Historic Boats

Historic narrowboats at Crick Boat Show

Each year several historic boats make the journey to be part of Crick Boat Show. These  are the boats that will be on display in 2017.


A Small Northwich motor boat by W.J. Yarwood, Sculptor was built in 1935. It was registered on 5th May 1936 and its cabin was described as a dwelling to accommodate 'three persons or man, woman and two children'. It was paired with butty Toucan and delivered to the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company as part of a fleet of 12 pairs. Sculptor and Toucan began their cargo carrying days taking general goods from the Midlands to London.

NB SculptorSculptor was commissioned by the Ministry of War Transport department in 1943 to be used as a fire fighting facility based on the Grand Union Canal in Greenford, Middlesex. The alterations made to accommodate pumps are still evident on its hull.

After the end of the war Sculptor was returned to the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company and in 1948, when the canals were nationalised, was passed to the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive's South Eastern Carrying Fleet where extensive work was carried out on the boat's bottom and keelson. Shortly after it became a maintenance boat for the Engineering Department at Northwich. Its engine was replaced in 1960 with a 2-cylinder air-cooled Lister HB2 diesel engine.

Sculptor retired from the maintenance fleet in 1985 and was restored at Ellesmere Port, returning to its Grand Union Canal Carrying Company black and red wartime livery. Since 1986 the boat has been located at the Canal Museum in Stoke Bruerne as a floating exhibit. In 2012 it was re-bottomed with a wooden hull and is now one of very few composite boats in existence.

Sculptor is maintained by Friends of the Canal Museum who take it to events to help publicise their work. The Friends will be at the Crick Boat Show to talk to visitors about the history of the boat and canal carrying.


Sagitta (Latin for 'Arrow') was built in 1935 by Yarwoods of Northwich on the River Weaver and was delivered to the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Limited. By early 1944, Sagitta was no longer in service and upon investigation, the boat was found to be in a very poor state, partly sunk and without an engine. In 1948, on nationalisation, British Waterways took over Sagitta and changed the livery to their blue and delivered cargo including coal and then in 1974 became part of the British Waterways maintenance fleet.

In 1991, Sagitta was taken over by Staffordshire County Council who converted the hold into a floating classroom, moved the engine and repainted the boat. Paired up with the butty, Carina, Sagitta attended events around the Staffordshire canals, for education on water safety and the history of the canal system. Around 2003, the boat was put into British Waterways' Heritage Fleet and was taken to events on the BCN by the 'Friends of the Working Boats'. Dudley Canal Trust took over the responsibility of Sagitta in 2009, with the intention of taking the boat to canal rallies around the country, promoting the history and aims of the Trust as well as their boat trips into the Dudley Tunnel and Limestone Mines. That year, work to return the boat to its original 1935 GUCCC colours and livery was completed. Sagitta is moored just outside the Black Country Living Museum when not touring.

Nutfield & Raymond

Raymond was built on Barlow's Dock in Braunston in 1958 and was the last wooden working boat to be built in the UK. It was launched the same year, in the hands of Arthur and Rose Bray and Rose's son, Ernie Kendall. Nutfield was built in 1936 by W.J. Yarwood & Sons of Northwich, for the Grand Union company.

Summer 1969, Winkwell top lock. Rose Bray on board Raymond

The two boats were brought together by Blue Line in 1968 when the aging motor boat, Roger was replaced by the ex-GUCCCo Nutfield. Following the contraction in the use of the waterways, eventually only one contract remained for the pair: the delivery of coal from Warwickshire to the jam factory of Kearley & Tonge Ltd, in Southall. This too came to an end in 1970 with the closure of the factory and, with it, the era of cargo carrying on the canals.

After the end of the 'Jam 'Ole' contract, Nutfield was sold and used as a passenger trip boat. The Brays continued to live in Raymond for many years, eventually passing it on to Jim & Doris Collins. By 1993, Raymond had deteriorated to the point of sinking and was towed away for eventual restoration.

The Friends of Raymond was formed in 1996 and took over ownership and responsibility for Raymond, which was in such poor condition that it had to be dismantled in situ at the Black Country Museum. In 2000, Phil Babb completed a total rebuild and, for several years, the restored boat was shown around the canals in its original Barlow's livery. In 2003, the Friends also acquired Nutfield and reunited one of the last pairs to work on our canals. Raymond was repainted in Blue Line colours in 2007 and now awaits a complete repaint. Restoration of Nutfield is progressing slowly, as funds become available, but is now resplendent in the old Blue Line livery from 1968.

Find out more about Nutfield and Raymond at The Friends of Raymond website 


Purton was built by W.J. Yarwood of Northwich, Cheshire in September 1936 as part of an order of 38 Large Northwich steel motors for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company. It's fleet number was 162 and it was originally paired with butty Purley, built by Walkers of Rickmansworth.

In September 1941 Purton and new butty Stoulton were involved in an accident at Sandiacre Lock on the Erewash Canal where the bottom gates burst open and the pair was stuck for over a week. Luckily the crew and cargo of coal were unharmed by the incident and despite the boats being jammed at an odd angle the crew, Mr and Mrs Alec Wilson, unbelievably continued living onboard.

The original National diesel engine was replaced in 1962 with the present Lister HA2 by British Waterways at Knottingley, Yorkshire. The boat was also then shortened to a length of 57ft 6in. It remained with BW until 1989 when it went to West Riding Canal Carriers, a private carrying company. Purton was a working boat for 62 years until its present owners purchased it in 1998 on the Kennet & Avon Canal.

Since being acquired by Alan Rose, a considerable amount of work has been undertaken to preserve and maintain the vessel - including the roses and castles artwork on the doors which was painted by esteemed signwriter Ron Hough.


After nationalisation in 1948, Aldgate was transferred to the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive of the British Transport Commission (later British Waterways) and leased to Willow Wren Canal Transport Services. Working in the South Eastern division until well into the sixties, Aldgate was at one time paired with the butty Brighton working up to Whitworths flour mills at Wellingborough with Ron Green as steerer. After the decline of Willow Wren she was sold to Alfred Matty & Sons of Oldbury, and used on the phosphorus waste run from Allbright & Wilson to Dudley Port. Following Alfred Matty's death, Aldgate was abandoned on a disused arm in Oldbury and allowed to sink.

She was recovered in the early 1980s by Steve Priest, and after substantial rebuilding was sold to P. Ayres who used her, trading as Colne Valley Carriers. In 2007 Aldgate and Angel were bought as a pair by Nick Wolfe, whose care, time and money (aided by a grant from the Register of National Historic Ships) has brought Aldgate to the condition she is in today. Nick now works Aldgate under the name Nick Wolfe Canal Carrying. Aldgate parted company with Angel in 2008 but the two boats can occasionally be seen together at Badseys Wharf, Hillmorton and will be at Crick this year as a pair.

Technical data: length 71ft 6in; width 7ft 0.5in; draft: 3ft (empty), 4ft plus (loaded); gauged for 41 tons; engine - air cooled Petter PD 2 (20hp @ 1500rpm); gearbox -  Parsons 3:1



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