Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Real or chopped?

Last week, I found myself wandering around the canals in central Birmingham. There, I spotted this boat. And I found myself wondering if it is a real, very short vessel, or a cut'n'shut to decorate a short spur.

If it is a modified boat, this seems a lot of work to do for such an unconvincing result - which makes me think it must be real. But if it is, why? There doesn't seem to be any way of towing a lighter, which I'd expect for a tug, the only sort of boat I can think of that would be this short.

Any ideas out there? If it helps, there is an aerial view on Google Maps.


davee52uk said...

This looks like a new build but may be chopped. You would have to look at the hull to see where the chop or join was.
Tugs were used to pull trains of horse drawn boats through tunnels. They were much longer than this boat. In places like the River Mersey and the River Severn tugs would again pull long trains of boats.

Mark said...

I guess it all depends what you want from a canal boat. It's a lot bigger than some tents I've slept in, so could easily be used as a tiny holiday boat.

Geoff said...


Thanks for sharing. From the photos it is not easy to tell if it is a 'cut and shut' job or a bespoke hull, but, there are no rivets visible which points towards a more modern welded hull. Looking at the waterline - the counter stern is clear of the water might indicate that there is no engine in it at the moment.

There are towing bollards on the stern either side of the tiller.

The use of cut down 'motors' for towing was quite common particularly on the BCN (Birmingham Canal Navigations.

MikeB said...

Could just be an odd sized old British Waterways work boat. There were many strange small ones. Have a look at this similar length one:

MikeB said...

Or a cut down and later covered version of this idea: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_C5pHw4QF5_4/Sxq51nGeS9I/AAAAAAAAA74/cQSQ0B5Q4Fk/s1600-h/Aquarius.jpg

MikeB said...

And if you like modelling really short waterways boats, how about this one? https://irishwaterways.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/workboat_erne_2008-copyright-tina_resize.jpg