliance Coal Supply Company? Did it become part of the NCB on Nationalisation? And if so does this explain how MARGARET became part of the SWD boat fleet?

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7 hours ago, Ed M said:

It would be very nice to prove or abandon the idea put forward by Laurence that MARGARET was a Josher motor. So your analysis would be a good idea. I too was puzzled by the lightness of this boat, appearing to be much lighter than a Josher or a Grand Union boat. Because the boat was gauged as a carrying boat for The Reliance Coal Supply Company I would have thought the boat would have been a conventional motor boat, not powered by an outboard.

What happened to The Reliance Coal Supply Company? Did it become part of the NCB on Nationalisation? And if so does this explain how MARGARET became part of the SWD boat fleet?

It appears to me that you already have access to B.C.N. gauge registers so you should be able to perform the same analysis as I did - pick at random several F.M.C. Ltd / small G.U.C.C.Co. Ltd. motors (and BEN) and compare the dimensions, especially the draft light / draft laden and tonnage. My view is in complete contrast to yours as I think a small company would be much more likely to operate a single motor bodged out of a readily available day boat. I believe this is supported by there being only 5 gallons of Oil (fuel) on board when weighed whereas a conventional motor usually has at least 50 gallons and usually considerably more. As you mentioned at the start of this thread if this MARGARET was a counter sterned motor it would most likely still exist, or at least somebody would know of its fate as it may have been 'desirable'. 

I am thinking perhaps you have an old iron hull, or part of a hull, and you are trying very hard to give it an identity (probably to increase its appeal or value). As I do not know who you are due to you hiding your identity (although I do have a suspicion), and you are asking loaded / detailed questions without letting on why you have an interest in this boat I am leaving this thread for now. I wish you well with your quest :captain:

edit - I have disposal details for all F.M.C. Ltd. and G.U.C.C.Co. Ltd. motors, and all can be accounted for in 1944 - so MARGARET is definitely not one of theirs - and it is far too light anyway.

Edited by pete harrison

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be Ed Mortimer (Ed M) has obviously got a lot of information on this hull and yet seems to be sharing only part of it with us in the attempt to discover the identity. Surely a couple or more pictures showing the vital details will assist in the quest and must be available, so come on ED, come clean and show us the goods properly. You might learn a lot more.

Edited by Laurence Hogg
add inf

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1 hour ago, Laurence Hogg said:

be Ed Mortimer (Ed M) has obviously got a lot of information on this hull and yet seems to be sharing only part of it with us in the attempt to discover the identity. Surely a couple or more pictures showing the vital details will assist in the quest and must be available, so come on ED, come clean and show us the goods properly. You might learn a lot more.

Sorry Peter if you didn't know I'm Ed Mortimer. You are right... I do have an old hull!! And it is the back 35ft of a Harris motor boat. So, a similar boat to the BEN. Laurence already knows that I have a theory that my boat might be the MARGARET. But I really didn't want to "come clean" because I didn't want to make this suggestion. I wanted someone else to suggest it! Because, to quote Laurence, I want to be "dealing with facts not fiction".

I bought the boat more than twenty years ago from Dewsbury and Proud in Coseley. The boat at that time had been converted into a dredger. I did sell the boat as a dredger, and have more recently bought it back. I am now in the process getting the boat converted back to a motor boat. hence my desire for an identity!

So, back to the thread, could the boat MARGARET be another motor boat (similar to BEN) built by Harris Bros, in Netherton?

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4 hours ago, Ed M said:

Sorry Peter if you didn't know I'm Ed Mortimer. You are right... I do have an old hull!! And it is the back 35ft of a Harris motor boat. So, a similar boat to the BEN. Laurence already knows that I have a theory that my boat might be the MARGARET. But I really didn't want to "come clean" because I didn't want to make this suggestion. I wanted someone else to suggest it! Because, to quote Laurence, I want to be "dealing with facts not fiction".

I bought the boat more than twenty years ago from Dewsbury and Proud in Coseley. The boat at that time had been converted into a dredger. I did sell the boat as a dredger, and have more recently bought it back. I am now in the process getting the boat converted back to a motor boat. hence my desire for an identity!

So, back to the thread, could the boat MARGARET be another motor boat (similar to BEN) built by Harris Bros, in Netherton?

O.K., so now this is making more sense - and I did suspect these questions were coming from Mr Mortimer (who I also know but have not spoken to for years) - and I do know this boat.

Questions about this dredger have been ongoing for years and I am not aware of anybody coming up with anything credible. Can it be proven that the counter stern is the same age as the rest of the remaining hull, or is it a possibility that it was added to a redundant boat in order to produce this dredger :captain:

edit = I hope that Mr Mortimer has taken loads and loads of photographs of this counter stern as a dredger in order to provide some evidence of this boats history for future enthusiasts. With the last of these odd bits and pieces of 'historic' narrow boats being turned into something more acceptable combined with the over restoration of other 'historic' narrow boats (not to mention changes to the infrastructure) the canals are rapidly being sterilised of history.

Edited by pete harrison

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10 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Which has long been deconverted.

BEN was converted at Norton Canes in late 1968 or early 1969, and was de-converted at the Black Country Museum in September 1983 :captain:

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This looks like the BEN I viewed at Kinver around the late seventies with a view to buy. The cut was iced up, and we failed to get the boat to the dock, returning to the towpath mooring. An 'in the water' survey showed some issues, such as the wood framed superstructure not being completely fixed to the gunnels, and skin cooling tanks floating on some thin steel bottoms. We declined making an offer. It had a motor counter stern with back cabin in masonite, but more details than that I cannot remember.

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I have also owned this boat when it was the dredger "Susan". The way the legs were cut in to the hull, and the fact that at some point (probably when converted) it had a new gunwhale angle put in to the mid-body with some very heavy rivets made it look as if it was more of a "bitsa" than it was.

I've got no financial interest in the outcome of this, but based on the condition of it when I owned it, the similarity in shape to Ben and Oxford 1 and with" the "benefit" of many hours crawling around the bilges and having seen it out of the water I can confirm that there is no doubt that the greatest part of the hull was a Harris built motor with a relatively short "new" for end with the JCB backactor mounted on it, in just the same style as Matty's big Woolwich dredger conversion (was it Darley?). There's a thought - does anyone remember a Harris fore-end lying around at Mattys/Dewsbury & Proud's?

I sense Pete that you disapprove of what's happened to it, but it was a horrible machine to drive, and unfit for commercial work without spending £30k on it which it was never going to get because it was also disturbingly unstable (another owner capsized it about 10 years ago) in comparison to more modern dredgers. I nursed it through a couple of jobs because it was all we could get at the time but as soon as the opportunity to buy a decent ex-BW dredger arose I jumped at it. Susan then sat around, costing insurance, mooring etc whilst I tried to find a future for it - we had some thoughts of converting it into a jack leg pontoon - but that didn't really need the back end, and the back end wasn't good enough to build another boat around unless you had more money than sense. So there it continued to sit while the enthusiast in me tried to defend it from commercial reality.

When Ed approached me with a view to buying it, and told me his plan I was very pleased to sell it to him. Ed has almost certainly spent more on it than he will ever get back, but has saved a relatively uncommon type of boat from a very bleak future that could easily have ended up scrapped. Come to think of it, Ed has probably saved Susan from scrapping three times now.

I've got plenty of pictures of it as it was as I am sure has Ed. For all its faults, it was an easy boat to love (think the one eyed, three legged dog with the missing ear at the dog's home) because of what it clearly had been and I too would love to find out what it was prior to being turned into Susan.

There's a good picture of it taken in the 1990s in Ray Shill's book, breasted up to a mud hopper that by sheer fluke I also now own.

 

 

 

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47 minutes ago, Rose Narrowboats said:

I sense Pete that you disapprove of what's happened to it, but it was a horrible machine to drive, and unfit for commercial work without spending £30k on it which it was never going to get because it was also disturbingly unstable (another owner capsized it about 10 years ago) in comparison to more modern dredgers.

Not at all. I am a great believer in owners doing what they want with their boats, after all they pay the bills and it is the museums place to preserve (I wish !!!). Every boat that still exists has a developing history, and if the boats are to be dramatically altered then this is just another part of their history - but their pre-altered state should be recorded for posterity. Most 'historic' narrow boats are well recorded as they go about their travels, but my fear was that something like this dredger would not have been but clearly you have already done this. 

Your description of this dredger is interesting and poses more questions than I am able to answer :captain:

Edited by pete harrison

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Museums..no - let's not go there!

I agree wholeheartedly about it being part of the boat's history. Based on the age of the backactor I think the conversion was done in the late 60s, maybe very early 1970s so she's been a dredger longer than anything else so far. I take your point about recording information - other than your data on the BW workboat fleet, information about many of them seems very scant indeed.

I don't have access to the BCN gauging records so a question to Ed or Pete if I may? How does the information for Ben compare to that of Margaret and when was Ben built please?

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