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« Ulverston Canal not part of successful antibiotics manufacturing | Main | Canal Boat Cruises says thanks »

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


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Shaun Mack

Hi, well guess what? im the new owner of Friday (Well when everything is finalised) what do i know about narrowboats, nothing whatsoever, stepping onto Friday was the first time ive ever put foot on a narrowboat! (This is going to be so much fun & hard work) however, as a skilled fitter and expert DIYer (Thats what other people say about my DIY skills, im far to modest to think or even say that)i believe that i can return Friday to her former glory. Guess i thrive on challenges and cant wait to start this one. Anyway, any advice or historical information would be appreciated. Im based in Burton on Trent so Friday's location was / is ideal so if everything goes to plan, this time next year she will be back to her former glory (With a few more mod cons in the cabin, think thats what you call it)
I would just like to mention John, the former owner, what a lovely and interesting gentleman, the story's and knowledge he has are fascinating and second to none.He's a real character, my wife and i could of chatted to him for hours.

Andrew Denny

Chris Deuchar, historic canal boat expert emailed me with some fascinating background information:

Yes it was [always called Friday]!

I have found some old material which gives it as new in 1970. I have also been shown a poor quality (magazine/newspaper?) photo of it new at that time - looking very much like a smart view of what you see now -right down to the white topsides.

Pratts bridge wharf was a little to the west of the actual bridg incidentally. I remember it well - particularly the amazingly ramshackle yard in which work was done to an excellent standard and huge timbers and pieces of iron were moved about with the ease that only comes with long practice.

Ken Keay went bust - very sad because he was a real gentleman of the 'old school' black country - but not enough business acumen.

I last saw him, shortly before his death, presenting the award which bears his family name, at the Black Country Museum to the winner that year. His niece has since presented the award on his behalf on occasion.

Previously PK's boatyard was to the EAST of Pratts bridge but, when Worsey's ceased trading, he took over this one of their former (seven?) yards.

Ken Keay also produced a colour book of drawings and information which are well worth getting hold of.

Chris D


Thanks Chris!


Hi Andy,
There was an article in the London Evening standard yesterday about a woman suing her boat surveyor because her 450,000 pound boat sank. A bit more expensive than this one.
I thought you could cover the story on your blog. details are at;
Ali (nb Tormentil)

Graham Booth

Just before Nick Grazebrook sold The Hilton, he discovered a wooden hull that had been built by Ken Keay. It was to be a leisure boat but was never finished.

He bought this and had a steel superstructure added by Canal Transport Services. The boat was called, appropriately, Ken Keay. He owned this boat until his untimely death in 2002.

Ken Keay produced some interesting sketches of his father's boatyard and details of working boats. You can buy a CD containing these images together with a DVD about Peter Keay's yard from Laurence Hogg Productions.

Max Sinclair

The late Nick Grazebrook had Ken Keay build The Hilton for his family use.

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