MAIN SECTIONS >   Home   Gloucester Docks   Sharpness Docks   G&S Canal   Vessels   People   Studies
 STUDIES PAGES >   Return to Studies Index

Gloucester Docks &
the Sharpness Canal


Workboat Sale April 2006

British Waterways offered surplus workboats for sale in a major on-line auction that ended on 27 April 2006. This page lists the main items on offer with local associations, including those used in dredging operations on the canal until recently. Some of the older boats were withdrawn from the sale to give more time to assess their heritage value.

Thomas Fletcher and Freight Mover
     Diesel-powered bucket dredger Thomas Fletcher started work on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal in 1981, replacing the steam dredger SND No 4 that is now an exhibit at the National Waterways Museum. The name commemorates the resident engineer responsible for the completion of the canal in the 1820s. It was last used in 2000. (Sold for £12,300)
     Tug Freight Mover was built by James Cook at Wivenhoe in 1968 and worked on the Thames and the Humber before coming to Sharpness in 1982 to help big ships turn in the dock. In later years, she was used to help move the Thomas Fletcher. (Withdrawn from sale)

     Tug Speedwell was built by Richard Dunston at Thorne in 1968 to replace several ageing canal tugs at a time when barge traffic was declining rapidly. She is named after an earlier steam tug. Intended for harbour work at Sharpness, she later transferred to towing mud hoppers from the dredger to the disposal site. (Sold for £26,200)

     Included in the sale are seven hoppers used for carrying mud from the dredger to the disposal site.


Margo Newman
     Workboat Margo Newman was bought from the forces after the war. She replaced a boat of the same name that had been used to tow barges between Lincomb Lock and Stourport to save the main river tugs having to pass through the lock. The replacement boat had a variety of roles, particularly in association with maintenance work. (Sold for £11,000)

Floating Suction Plant

      Included in the sale is the suction plant used in the Worcester area for extracting mud from a hopper and pumping it ashore at a disposal site. (Sold for £1,600)


     Narrow boat Zodiac is one of four Middle Northwich motor boats, built by Yarwoods in 1936, that were transferred from the DIWE SE Division carrying fleet to the SW Division maintenance fleet in 1949. At Gloucester they were initially given B numbers, and these lasted until the 1970s when the original names were put back on the boats, but not necessarily on the right boats! In c1990, the one named Zodiac was fitted with fuel tanks for bunkering the dredger and the tugs - and given a new cabin and counter. (Information from Pete Harrison) (Withdrawn from sale)



     Workboat Jubilee was built in 1935 by Charles Hill & Sons, Bristol, for the Severn Commission and later taken over by British Waterways. She has been used for towing their dredger, working on locks, carrying supplies and transporting men to jobs at isolated parts of the river. Originally steam powered, she is now fitted with twin diesel engines. (Withdrawn from sale)



Return to Top Menu   Copyright Hugh Conway-Jones 2006   Contact