The second part of my 2004 article for the then Historic Narrow Boat Owners Club. As before, please feel free to correct any errors in the comments. The photos are ones that I had in my collection at that time (some of which I took myself.)
Steel hull, built at Yarwoods, Northwich. Yard no 450. Launched 17/03/34. Cabined at Saltley. Commissioned 05/34 Registered Birmingham 1552. FMC fleet no 314.
This is undoubtedly the most interesting story of any of the class. After a period as a single motor, the boat had the stern off and was converted to butty in 1951. It was photographed at Gnosall in 1957 being towed in a line of three with two motors (Kangaroo at the front and Roach in the middle) ahead of it. This was apparently a common practice at this time. It later had the bow cut off square in order to be used for maintenance. It was subsequently converted back to a motor with the butty stern now used as the bow with only minor further modification. A full-length steel cabin was also added. The boat was also renamed to Leopard at some stage. It is now moored at Oldbury Wharf, but easily missed due to the extensive modifications, which make it virtually unrecognisable.
Steel hull, built at Yarwoods, Northwich. Yard no 451. Launched and left yard 09/04/34. Cabined at Saltley. Commissioned 06/34 Registered Birmingham 1553. FMC fleet no 315.
This boat was converted to a butty in 1951, along with Dace. Possibly paired with Perch, but this is not confirmed. It is now a motor again, with the original stern shape restored. The boat was subsequently renamed Elaine and liveried by the Bath Stone Co. It is now in FMC livery and called Dory again, with an AS2 engine fitted. The boat is based at Northwich after a change of owner in 2002, having previously been at Great Haywood.
Iron hull, built at Yarwoods, Northwich. Yard no 458. Launched 23/06/34. Left 25/06/34. Cabined (inc. fore cabin) at Saltley. Commissioned 08/34 Registered Birmingham 1555. FMC fleet no 316.
Was moved from Northwich to become part of the Boat Museum collection in 1979. (BW removed all the derelict/sunk hulls from their yard just before the IWA National Rally in August of that year.) Is now in private ownership and based at Stretton on the North Oxford. Unconverted in FMC livery.
Iron hull, built at Yarwoods, Northwich. Yard no 459. Launched 14/07/34. Left 19/07/34. Cabined (inc. fore cabin) at Saltley. Commissioned 10/34 Registered Birmingham 1556. FMC fleet no 317.
Became part of the 10 boat (4 motors, 6 butties) Midland fleet, formed from the North-western fleet in the early 50’s. Main cargo was coal from Brownhills to the Royal Worcester factory and a backload of broken pottery moulds from Worcester to a local dump. This carried on until 1961, when the trade ceased after tolls were put up and the fleet was absorbed into the Southern fleet. BW now use the boat for maintenance, based at Greensforge on the Staffs & Worcs. Still original length, but has had the back cabin replaced with a modern BW steel cabin.
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