History


Construction

Fulbourne was built in 1937 as a commercial carrying boat for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co (GUCCCo)

She was one of 48 rivetted steel narrow boats built for the GUCCCo by Harland and Woolf at North Woolwich on the River Thames during 1936-37 and is therefore known as a 'Large Woolwich'

Fulbourne is a GUCCCo 'Town Class' narrow boat, each boat being named after a British town. Fulbourn(e) is a small village near Cambridge, its main claim to fame being a large psychiatric hospital.

Other GUCCCo classes of boat were the 'Royalty Class' (built 1929-31) and the 'Star Class' (built 1934-36), in all more than 350 narrow boats.

In her working life Fulbourne would have worked with a second boat, an unpowered 'butty' boat. Both boats were normally operated by the same family

Fulbourne Data

Overall length 71' 6"

Overall width 7' 0"

Hull depth 4' 9"

Original Engine National (No 46656)

GUCCCo fleet No 142

GUCC guaging No 12740

Registered at Rickmansworth, No 174, on 20th July 1937

History 1937 - 1986

The present owners have been trying to trace the history of Fulbourne from the few records which exist

Fulbourne remained in the GUCCCo fleet until Nationalisation in 1947, when the British Transport Commission (Docks and Inland Waterways Executive) assumed control.

It is evident that Fulbourne operated with various butties during her working life, including Neston (1939), Dudley (1949-55), Ewell (1955),Chesham (1957), Halton (1958) and also Argos and Chipstead

Various families lived and worked on Fulbourne during her working life, and so far we have been able to trace and meet the late Mr and Mrs Wallington (during 1949-55) and Joe Allcot (during 1957-58)

The end of Fulbourne's working days came in 1963 when the newly created British Waterways Board decided to end commercial carrying by its narrow boat fleet.

Fulbourne was sold in 1963 to the first of a series of private owners. In 1965 a full length cabin was built over the hold and for the next 15 years she was used as a pleasure boat.

In 1983 Fulbourne was in a poor state of repair when she was bought by David Powell of Woodford near Kettering. He had her removed from the water and transported to his company's yard at Thrapston where he planned to undertake major repair work.

David Powell's plans never came to fruition, so Fulbourne lay neglected for 3 years in the yard. In February 1986 the present owners purchased her and commenced the lengthy task of restoration back to original working condition.

Restoration 1986

Essential repairs were carried out on the hull before Fulbourne could return to the water, including welding patches where necessary, needle-gunning to remove rust, painting and applying a final layer of hot pitch and tar.

On 12th June 1986 Fulbourne was transported from Thrapston and was craned back into the Grand Union Canal at Stoke Bruerne.

Restoration 1987-88

The 1960s conversion was removed from the hold, a new back cabin constructed, the gunwales renewed and the stands, cross planks, top planks, cratch etc reinstated. Also new black cloths over the hold were fitted to match the original.

History 1986 To Present

Until 2000 Fulbourne was based at Harefield on the Grand Union Canal from where it cruised the canal system extensively usually attending the IWA National Rally and Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice. Subsequent moorings included Hazlehurst on the Caldon Canal. Fulbourne is currently based at Aylesbury at the Aylesbury Canal Society Basin at Circus Fields and continues to cruise.

Regular working parties are held to ensure that the boat is kept in good condition and regular dry and wet dockings take place for maintenance and painting of the hull. The cloths have to be replaced regularly as good quality black canvas cloths are now hard to come by.

The Lister SR3 engine installed when the boat was converted was eventually replaced by a National engine although not the one originally fitted.

When the new back cabin was decorated it was painted in the Coronation colours which we believe was its original livery. In 2000 we repainted the cabin in its wartime austerity livery.

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