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 were on display in 2019.



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.

NB Sculptor

Picture: 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



Ariel was built by WJ Yarwoods & Sons of Northwich in 1935 for Midlands and Coast Canal Carriers as a 70ft composite motor boat paired with butty boat "Taurus".

When the company dissolved she passed into the ownership of Fellows, Morton & Clayton, with whom she remained until nationalisation.

She was cut into two circa 1970 when she joined the maintenance fleet, with the bow section being destroyed following a flood on the River Weaver in 1980.

She was sold into private ownership in 1994 and given a heavy restoration, then sold to her present owner in 2009, who put her back into service carrying coal and diesel on the Bridgewater Canal.

nb ariel.jpg

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