THE COMPANY'S BOATS

Some years ago I was discussing with John Pitman of Droylsden the history of the surviving wooden maintenance boats that had been operated on the Ashton, Macclesfield and Peak Forest Canals by British Waterways, and its railway predecessors, The London North Eastern Railway, Great Central Railway, and Manchester Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway. Several had lasted until the 1960's/70's and the Joel and Maria can still be seen on the Ashton Canal at the Ashton Canal Carriers yard at Guide Bridge.


Maintenance boat Kate at Furness Vale c1900

John has always been keen on recording the history of working boats and he sent me a list of his findings after several years of research. I thought that this would be of interest, particularly to those who remember those sunken maintenance boats along the Macclesfield Canal and at Marple and Whaley Bridge.

boatyard

Black wharf (formerly Marple wharf). The view is looking north east from Posset bridge and it is dated 1851. Lock 12 is on the left and the small building to the right of it is a forge. The larger building behind it is lockhouse. The houses on the right are on Oldknow Road. This is probably the oldest photograph of the Peak Forest Canal



Photo: Jack Lane Collection

Maintenance of the Company's boats was undertaken at Gorton "Tank" which was located on the Stockport Branch of the Ashton Canal close to the junction with the main line. This photograph shows the entrance to the dock and maintenance yard in 1950.


Motor boat on Gorton dock
Photo: Jack Lane Collection

Inside the drydock at Gorton c1950. A motor maintenance boat is undergoing a major refit. This could be the ex Fellows Morton and Clayton former steamer President.

Boat List
Date NewFleet No. Boat NameRegistrationNotes (location details relate to 1890)
2/1853 1 Fanny M/cr 434 Bank Boat - Dukinfield/Hyde
12/1853 2 Lucy M/cr 334 Under repair 1890, Bank Boat - Poynton/Dukinfield, Worn out 4/33, Sunk 10/37, Broken up
4/1854 3 Josephine M/cr 406 Bank Boat - Bugsworth/Marple, Broken up by 7/29
(Built) 7/1854 4 Maria M/cr 316 At Crusher - Bugsworth. According to the boat book the original Maria was replaced in 1915 by a new boat built at Jinks' yard at Marple.
11/1854 5 Sophia M/cr 380 Goods Boat - Manchester to Bugsworth (later paint boat at Gorton Yard), Worn out 4/33
3/1855 6 Margaret M/cr 524 Goods Boat - Manchester/Bollington, Broken up
7/1855 7 Jane M/cr 433 Bank Boat - Stockport Canal, Broken up 12/28
  8 Ernest   Goods Boat - Bugsworth/Whaley Bridge, replaced by Mary in 1891
6/1891 8 Mary   Goods Boat - Bugsworth/Whaley Bridge, replaced by Ernest in 1891 and sold to J Potts 1893
6/1856 9 Emma M/cr 459 Bank Boat - Dukinfield/Hyde, Worn out 4/33, Sunk 10/37
11/1856 10 Annie M/cr 498 Goods Boat - Manchester/Bugsworth, Broken up 5/03
6/1857 11 Violet   Bank Boat - Peak Forest Canal (later to Gorton), Still in existence 6/46
11/1857 12 Ellen M/cr 457 Goods Boat, Broken up June 1888
8/1890 12 Lizzie M/cr 457 Goods Boat - New Mills, Replaced Ellen
3/1858 13 Polly M/cr 561 Goods Boat - Manchester, Sold to J Potts 1894
8/1858 14 Kate M/cr 418 Dredger - Bugsworth (later Bank Boat- Macclesfield), Sunk 10/37, remains still at Marple Locks 1973
11/1858 15 Flora M/cr 463 Bank Boat - Ashton Canal, Shortened to 58ft 1/1896, Still in existence 10/44
4/1859 16 Lillie M/cr 478 Dredger - Ashton Canal & Stockport Canal, Sunk /29
11/1859 17 Rose M/cr 353 Goods Boat - Manchester/Stockport/Hyde, Poor /36, Sunk 6/43
5/1860 18 Agnes M/cr 429 Stone Boat - Bugsworth, Worn out 4/33, Sunk Bosley 10/37
  43 Bessie   Bank Boat - Waterhouses (may have been replaced by Nellie)
(Built) 12/1864 43 Nellie M/cr 118 Bank Boat - Waterhouses, Short boat for Waterhouses & Hollinwood Canal, In service by /92, Broken up by 7/29
10/1864 19 Ethel M/cr 554 Goods Boat - Manchester/Bugsworth, Broken up by 7/29
3/1866 20 Archibald M/cr 653 Stone Boat - Bugsworth, Broken up by 7/29
10/1866 21 George M/cr 522 Bank Boat - Gorton Yard, Still in existence 10/44
(Built) 12/1869 40 Lilly M/cr 428 Stone Boat - Bugsworth, Broken up 1898
5/1870 22 Charles M/cr 430 Stone Boat - Bugsworth, Still in existence /00
8/1870 23 Saturn M/cr 427 Stone Boat - Bugsworth, Still in existence /29
2/1871 24 Triton M/cr 421 Stone Boat, Bugsworth, Still in existence /09
3/1875 25 Atlas M/cr 449 Goods Boat - Manchester Stockport/Hyde, Still in existence /07
6/1875 26 Venus M/cr 450 Goods Boat - Manchester/Marple, Still in existence 10/44
  38 Ruby   Ex Anderton Co 4/1876, sunk on Macclesfield canal 1/1890, Broken up 1894
  39 Pearl M/cr 445 Ex Anderton Co 4/1876, Bank Boat - Congleton, Broken up 1893
6/1876 27 Eagle M/cr 422 Stone Boat - Bugsworth, Bad 6/43
2/1877 28 Mars M/cr 417 Goods Boat - Manchester, Still in existence /09
7/1877 29 Ariel M/cr 346 Goods Boat - Manchester & Marple, Sold to 'Brown' Manchester
12/1880 30 Star M/cr 491 Goods Boat - Manchester & Macclesfield, Still in existence /36
12/1881 31 Dove M/cr 521 Goods Boat - Manchester & Macclesfield, BW - RB31 Nwn, Destroyed in fire at Portland Basin 1972
7/1882 32 Hawk M/cr 537 Goods Boat - Manchester & Bugsworth, Sold to 'Gorman' Manchester
3/1883 33 Sarah M/cr 546 Goods Boat - Manchester & Macclesfield, Sold to 'Gorman' Manchester
2/1884 34 Alice M/cr 552 Goods Boat - Manchester & Marple, Lodge boat 5/1898, Still in existence /29
  42 Jenny Lind   Bank Boat - Ashton Canal, Repaired /1885, Still in existence /11
8/1886 35 Nymph M/cr 608 Goods Boat - Manchester & Marple, To A Wood, Sowerby Bridge
11/1886 36 Ceres M/cr 616 Goods Boat - Manchester & Macclesfield, To A Wood, Sowerby Bridge after 4/1891
1/1888 37 Ajax M/cr 628 Goods Boat - Manchester & Bugsworth, To Abraham Hartley, Hollinwood 12/1897
4/1889   Intrepid   Survey Boat - Fairfield, still in existence 10/44
  40 Centaur   Broken up
  41 Juno   Bank Boat - Macclesfield Canal, Broken up 1892
(Built) 6/1891   Ernest    
(Built) 1911
8
Mary   Ex Buxton Lime Co, converted to hand dredger /43. Believed burnt at Gorton 1963
(Built) 1917   Joseph   Ex Buxton Lime Co by /24, rebuilt to steam dredger 1924. Still in existence /52
(Built) 1917   Betty   Ex Buxton Lime Co by /24. Broken up and burned late 1960's below lock 6 at Bosley
(Built) 1918 9 Joel   Ex Buxton Lime Co by /26, Rebuilt to Motor Boat /29, Broken up after 8/48
(Built) 1901-5   Trojan   Ex Anderton Co by 4/33. BW - RB46 Nwn, Broken up 1975
(Built) 1901-5   Tyrian   Ex Anderton Co by 4/33, Hand dredge boat
(Built) 1901-5   Medic   Ex Anderton Co by /36, BW - RB16 Nwn, To PFCS/ACC 1972
(Built) 1901-5   Istrian   Ex Anderton Co by /36
(Built) 1901-5   Scotia/Scoatia   Motor 18hp, Ex Anderton Co by /36, sunk in Whatcroft Flash and now in 2 pieces at Runcorn
c1915   Agnes   Built Jinks, Hand dredger, Still in existence 10/44
c1915   Alice   Built Jinks, Hand dredger, Still in existence 10/44
1915   Maria   Built at Jinks' Marple, cost £155. This is the boat that remains in existence
  35 Henry   By 10/37, Broken up and burned below lock 6 at Bosley 1960's
    Cecil   By 10/37, Still in existence 10/44
    Martha   From Runcorn by 5/44, Still in existence 5/48
    Jane   From Runcorn by 10/44, Still in existence 8/52
8/1948 9 Joel   BW - CS/9/Nwn, Motor Boat, to PFCS/ACC 1972
    President   By /48, Motor Boat, BW - CS/15/Nwn
  Wanderer By /48, Motor Boat
  Scythia By /61, Weedcutter, BW - WC/2/Nwn

Istrian or Tyrian was sunk at Macclesfield Bridge 41 by 6/65, gone by /68


There were also seven Ice Boats in 1890 allocated as under:

Stockport Canal
Bardsley Canal
Peak Forest Canal bottom level
Peak Forest Canal top level
Peak Forest Canal Bugsworth
Macclesfield Canal Bollington
Macclesfield Canal Bosley/Congleton


Joel
The original Joel in Lock 17 Ashton Canal, 1936

These were all wooden boats except for President, Scythia and possibly Wanderer, many lasted until well after the Second World War and yet few photographs survive. If you have any old photographs of maintenance boats on the Macclesfield and adjacent canals I would be very grateful to receive copies or the opportunity to make copies.

boat
Scotia with Sunday School party at Bollington on the Macclesfield Canal


Medic at Dukinfield 5-3-1972 Photo: Harold Bode via Alan Kick

Can anyone add to this information? I would welcome any further details that you may be able to supply on any maintenance boat on the Ashton, Peak and Macclesfield canals or the history of traffic and trade on these waterways. If you can help please let me know.


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© David Kitching 2014

Last updated 17.03.2014