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Ed M

Narrowboat "Margaret"

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MARGARET = BCN2189 10 May 1944 - builder = unknown - build date unknown - does not appear to have been health registered.

length = 69'1 - beam = 7'0½ - stowage = 47'3 - draft light = 10.77'' - draft laden with 32 tons = 45.89'' @ 0.63''dry side.

BEN - BCN2108 24 September 1941 - builder = said to be Harris - build date - said to be 1934 - does not appear to have been health registered.

length = 70'4 - beam = 7'0 - stowage = 49'11 - draft light = 11.15'' - draft laden with 33 tons = 46.11'' @ 0.41''dry side.

and for comparison:

CLEMATIS - BCN1882 06 January 1936 - builder = Yarwoods & FMC - build date - 1935 - health registered as Birmingham 1573 02 August 1935.

length = 70'8 - beam = 7'1½ - stowage = 46'8 - draft light = 16.72'' - draft laden with 31 tons = 50.34'' @ 0.28''dry side.

Clearly there appear to be similarities between MARGARET and BEN regarding their gauge details, but claims of builder, build date and subsequent history can not be made on the basis of a gauge table. If the stern of the dredger is similar to OXFORD No. 1 could this stern not be based around one of the tugs built by Harris in the 1940's, although I suspect the side plates would give quite a clue :captain:

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Thanks Pete,

Do your records give any indication of what happened to "Margaret" when it went on to the South Western Division by any chance please? If it were a motor, it ought to crop on a repair yard record somewhere at some poin although given Gloucester's propensity to turn perfectly good motors into dumb boats, maybe not!

I was recently given some information on Oxford 1 when it was in Matty's ownership by a chap who had been their fitter in the 1970s. Stupidly I didn't think to ask about Susan, but I'm going to try to get in touch him again and see if he has any idea where/what Susan was when they acquired it.

I don't think it was a tug as there was about 50' of original boat - so even it had been cut just behind the bow swim it would have been nearly 60' long as a minimum. It's full width and hard chined, and all of the Harris tugs I've looked at were around 6'6" and round chined, also it's a deeper moulded depth than all the Harris tugs I'm aware of.

Finally, from some odd remnants of brackets and so on under the back deck (which was quite longit looked to have had a very short back cabin and engine room. Ahead of here there was a change in the condition (pitting & corrosion wise) of the footings indicative of an open boat.

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1 hour ago, Rose Narrowboats said:

Thanks Pete,

Do your records give any indication of what happened to "Margaret" when it went on to the South Western Division by any chance please? If it were a motor, it ought to crop on a repair yard record somewhere at some poin although given Gloucester's propensity to turn perfectly good motors into dumb boats, maybe not!

I have transcripts for four different version of BCN2189 MARGARET and apart from the addition of the subsequent owner this table was never altered or cancelled, which means very little in reality.

Although I made a great deal of effort some years ago I was unable to source any records of value regarding the maintenance boats of the South Western Division, and I spent a considerably amount of time with the Engineer at Gloucester as well as the Foreman at both Sharpness and Bradley. 'Cardex' do turn up for boats from this area from time to time, and I am pretty sure that some of the boats sold in 1993 came with these :captain:

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A bit of interesting info and maybe not related to this boat under discussion. At Bulls Bridge some years ago before re development was a depot building which housed amongst other things spare pre punched plates for GU sterns and fore ends. These presumably were for quick major repairs. I do remember passing there and seeing to my horror what appeared at first to be two small Grand union sterns fitted back to back to become a dredger. I was very happy when I realized they were using the "spare parts" I had seen previously and not had gone and wrecked two motors.

Now, what became of that craft? My exploits in that area ceased soon after and I no longer went past Bulls Bridge as often as before.

 

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Thanks Pete - I'll keep trying to find out what I can from the Matty's angle.

Lawrence - I would guess they didn't keep it long as I know an ex-Bulls bridge fitter from the late 80's and he doesn't remember it. It must have rolled like a pig though!

Is it all possible what you saw was actually Deimos undergoing its second butchery to become the push tug Slough?

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I don't know if the MARGARET was a boat built by Harris Bros. But here are pictures of a Harris motor boat that was made into Matty's dredger. My theory is that this boat was originally the MARGARET. Unfortunately it is no more than a theory unless anyone can come up with something to support it! Any thoughts??

3.jpg

1.jpg

2.jpg

4.jpg

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It has now been confirmed to me that "Susan" was built at Matty's by their own fitters by someone who worked there at the time. He's now going back through his own photo's and records to see if he can identify what she was made out of.

Those pictures bring back some memories!

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I bought the dredger SUSAN in 1996. My earlier pictures show SUSAN at work at Stretton Wharf on the Oxford Canal later that year. The pictures show the Harris Bros back end. A commonly held view is the rest of the boat was a different boat. This is not true. The dredger was built using the back 35ft of the same boat. I bought the boat back last year with the plan to rebuild it as a motor boat. This work is being done now. And in taking the boat apart it became absolutely clear that the dredger was built from the back 35ft of the same boat.

On 14/11/2017 at 20:59, David Mack said:

So can we have a picture showing what "Susan" looks like now?

These pictures show the back of the boat last year. Recesses had previously been cut out of the sides of the boat in four places for the dredger legs. It had been the view that these recesses were joins between three separate boats. It is not. The same rivets can be seen ether side of the legs. And the same riveted bottom continues through the boat.

The question I am asking is which Harris motor boat was it?

P2170716.JPG

P2250732.JPG

P3030747.JPG

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Two rivets to the right (i.e. forward) of the leg you can see in this picture how the rivets change in type. This is just a newer gunwale angle that has been riveted on, and not a different section of a different boat!

P2170716.JPG

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5 hours ago, IanM said:

I'd keep the legs, you could moor it anywhere then ;)

Also, keep the digger bit so you can  *make*  a place to moor anywhere...

Remember seeing Susan  on the bank at Matty's, hundreds of years ago, she looked a bit sad even then.

Bill

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49 minutes ago, billh said:

Remember seeing Susan on the bank at Matty's, hundreds of years ago, she looked a bit sad even then.

Bill

Bill, Yes she did look very sad, that's where she was when I bought her. No-one at the yard knew what the boat had originally been. So far my best guess is that the boat was originally the MARGARET. It is only a guess... because any proof of this theory has so far eluded me! I don't even know if the MARGARET was a Harris motor boat (similar to BEN).

On 11/9/2017 at 14:53, Ed M said:

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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Hello Ed The photos of the dredger have the look of a a Harris built hull, lapped joints and plates less than 6 ft that needed bending i have many photos of harris hulls and this one looks promising to me .Redcaps knees have harts hill stamped on them see if you can find this on your hull maybe useful also chiselled cuts to the plates and rivets on top of rivets are good clues .Hope this helps in your search.Pity the pointy end is missing  Best of luck Redcap John

 

 

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On 11/17/2017 at 18:20, john10 said:

Hello Ed The photos of the dredger have the look of a a Harris built hull, lapped joints and plates less than 6 ft that needed bending i have many photos of harris hulls and this one looks promising to me .Redcaps knees have harts hill stamped on them see if you can find this on your hull maybe useful also chiselled cuts to the plates and rivets on top of rivets are good clues .Hope this helps in your search.Pity the pointy end is missing  Best of luck Redcap John

 

 

Yes the knees have Harts hill stamped on them

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