Record Breaking Number of Historic Narrow Boats on Show at Festival

news_nb150pxIssue date: 16 May 2011

A record number of historic narrow boats will be on show at The Waterways Festival, being hosted by Burton upon Trent from 29th to 31st July 2011.
At least 28 historic boats, the largest number ever to have attended the festival, will offer waterways enthusiasts and history lovers a chance to see how people lived and worked on the waterways in years gone by.

The boats and their crews will travel from all over the canal system, just as they did in their previous “lives” as working boats, carrying goods all over the United Kingdom - from London to Birmingham, from Bristol to Manchester and from Liverpool to Leeds and the East Coast.

Making a special guest appearance will be the only restored ex-Fellows Morton and Clayton steam powered narrow boat, The President (pictured). Owned by The Black Country Living Museum, the boat was built over a century ago as a steamer, converted to diesel power in 1925, and, following restoration in 1974, returned to steam power.

David Pullen, Waterspace Director for IWA Festivals said: “All of the boats have been beautifully restored to their former glory and their owners will explain how the boats were worked, in a very tough industrial environment.   We hope the festival goers enjoy looking at the boats and learning about the importance of them to our social and industrial history.”

The boats are of varying ages and have interesting working histories for example:

SWALLOW, was built in 1934 for W H Cowburn & Cowpar Ltd in Manchester, and built by Yarwoods of Northwich, one of eight boats named after birds. It was designed to carry cargo, such as acid, acetone, oil drums, lime and salt. Its main routes were Manchester to Coventry, Wolverhampton via Bridgewater, Trent & Mersey & Shropshire Union canals. During the Second World War it carried market produce around these areas, a very important role for the waterways at this time.

To find out more about The Waterways Festival, or to book advance tickets please visit or call 01474 783 453 (ext 602 or 603)