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« Tesco, litter and the Aylesbury Arm | Main | Like living in a toothpaste tube »

Sunday, 21 January 2007


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What are the costss for repair and restoration of Lucy?

Pete Boyce

LUCY is ashore at Tess Wharf - floated 4th May, lifted out 7th May. See for details.

carol miller

it saddends me to see Lucy in such a horrid state my nan used to own and work her, i remember her in her full glory she looked fantastic then such a shame she looks so bad now.There are plans to rebuild her in the not so distant future cant wait to see her then, that will be a fantastic day it will bring back so many memories for my family.


It's a cool boat, I hope it floats forever. But it really looks like it needs a lot of work! Once a boat sinks it's much harder to get it back to scratch. I know, I had a boat sink on me and it's a horrible feeling. Love the boat though.

Karen Morton

Lucy was actually paired with Narrowboat Renfrew for the last years of her working life. Renfrew is still very much out and about, and Laura Carter still drives her at the Braunston boat show. She was bought by Ann and David Morton in 1970, from Blue Line, and they have kept her as a traditional working boat, but repainted in Samuel Barlow colours by Ron Hough. I just spent the last week on Renfrew, and we passed Lucy today - but until I read this, I didn't realise that it was Lucy.

Alan Glass

Hi Andrew and owners of Lucy, Yes guys what a fine boat she is, whenever I pass through Braunston my crew always notice the dear old vessel, however I wonder what happened a few years ago, I recall the puddle banks being drained as part of the winter maintenance programme. Was Lucy moved on that occasion? and if so could this have been a window of restoration missed.
See you next week Lucy, in preparation for the Ownerships show.

Tim Savage

That sounds reasonable, a modern day haulier chipping in to restore a bit of transport history.Got to be worth a letter to Mr Stobart and other owners of large fleets,dont hold your breath though,most haulage firms will plead poverty,too much competition,diesel prices, excessive road tax,eastern european fleets working for less ect ect.could Reg actually be moved with out it sinking or breaking if craned out of the water ?

Andrew Denny

Not to worry, Carl. Granny Buttons *is* a clone! Actually, I call it 'just another floating cottage'. But then, working boats were, in their day, clones too. The old boats themselves, as I see it, were just like trucks. (Also, let's face it, the modern truck is a wonder of technology)

It's the work of people like Frank Nurser who made them individual. When the oil runs out, there'll eventually only be one or two Eddie Stobart trucks left, and they'll be in exactly the same position as Lucy. Only, without the artistry of someone like Nurser or Hough.

Incidentally, if I was Eddie Stobart's marketing guy, I'd sponsor the restoration of one of these boats, praising them as being the honorable predecessor of the modern lorry. And putting a discreet 'Eddie Stobart' logo - or perhaps Norbert Dentressangle or whatever...

Carl Taft

Sorry Andrew, meant to add. My 'clone boat' comment was uncalled for because, my old boats may have kept the canals open for you, but your modern boats are now keeping them open for me.

Carl Taft

Hello Andrew
AS I've said, paranoia got the better of me. The painting isn't Frank Nursers but Ron Hough's and, even when the boat is rebuilt (because she is beyond restoration), will not be replaced (unless Ron is still painting of course).
My other boat, Usk, on the other hand is in cosmetically poor condition, but the hull is very good. So she will retain as much of her original hull as is possible and, apart from a new, undecorated, backcabin, will not be 'prettied up'.

Andrew Denny

Carl, thanks for popping in and claiming 'ownership' and thanks for your comment. Good to hear you filling in details, and now that I now know the name of the boat, it's 'Lucy' from now on.

I'm actually paying you a compliment, in that Lucy looks very picturesque and charming. I presume you took offence to the 'pigsty' reference. In fact it was a mistype on my part - I meant to type 'pigpen', which means the same thing but is the word used in my (American) version of Harry Potter. (I've amended it) But as JK Rowling makes clear, it's a description of great affection.

When I 'pray that they aren't ever restored', I meant that like Tintern Abbey such boats are majestic in their decay at their moorings, and I hope the owners aren't *forced* to repair them or move them on.

Whether you want to keep Lucy as it is and house it like the Mary Rose in a museum, or heavily restore it until there's almost nothing left of the original and then live on it, or leave it as a lovely and characterful ruin like Tintern Abbey, I wish you luck.

They restored 'Raymond' (, and I read somewhere that there's little left of it except the knees. If Lucy's signwriting is by the great Frank Nurser, well, it's gone now (apart from 'Reg at Daventry') - almost illegible and flaking off - and it could now never be anything but a replica of Nurser, almost destroying Nurser's original.

Lucy remains magical in its present condition, like the Weasley's house and like the arrested decay of Tintern Abbey, and I make no apology for my compliment to your boat. My heart warms to see it just as it is.

You are quite right about my 'clone' boat. As I never tire of saying myself on this blog, my boat and my sentiments are suburban and inferior to the real thing. It won't come a shock to me :-)

Best wishes

Carl Taft

Hi Jonathan
I suppose I might have been a bit trigger happy with my response. If this is the case, Andrew, then please accept my apologies and remove my angry comments. If not, please leave them there.
The problem with not restoring them, though, is that Lucy won't last much longer if major work isn't started soon.
As to the squatters rights comment, if Lucy and the other Blue line (and Willow Wren) boats hadn't persisted in carrying loads long after it was viable to do so, then the Grand Union would have become the restoration task that the K&A was; a series of duck ponds and a multi-million pound bill. So think of the money my boat has saved BW (search for tongue in cheek smiley, not there)


Hi Carl, I'm sure he wasn't meaning to be offensive - and surely he's saying your boat IS beautiful.

If we relate this to old buildings I personally love to see historic, restored buildings but by the same token it's also nice to see some that show the ravages of time as well (it would be a shame if Little Moreton Hall were ever straightened out wouldn't it?). I personally don't think that modern narrowboats should necessarily attempt to look like historic ones, complete with fake stuck-on rivets etc and find these a bit of a joke. Why not have steel narrowboats with more modern desighns?

I also personally feel that if you look at old photos of boats when they were working - they nearly always looked rather battered and in need of a lick of paint, rather than the "showroom" condition fully resored boats tend to display so I think it's nice to have variety - some that are pristine and others that show their history "on their faces" as it were.

I really hope you don't find this offensive and I think historic boats are very beautiful indeed - restored or not...and I wish you all the very best with her.

Carl Taft

My beautiful boat may be offensive to you, but the very fact that narrow minded, ignorant fools like you actually exist is offensive to me. 'Lucy' is the last unconverted Nurser butty in existence, she is on the national historic ship's register, and funds and materials are being gathered for her ongoing restoration (which, hopefully, will upset you no end). I don't understand your comment that she shouldn't be restored. She is an important part of this country's heritage and the waterway systems history. Your comments are insulting and offensive and I would like you to remove them. Or, if you can be bothered to educate yourself, contact me and learn more about this important boat. Lucy will be restored and will be on the water a long time after your clone boat is melted down for bean cans.


I couldn't agree more - when it comes to boats I adore those that look a bit (or even a lot) "lived in".

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