Working boats of the UK Waterways

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Willow Wren Photos

Wagtail had been named Freda when built by FMC in 1928 and is here pictured northbound with timber.

Here she is heading southbound carrying a heavier less bulky cargo.

Warbler carrying small coal 


As she is today with a small conversion and very smartly turned out

Redshank and Greenshank here approaching the mill Blisworth.

Greenshank again, this time passing a ploughing tractor.

A nice colour shot of Greenshank nearing Hillmorton this time.

Mallard, motor with butty Kestrel at Stoke Bruerne.

  Quail and Kingfisher northbound with timber.

Quail carrying coal this time at Mill bridge nr Blisworth

Two shots of Moorhen well laden.

Bunting ex Dudley GUCC


Teal had been built as butty Grimsby in 1910 at Saltley for FMC

Teal again.

Crane was so named in 1924 when built of iron at Yarwoods and kept her name when joining the W.W. fleet in 1956.

Heron was originally an LMS butty named Caleb a station boat.

Kestrel had been built as Triagulum in 1936.  You can see here the remains of the limestone- transhipping wharf near the tunnel mouth at Blisworth.

Snipe an iron composite butty after a time with W.W. was eventually purchased by the Black Country Living Museum at Dudley, renovated and renamed to the original name of Kildare and paired with the historic steamer President, regularly cruising the canals in Summer.

Snipe as she is today renamed and restored.

Built as Dunstable sold out of GUCC renamed DUNSTON then on to WW renamed SWAN. Seen here southbound with coal.

Two shots of Dabchick one running light the other loaded

Grebe originally called Antelope was built by Yarwoods for FMC in 1923.

Avocet was earlier called Raven and had been built in 1917 by FMC at Uxbridge.

Shovellor on the right here was built in the 1930’s for FMC and originally called Bascote.

Shovellor empty northbound near Candle bridge.

Part of Willow Wren dock with assorted boats at Braunston.

Cygnet, butty, joined the fleet having previously been with Cowburn and Cowpar and G.H. Waddington.

HAWKESBURY and the steerer is Roger Hatchard, his wife Jean (nee Collins, Daughter of and Jim and Doris Collins off Blue Line's STANTON & BELMONT amongst others) is probably down in the back cabin. Rogers boat was always turned out absolutely immaculately to the point that other boaters used to call it the 'fair ground organ'. After leaving Willow Wren in about 1968, Roger and Jean bought the little Woolwich butty HYADES off Clive and Pat Stevens and lived in her back cabin at the top of the old thirteen in Brum then he went to work for British Waterways and moved into the lock cottage there next door to young Charlie Atkins and Violet. A couple of years later he moved down onto the Severn to become the lock keeper at Diglas until he retired about 2006. He now owns the tug Leadus, ex front end of GU butty LEPUS. Source M.E.

Butty Cygnus approaching Blisworth mill.

Dunlin here just completing a docking

Dunlin here in action

(All pictures with the kind permission of J.Payler)


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