Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Narrow Boats

 Many different boats are found on British canals and river navigations, narrow boats, barges, lighters, short boats, flats, tom puddings, keels, throws, tugs, dredgers, and more.

Some of the earliest canals to be used for carrying were built by the Duke of Bridgewater to move coal out of his mines at Worsley near Manchester.
His purpose-built boats were about 30 feet long and 6 feet wide and carried up to 12 tons of coal. They were know as "Starvationers" because their "ribs were showing". The narrow boat may have evolved from them.
As the canals were built in the 18th Century, boats were developed to use them. Most canals had locks 7 or 14 feet wide and 72 feet long. Narrow boats were built to fit these locks. On some Northern canals the locks only 62 long and short boats were used.
A narrow boat is about 70 feet long and 7 feet wide and can carry up to 30 tons of cargo. The boatman and his family lived in the small stern cabin. The rest of the space was used to carry cargo.

I had luck. On the same weekend was a gathering of those boat owners which still are using an old Russel Newbury motor. Ian and Ken invited me for a visit on their traditional restored boats.

 In the morning I had met Richard, he told me how to maintaine a narrow boat. Roundabout every 3 years the parts underneath the water line has to be painted/blackend, and every 10 year the upper parts. Usually this painting has 5 coatings, and between every coat the boat has to be sanded properly.

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