BCN Tugs

"History and Evolution of the BCN Tug "

"Includes Tugs from other canals: Some of which are more like the BCN Tug in our minds eye than the real BCN Tug"

Over the years in the minds of many a specific type of boat design called a BCN Tug seems to have evolved. In the minds eye of many it appears that this was a design of boat that evolved in the rarified waters of the BCN a mythical class of boat that many today aspire to imitate. Many boat builders sell the idea of a tug to many a new boat buyer, some hang the label replica BCN Tug onto there product.
In reality no such specific design of tug ever existed, our fore fathers when faced with the need for a Tug, used what ever boat was available, shortening some boats or just adapting others. In time some companies built boats for their own needs each boat loosely resembling others in the company fleet, but none of these boats when compared to each other or other companies boats could be said to fit a formula that could be classified as one design. The main charactistic being that they were low in the water and rather crude in appearence.
So the BCN Tug came in many shapes and sizes and colours and was not the romantic class of boat that we give to the name today. They had to work hard for a living, had to be fit for purpose, some had a livery that stated the company, but the paint work on these craft was never as the shinny polished and cherished examples we have left today. Indeed the look, shape and general appearance of the boats left today is a result of years of changing the design as the roles changed or a new engine was fitted, the hull shorten or lengthen. So again the design is a bit of a myth having evolved with each change of owner or role. The following introduction and section has been put together from information supplied by Martin O'Keeffe, and Jeff Barley pulling together information from various sources. Martin a past Chairman of the Society is the owner of a design of boat based on the modern view of a BCN Tug, painted in the colours and style of a BCN Carrier, Leonard Leigh.


The long lock free sections of the BCN system known as the Wolverhampton and Birmingham levels allowed for easy navigation especially with power haulage. This possibility was recognised in the early part of the 19th century when an entrepreneur suggested the use of tugs on the BCN, although there is no specific record when put into service. Of course steam tugs were used in some of the long tunnels on the Trent and Mersey and the Grand Junction Canals, also on the Coventry Canal for tugging boats in the coal fields.

A steam powered narrow boat required a larger crew with an engineman to tend the boiler and the boats would have been expensive to construct given the steam plant neeeded. The coming of the internal combustion engine made powered narrow boats a more practical solution and prior to the First World War a number of motor narrow boats were constructed

The BCN were asked to provide power haulage through Gosty Hill Tunnel in 1912 and had a tug designed by ship architects James Pollock and Son, who were also the agent for the Swedish Bolinder Company. Bolinder supplied semi diesel engines(other wise known as Hot Bulb) and the design prepared for the BCN included a Bolinder engine.

However the real impetus for the introduction of tugs on the BCN was the First World War. There was a national shortage of horses and labour, and at the same time a large increase in manufacturing. Thus the coal factors W H Bowater and Co are likely to have been the first user of a tug on the BCN. By the early 20th Century coal production had moved from the traditional areas of the black country to the Cannock Coalfield. Thus tugs could be used to haul boats along the Wolverhampton level which served the Cannock Coalfield, Walsall and Wolverhampton and as far as Tipton, Oldbury and Smethwick. Thus a firm as Bowater's who principally supplies industries and the Electric and Gas works could make good use of a tug.

Others followed and the next user may well have been Chance and Hunt the Oldbury chemical makers who had two tugs supplied during and just after the war. However in the inter war years the main use was servicing the electricity generating stations at Wolverhampton and Walsall. Firms such as Leonard Leigh, Ernest Thomas and Yates Brothers were involved in this trade. Thus tugs saw use until the final days of commercial traffic on the BCN when the power stations finally ceased to take coal by boat in the 1960's.

Some of the tugs were purpose designed, others were shortened carrying narrowboats. They were built in wood and in iron/steel. Some were built on BCN boat docks and others further away at shipyards. But what they all did was provide a distinctive aspect of the carrying era on the BCN.

In more recent times the tug in various forms have been seen by enthusiast pleasure boaters as a means to have a modern boat that retained the looks of a real working boat with reasonable cabin space.


This section is very much work in progress and both Martin and Jeff would be pleased to receive any corrections/updates/further pictures, and especially engine details. Please e-mail to:
Much of the information from the website.

Further Information

Also see Boundary Post Section as from BP 177 Summer 2007, Martin starts a series on the history of tugs. Part one:- Tale of Two Georges.

Further Information: Colours for Tugs, compiled for Edition 181 of Boundary Post the 40th Anniversary Edition.

Whilst running the society shop at events such as the Crick Boat Show one of the regular questions from visitors stopping by the society stand was what colours were BCN tugs? My simplistic answer to this question would be green and red or grey and black.
The question deserves a more complete response! Firstly of course one of the attractions of our canal network is indeed the colourful boats. The fleets of the large carrying companies each with their own distinctive colours and lettering schemes together with the decoration of roses and castles or the individual schemes of the No.1. boatman who proundly displayed their own names on the cabin side, are the waterways of the past. The canals today still feature pleasure craft painted in a wide variety of colours, some tradtional and some not.

The biggest constraint for the boat painter's years ago were the limited variety of colours available and indeed this likely to have been the reason for the two basic colour schemes seen on BCN tugs. During the 19th century these were limited to a few colours, blue and red, and when yellow became readily available green in addition to white and black. Thus the colour palate was somewhat restricted. Also the Victorian's had ideas that colour represented wealth especially green and red. These colours were used as decoration in the home. Thus the conservative canal boat owners may have seen green and red as an indication of thier own standing in the community perhaps longer than may have been the case in normal society.

The first tug on the BCN was of course a tunnel tug and whilst I have not found details of paint schemes it is generally thought that BCN boats were painted in grey. There is a suggestion that this was war surplus paint available after the great war, but of course the London and North Western Railway (who controlled the BCN) used grey for much of its huge fleet of railway wagons. Thus grey paint would be readily available from that source and presumably cheaply given the large quantities being used by the railway.

Another early tug, Bowater's 'Primus', which I discussed in the last issue of BP, the cabin was likely to have been framed out in red and panelled in green. This was very much the traditional style for painting those BCN 'joey' boats that were fitted with cabins. However I say likely as only black and white pictures of 'Primus' are available to us and these can be easily misinterpreted. In addition the decoration consisted of large lettering for the owner's name and the tug's name which made good use of the large expanse of cabin side which was only obstructed by small portholes.
Interestingly the rear cabin doors were blocked out with the 'castle' scene normally associated with the long distance boats.

Whilst mentioning cabin doors the style normally thought of as being a BCN one are paisley patterns in the centre door panel and circular designs where the 'castle', would normally be. The paisley design is very old and in antiquity it was familiar not only in India but also in Celtic tradition. With the growth of trade with India in the 19th century garments such as shawls were imported from Kashmir and proved very popular and such was the demand that textile companies in Great Britain produced shawls with these patterns, including factories in Paisley in Scotland. The Ernie Thomas tug 'Enterprise' is decorated in this way, with the main colour scheme being green and red.

Turning to Edward Paget-Tomlinson's colour profiles we have to illustrate the green and red scheme, the Cresswell tug 'Coronation' built in the 1930's at George Hales boatdock at Anchor Bridge in Oldbury. The tug had been repainted at some point in its life as there are illustrations of it when built in a different lettering scheme with the counter decorated with some vert attractive diamond motifs. For the grey and black scheme we have 'Christopher James' the Leonard Leigh tug built at the Salford Bridge boat dock of Spencer Abbott. Leonard Leigh tugs were painted in a variety of colour schemes featuring grey and white and grey and black, one of their earlier prewar tugs the 'Joan II' was grey overall framed in white with large white block letters, whilst their later tugs such as 'Christopher James' featured grey framed with black, picked out in white. However the grey scheme could be very utiltarian and the Keays/Stevens partnership painted the very attractive Keays built tug 'Judith Ann' in a very dour grey overall with somw simple lettering.

Chance and Hunts the Oldbury based chemical company painted its two Walkers (of Rickmansworth) tugs in a very attractive deep blue overall scheme with large yellow (or gold) block lettering. Chance and Hunts passed into ICI conglomerate in the 1030's and certainly ICI used the more familiar red and green during their ownership of these tugs.

From this I hope you can see that there is more to the colours of the BCN tug than first meets the eye.

Tugs:-Coronation and Christopher James by Edward Paget-Tomlinson

Just some of the Tugs

Tunnel Tug: BW.....
Martin refers to Bolinder powered tunnel tugs in his introduction, well here is a photo of one. Don't know at present if taken on BCN and the tunnel is unknown. Martin mentioned Gosty tunnel but the brick work of the tunnel does'nt look right for Gosty as it is today, could this have been taken prior to the tunnel being lenghtened, and the tug house built?.
Looks like she may be designed to have a propeller at each end as her bow and stern look very similar?.
There was a tunnel tug at Gosty called Goerge, long since gone but whose description sounds a lot like the tug depicited here.
2007:- Shown a plan of 'Goerge' showing her twin propellers and rounded cabin roof.
For the history of this and other tugs refer to Martins articles in the society magazine Boundary Post starting from BP 177 Summer 2007. Can be read on this site in Boundary Post section.

Bolinder powered tunnel Tug Plan of design of Goerge

"Alfred Matty"

BCN Tug Governor: BW No 75660
Know here is a BCN Tug that probably fits every bodies idea of the design qualities in a BCN Tug. Low in the water, that gives the boat an almost sinister look as it glides through the water, short cabin long tank styled fore deck. Large engine for size of boat in this case a Gardner 3LW. An ex Matty boat that is know in private hands she was built in 1941 at Bumble Hole, Netherton near Dudley by Harris Brothers, one of sixteen tugs built there.
Was originally built as an ice breaker tug with a rivetted iron hull, her ice breaker pedigree can be felt as soon as you step onto her, she is very fragile in the water ie she rocks very easily compared to a normal boat.
First worked for James Yates Co at Cannock pulling coal butties, and was only acquired by Alfred Matty & Sons of Tipton in 1950. She worked the BCN along side other Matty tugs of the time Pacific, Atlantic and Oxford. The company ceased trading in the mid 1970's to become the crane hire company Dewsbury & Proud still operating out of the old canal basin in Coseley today. The bare hull lay in the yard at Coseley for a number of years until 1986 when she was bought and had her existing steel cabin fitted by her new owner, the Gardner engine being fitted at this time.
Her present livery is from the 1950's in the colours of a Matty tug, she has had very different liveries both before and since the restored paint job seen today was decided on.. A note from her private owner displayed in one of her port holes states that she is fitted today with the barest of modern admenties, but is used regularly and ranges far and wide visiting many rallies etc.

The Govenor

Tug Atlantic: BW No 71569
One of a group of tugs built by Harris Brothers of Netherton around 1940 and one of a series of tugs ordered during the Second World War by the Ministry of Supply presumably to ensure traffic on the canal. The hull had rounded chines and a fine bow making it suitable for ice breaking. It was originally owned by Yates Brothers of Norton Canes who operated a very large fleet of boats as well as a boat dock at Norton Canes. Used on coal traffic originating at Hednesford Basin at the end of the Cannock Extension. Passed to Alfred Matty, thence via British Waterways and then into private ownership.


"Stewart & Lloyds Tugs"

Tugs in fleet:-
Tug No 1---Tug No 1
Tug No 2---Algo.
Tug No 3---Vesta.
Tug No 4---Pacific.
Tug No 5---Bittel.
The above list may cause some argument in some quarters as the tugs when renamed by BW at the time of the fleet being sold off appear to have been renamed with little or no written record.
This list is thought to be right, any other listing needs to be proved?.

All the tugs together: gathering Halesowen 2007

Tug No 1: BW...
Today owned by Tony Clarke, who bought the boat in 1980 in a very derelict state from Alfred Matty of Coseley. The 40ft tug hull was re plated and the wooden cabin totally re built. Following all of this the 15hp Bolinder was fitted, that gives this tug a very distintive sound. Believed built around 1900 by Harris of Netherton as a purpose built BCN tug/iceboat for Noah Hingleys Ironworks.
Of riveted construction from 3/8 inch wrought iron plate, Tug No 1 was shortened to her present lenght of 40ft at the Stewarts and Lloyds Bilston works in 1926.

Tug No 1: At Tug gathering Halesowen 2007

Tug No 2: Algo: BW No 54556
Built in 1935 by Harland & Wolff again originally as a full lenght motor boat owned by the Grand Union carrying company, having fleet numbers overtime of GUCC 005 and 12435.
First registered in December 1935 at Brentford reg no 554.
Originally named as "Stanton No 51" being owned and worked at the Stanton Iron Works in 1940.
Registered in 1947 at Ilkeston reg no 99 and in the same year became Tug no 2 when sold to Stewart & Lloyds having been shorten to 40 feet.
She remained at Halesowen following S&L becoming British Steel and was only sold by them in 1980 in a very poor condition. Was completely restored by Dennis Cooper of Norton Canes that finished in 1986. Engine in 2002 noted as a National DM2.
Today owned by Jerry Ashplant who bought the boat in 2004.

Algo: Steve Bingham

Tug No 3: Vesta: BW No 48061
Built by Harland & Wolff in August 1935 originally as a Grand Union motor boat with a iron composite hull, to be paired with the butty 295 Juno. First registered in Brentford, Reg no 530 in Sept 1935, with a gauge no of 12472
In 1941 re named as "Stanton No 61" working at the Stanton Iron Works.
In 1947 was shortened from a full lenght boat to her present lenght by Stewart & Lloyds when she joined the fleet of tugs at Coombeswood becoming Tug no 3.
After leaving S & L had various roles finally renamed Vesta and today is owned by Mike Woodhouse who purchased her in 2005, has had her hull re bottomed in steel by Mel Davis as well as an engine rebuild.
With a draught of 3ft and 40ft in lenght she still retains her original National DM2 engine fitted in 1935 by Harland and Wolff.

Vesta: Shorten Tug in S&L livery: Halesowen 2007

Tug No 4: Pacific: BW...
Sister boat to Bittel: built at the same time, her hull at Yarwoods and super structure at Harris Bros. Present engine fitted as Bittel a Lister HA with it is believed the same transmission unit. In her working days at Stewart and Lloyds did not have a name, was just known as Tug no 4.
Similar use as Bittel on the coal field run and about the steel works.
Again became a BW boat around 1958, she worked alongside Bittel and was given her name Pacific.
After leaving BW became part of the Matty fleet based at Coseley around 1960. After the Matty fleet was broken up became neglected until rescued by Roger Farington who rebuilt her hull. John Pattle bought her off Roger in 2001 and has spent years restoring her cabin and totally re building the engine. Finally fully restored in 2006 when at a launching at Watford she again joined Bittell after being built side by side to her sister over 72 years ago. Hull lenght 40ft with a relatively shallow draught of 2ft 8ins.

Pacific: next to Bittel at her relaunch: Steve Bingham

Tug No 5: Bittel: BW No....
Sister boat to Pacific, Built around the same time: Hull built 1934 by Yarwoods, then taken to Harris Brothers, Bumble Hole Netherton to have cabin and superstructure added: 40ft long: with a 2ft 8ins draught: HA Lister Engine delivering 33hp @ 1800 rpm thro a Blackstone gearbox with a 24 inch dia prop. Original engine a 4 cylinder Fordson Engine, the Lister being fitted when the boat pasted into BW ownership.
Owned by Stewart and Lloyds the iron and steel makers who operated Bilston ironworks and Coombeswood Tube works. At Coombeswood a fleet of open day boats was used to store tubes in and transport to the adjacent Great Western Railway interchangwe at Hawne Basin. Known in those days as Stewart & Lloyds Tug No.5.
Worked between Halesowen (Coombeswood Steel Works) and Cannock Coalfields towing up to eight joey's each loaded with up to twenty tons of coal.
Bought by BW in June 1958 with an asset number of 80384, present Lister engine fitted around 1960 when owned by BW when she aquiried her present name Bittel rather than tug 5.
Mid 1970's to about 1985 used for BW by Charlie Atkins Jnr son of Chocalate Charlie Atkins fame, boat used for general maintenence jobs and moving boats.
Today boat part of BW historical fleet run by the Dudley Canal Trust, has recently been excessively restored and repainted in as near to her original S & L colours as is possible. Is nearly always in the company of Steve Bigham who cares for her and has done for years, on behalf of the Dudley Trust.


Tug Reginald: BW No 75361
Included in this section as she displays all the features of a S&L tug. Has it written on her side and she certainly looks the part and is a great shape. This boat certainly did work at the works in Coombeswood but not as a tug but as an open joey No 95. As a joey she was sold of in 1976 to early members of BCNS, taken to Canal Transport Services at Norton Canes. Dennis Cooper then converted her into a 45 foot long boat, with a BCN tug style cabin and deck arrangement, fitting a Lister SR2 engine. She was then registered as 75361 and given the livery of a S& L tug. In her early days she attended many of the early BCNS boat gatherings but was never sign written. Later sold on to new owners who had her sign written as she is today. There is a photo of her in 1988 during a breach when the canal drained moored at the Allens yard in Oldbury.
Photo re produced here.
Again a boat that has been converted from a true working boat but not into the role that she now proports to be, but never the less a great looking boat, with an interesting history.

Is she; she certainly looks the part 1988 at Oldbury Alens Yard when canal breached

"Leonard Leigh Boats"

Tug Christopher James: BW No 64324
Built in 1946 at Spencer Abbotts boat dock at Salford Bridge. Les Allen was the foreman boat builder at Spencer Abbott before moving to Oldbury to set up in his own right as Les Allen & Sons.
Used by Leonard Leigh's on the Wolverhampton Level power station coal supply traffic.
Seen in this photograph moored next to another Leigh Tug James Loader. Christopher James being the nearest to the camera of the two grey livery boats.
Christopher James was owned for a time by one of the BCNS Vice Presidents Eric Foakes.

Side by side with James Loader BCM

Tug Helen: BW No 60541
Built in 1942 by Harris Brothers, Netherton. Has a steel hull fitted with a Bolinder engine.
Orginally built for and owned by Oldbury coal merchants Joseph Holloway's.
Ownership transferred to Leonard Leigh when Holloway's transferred their contract with Oldbury Tube makers Accles and Pollock.
Used to tow the Caldon Canal trip boat with name of 'Birdswood' in the 1960's.
Lenghtened in recent times. Is now in private hands and is much cared for.

Helen; at Crick

Tug James Loader: BW No 67459
Built by J Worsey (Walsall) in 1946 hull construction Qak on elm. Originally fitted with a Ford 56hp petrol/paraffin engine. Later changed to current engine 28hp Gardner 2LW. Operated by Leonard Leigh Company, was Tug No 8 in fleet.
Used on the Power station coal supply traffic on the Wolverhampton Level.

James Loader

Modern Tug Hecla
A good example of a modern version of a BCN Tug: Martin's Tug built by the Allens of Oldbury in the Mid 1990's has almost perfect cabin to deck lenght proportions for this type of boat. A design that today may not suit many peoples need to be able to pack all the house hold mod cons into a boat, but it does look great on the water. Just 48ft in lenght with a deck 15ft long it certainly looks like we think the boats of old should have looked like.. Powered by a twin diesal engine in a traditional engine room with a back cabin design she has all the features we today attribute to a BCN tug.
Painted in a very distinctive way from a paint scheme designed by Edward Paget-Tomlinson based on the Leonard Leigh scheme used on their tug JOAN II.

Modern styled Tug Hecla The distintive Sign writing

Phoenix our BCN Work Boat
Just to round off this Leonard Leigh section our work boat Phoenix not a Tug replica but based on a BW work boat of modern concept, has her paint work livery very much inspired by Leonard Leigh BCN boats. Its a colour scheme that can in interpretion have both white or black edging to the grey panels and is a livery seen more and more on modern boats.

Phoenix full of rubbish pulled from the canal: Just what she was designed for

"Ernest Thomas"

Tug Birchills:BW....
Along with Enterprise below was owned by Ernest Thomas who constructed them both in the 1940's from cut down hulls of Fellows Morton Clayton steamers. Ernie Thomas owned a large fleet of boats and provided tugs on the run to the Birchills and Wolverhampton power stations. Ernie had a boat dock at Birchills at the top of the Walsall lock flight. Has retained her cabin and tanker type deck proportions unlike Enterprise whose cabin was extended.
Birchills is kept at the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port.

Birchills at Ellesmere Museum

Tug Enterprise No1: BW No 78865
Iron Composite Hull.
This boat has a complicated history, being true to the fact that BCN tugs evolved from other boats rather than one true design.
Started life in 1899 as Fellows Moreton & Clayton Steamer 'Count' with a fleet no 47 as recorded in 1925.
Was given the lenght of 52ft in 1945 when she was converted into a tug by Ernie Thomas had her present engine a five cylinder Gardner L2 fitted (Eng no 29748)coupled to a Parsons HRG gearbox.. The boat was named at this time by Ernie Thomas Enterprise No 1.
Presently in private ownership, is kept at the Black Country Living Museum.

Enterprise at The Black Country Museum

"LMS Boats"

Tug Roama:BW No 78073
Built by Yarwoods in 1938 for the LMS Railway Co.
One of a number of tugs operated by the LMS became Tug No 1. Is of wooden construction and was used on the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Engine Russel Newbury DM2

Roma at Ellesmere Museum

Tug Sandbach:BW No 500526
In the livery of the LMS: Built by Yarwoods of Northwich in Febuary 1946 as a 25ft long boat. Again built as both a Tug and Ice breaker, she was lenghtened by 10ft later in 1946 to her present lenght 35ft. Is today powered by a 23hp twin Bolinder engine that has to be started manually this engine dating from around 1953, the original engine was a Russell DM 2 18hp engine. The Bolinder was fitted shortly after she was bought by the British Waterways Board and then sold into private hands in the mid 1980's.
There is a sister vessel BEESTON at the Boat Museum at Ellesmere Port. These tugs were designed by the Railway Co's marine department in Watford for use moving boats around on works being undertaken on the Shelmore embankment. Has been restored in recent years by Malcolm Braine however her appearance is now very different from that when she was built.

Fore end of Sandbach Sandbach leaving Hawne Basin 2006

"Other Tugs"

Tug Caggy:BW....
Caggy is named after the famous Oldbury based steerer and boatowner'Caggy Stevens'. It was originally thought to have been built by Harris Brothers. Has recently been restored by its current private owner who thinks it was built by Noah Hingley.
It was first owned by the coal merchant F Folkes of West Bromwich before passing into Caggy's hands. He used her for various jobs including tugging boats loaded with rubbish to tips around the BCN.

Caggy looking smart in her new livery

Tug Progress:
Built in 1936 by Peter Keay & Sons, Walsall, near to Pratts Bridge.
Built for and owned orginally for Tipton coal merchant Elwell's this wooden boat was recently restored by Jem Bates the well respected wooden boat builder and restorer.
Currently fitted with a Fowler diesel engine. May 2009: Advertised as Up for Sale on Apollo Duck

Progress at Crick boat show Fowler engine

Tug Primus:
The black and white photographs of the tug Primus looking very similar to a liesure craft of today. She fits in with the story that the company who owned her Bowaters were probably the first to use a tug on coal supply runs, yet she does not look like any other tug that came after her.
But her purpose in life is powerfully illustrated in the second picture being surrounded by full coal laden day boats.
Again from the photo it appears that with her three man crew and her large central chimney that she was a steam driven boat, but in fact she was fitted with a Kromhout semi diesel engine.
For deeper look into the history of Primus please read Martins article re Tugs in Boundary Post section issue 180

Primus looking like a steamer In amongst the coal boats

Early Bird:BW No...
Thought to have been built by Toole's and used by them, this firm were boat builders and coal merchants based on the Wednesbury Oak loop in Bilston.
Again this boat appears as a steamer with her large diameter chimney, but again she was in reality powered by an early diesel engine
Again would not look out of place in a line of todays liesure craft, certainly does'nt fit the design we attribute to a BCN tug.

Early Bird

Tug Princess Anne:BW No...
Belonging to T.S Elements. Hope to explore this boat and the company in later updates. Any info to address above in introduction.

Princess Anne? or is this Vesta as the photo has no info on it

Victory: BW No......
Came to light when in 2009 offered for sale on Apollo Duck Ad number 103609 in tug section
Built in 1911 for Fellows Moreton & Claytons as a steamer with a fleet number of 216. Is reputed to be the last composite hull ie iron sides with elm bottom to be built
Around 1927 was converted into a motor powered by a 15hp Bolinder. Stayed with FMC till 1946
Between 1947/50 sold to James Yates of Brownhills when shorten to present lenght of 52feet-6ins, remamed 'Pacific' and worked on the BCN until her working life finished.
In 1961 was converted to a pleasure boat and again renamed this time to 'Mallard'. In 1970 was totally restored with a new elm bottom and again named 'Victory'. Has been in private ownership during this period.

Victory: Photo from Apollo Duck

Tug Dot No 4/ Apollo: BW No...
Boat built in 1929 by Crichtons at Saltney Dock near Chester on the River Dee. Built as a full length horse boat for the Midland and Coast Canal Carriers of Wolverhampton (Wolverhampton reg No 1147). Converted by Harris Brothers of Netherton to a motor boat in 1936. At this time powered by a 18hp Petter Engine and was given the BCN No of 1917.
Sold in july 1939 to Fellows Moreton & Claytons and was renamed as Apollo being given the company fleet number of 349.
In May 1946 was again sold to Ernest Thomas (Walsall) Limited aquiring the No 4 tug number in that fleet her BCN number changing to 2257.
Again altered in January 1951 being shortened to 56 feet in lenght, was re engined with a Fordson engine, being re-guaged by the BCN after refit. At about this time she was again renamed becoming "Dot No 4".
In 1969 or thereabouts she was aquired by Malcolm Braine and was converted into a trip boat.
Currently owned by A & G Passenger Boats in Sheffield powered by a Lister HRW2 again having the name "Apollo". Is used as a 40 seater trip and function boat more details can be obtain on the following website:-

Dot as a tug on the BCN: with coal boats Re named Apollo: Today as a trip boat based in Sheffield

"Tugs From the Historical Boat Owners Group"

Tug Typhoon:BW No...
Built in 1944 by Harris Brothers, Bumble Hole Basin, Netherton. Built as an Ice breaker/Tug of iron hull construction.
Engine 3 cylinder Lister.
For possible photograph see note below

No BCNS photo:From site

Tug Laplander:BW No...
Built pre 1883 as an Ice breaker/Tug of wooden construction. Recorded as being repaired in 1879 on the BCN. Had BCN No 2 number.
Used in Wolverhampton in 1952. Currently has a diesal heated and steam engine.
Photographed at Thrupp in 2006 believed to be in private ownership.
For more photographs see note below

Photo at Thrupp 2006

For possible photograph and information on boats in this section plus many other Historical boats of all inland waterways boat classes please visit the below website of the Historical Narrow Boat Owners Club.:-

Tugs Being Researched: Also looking at history of boats lost re any drawings/text etc.

Tug Spitfire:BW No...61108
Built by Harris's of Netherton as an Ice breaker/Tug: Reference to her being seen in 1993 as "Spitfire No 5": Listed under her BW number as "Spitfire" on 19/Apr 05.
Would love more info if she is still about and a photo.

Photo to follow

Tug Coventry:BW No...
This Tug believed owned/being restored by Francis Stapleton, presently having a new cabin? will update when obtain info.

Stern on: Titford 2008 Bows on: Titford 2008

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