Grand Union Canal Carrying Company and  British Waterways Boats

Five Canal Companies joined together in 1929 to form the Grand Union Canal Company operation which with the purchase of Associated Canal Carriers based in Northampton became the start of the  fleet.  In 1934 an expansion programme was launched and the Company name changed  to the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Limited.  The canal transport system came under Government control during the war and then in 1948 most concerns became controlled by the British.Transport Commision.  The culmination of carrying came in 1963 when Willow Wren took over the remnants of the fleet and contracts.

Motor Bootes  with Wilfred Townsend as the steerer moving south at Blisworth with the church and old rectory in the background, of note is the steamer type funnel used for the exhaust fumes from the engine.












Butty Altair, a Star class boat was built at Walkers of Rickmansworth in 1935 and was a regular sight on the local canal, crews  varied from trip to trip on this journey it illustrates how crowded the cabin must have been at times.












This motor was originally Archimedes, a small Woolwich boat built in 1935 and originally used commercially , then on Section maintenance, then by Northampton Brewery company as a trip boat eventually becoming derelict, rescued and restored and now in regular use on the southern part of the canal system merchandising fuel.












Butty Bideford at the Stoke Bruerne flight of locks, the decorative plates are visible in the cabin and with brasswork were a usual form of ornamentation.












Motor Carina passing Blisworth












Halton a wooden butty built in June 1936 was one of the Big Ricky boats, here crossing the iron trunk over the River Ouse near Cosgrove.












Tipton and Alperton moored at the lift bridge at Cotton End with Phipps Brewery and the Brown and Pank warehouse in the back ground.












Greenock and Aston on the River Nene at Rush Mills en route to the Whitworth mill at Wellingborough, the Britannia bridge on the Bedford road has been replaced and the road realigned.












Motor Malvern, originally built by Yarwoods in 1939, southbound at the turnover bridge near Blisworth Arm End.












Motor Malus moving on the Northampton Arm towards the top lock.












The large Northwich type motor Tarporley at the tunnel, in 2007 this boat appeared at the Braunston event.












Motor Stratford leaving the Arm and unusually moving southwards empty suggesting there was a shipment of grain in the Docks which required moving urgently.












Butty Axe at Blisworth , one of the last types of vessel to be built by B.W., known as River Class boats, constructed by the Thames Launch Works at Teddington there were six all steel butties ordered in 1957.












Motor Asterope passing the May Blossom which is a regular feature of this stretch of the canal at Blisworth in Spring.












Butty Cedar which had originally been built by Yarwoods and was part of the Erewash Canal Carrying Company fleet.












Butty Baildon approaching Stockwell bridge on Station Road Blisworth.












Butty Balham passing under the partly built M1 bridge on the Northampton Arm.  These works resulted in considerable problems for canal traffic and the eventual completion of the Motorway was a large contributory factor in the eventual demise of canal carrying.












Comet moored at the B.W. warehouse at Cotton End in Nothampton, this motor had been built by Harland and Wolff at Woolwich in 1935.  This was the original location for the Associated Canal Carrying Company which was based in Northampton.












Motor Kenilworth, a large Northwich boat built in 1936 at Woolwich, pictured at Blisworth with the old rectory and church in the background.












Butty Corolla, a small Woolwich type built in 1935 moving north between Candle and Stockle bridges.












Blisworth with the butty Crux in the tunnel approach.












Butty Ealing passing behind Blisworth station and the bridge on the railway line to Northampton can just be made out in the distance.












Brighton and Ealing moored on the last stretch of the Arm with Phipps Brewery and the Brown and Pank warehouse as a backdrop.












Motor Hampstead and butty Argon moving down the locks at Stoke Bruerne as they were going south empty it is assume they were on urgent wheat collection from the London Docks.











This lady has jumped from the butty Hereford with a rope to pass around the strapping stump and slow the boats progress in the lock.












Butty Slinfold moored at the top lock at Stoke Bruerne with the young girl giving the puppy a drink.












Unidentified motor and butty Lynx moored at Arm End, Blisworth.












Motor Ure, a River Class motor built by E.C Jones of Brentford in 1959 and Butty Foxglove an ex FMC boat bult in 1947 by Yarwoods waiting to be unloaded at Whitworths Mill at Little Irchester.












Butty Bellerophon on the Northampton Arm.












A butty believed to be Bicester approaching bridge number 3 on the Northampton Arm. The railway track on the left has now been replaced by the A43 dual carriageway.












Motor Towcester,a large Northwich motor built in 1937, refurbished and pictured at Braunston in 2007 and normally located at Stoke Bruerne.












Cepheus refurbished and remaining in British Waterways livery.












Callisto a small Woolwich motor built in 1935.












Gorse appearing at Braunston in 2007, there is some doubt whether this is the original built in 1951 and the last Josher built as there were reports the fore end section had been converted to a BW hire boat.












Corona is a small Woolwich motor, built in 1935 and usually based at Rugby although Trevor does attend many of the Midland canal events.












Motor Saltaire is a large Woolwich motor built in 1936 but notes suggest it has been considerably rebuilt.












Hadley attended the Bicentenary celebrations in 2005, built by Harland and Wolff in 1937, one of the town Class and called Rail when operated by Willow Wren.












Butty Malus part of the BW heritage fleet and at Braunston in 2007 in the rain.












Motor Shad an iron motor built in 1936 by Yarwoods and at one time operated by FMC now sponsored by  David Suchet, boating enthusiast and star of the stage and screen.












Scorpio and Malus moored at Blisworth at the Bicentenary, part of the BW Heritage fleet, the motor being built for the Wigan Coal and iron Company around 1890.












Sculptor a Small Northwich motor built in 1936, part of the BE heritage fleet and often moored outside the Museum at Stoke Bruerne.












Greenock and Bordesley, Blisworth.












Tarporley [see photo 10 above] appeared at Braunston 2007and is now operated on a Community basis in London.












Motor Alcor partly converted but well painted and with typical brasswork and plates in cabin.












Archimedes a small Woolwich paired with Australia in this photograph but now with Ara and selling coal and fuel on the southern section of the Grand Union.












Motor Dover moored at Blisworth, one of the Town Class of boats, refurbished and cruised South on the Grand Union in a television series 2007.












Buckden built in 1937 and a large Woolwich motor now in Metropolitan and Midland livery at Braunston in 2007.












Mountbatten and Jellicoe a pair of newly designed Admiral Class boats ordered in 1960 from Yarwoods and incorporating new design hulls and cargo covers they mainly operated in the NW area of BW. Seen here at Braunston selling diesel and coal.












Nuneaton and Brighton a pair of large Woolwich boats operated by the Narrow Boat Trust with volunteer crews, making coal deliveries on a regular basis and attending Canal Events throughout the year.












Hyperion a small Woolwich motor built in 1935 for GUCCC and now carrying the current owners livery.












Motor Prince in the livery of Associated Canal Carrying which originally operated from Northampton and became the nucleus of the GUCCC with entrepreneurs such as Leslie Morton making great efforts to move freight by inland waterways. It is believed that Charles Hadlow who lived locally in the Old Toll house at the Arm was also involved at this time, he certainly helped to maintain the high profile of the canal here.