The CanalPlan website has a Boat Listing page where you can search the details of over 100,000 boats registered on the Inland Waterways of England and Wales. This is the same database that was previously on Jim Shead’s Waterways website. The database allows you to search by registration number or by name. It is updated once a year. Continue reading Boat Index Registration Numbers
Smok is a 60 foot narrowboat built by Amber Boats in Poland in about 2005. Amber Boats Ltd was incorporated on 18th December 2002. Continue reading All About Smok
On Sunday the 27th of December 1846 at about 6 o’clock five strapping young men left All Cannings on a walk to Stanton St Bernard, via the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath, a distance of about one and a half miles. The canal was frozen over, and the lads walked part of the way on the ice. They were fine young men, all about six feet tall. Continue reading Four Young Men drowned near All Cannings
William Hutchins was born in Devizes on June 8th 1877. William’s mother, Martha, nee Dally, didn’t have the best start in life. Her mother died when she was only a year old. At the age of 16, in 1855, Martha and her sister Mary Ann were convicted of stealing a muslin de laine dress, which they then sold on to a shop.
Continue reading Pte William Hutchins
Stafford Hope Venton was born in Taunton, Somerset, in 1892. He was the only child of William Venton and Beatrice Maud, nee Pidgeon, but he may also have had a half sister, Alice, who was born before Stafford’s parents married. Thus far I have been unable to trace a birth registration for her, but she appears with the rest of the family in the 1901 census. At that time the family were living at 16 Eastbourne Road, Taunton. His father was working as a railway labourer, and his mother as a button hole maker in a factory. Continue reading Pte Stafford Hope Venton
George Hawkins was born in Melksham and married Elizabeth Ada Douse in 1872. They had eight children, five boys and three girls. From the 1870s until the early 1890s the family lived at 42-43 Northgate in Devizes, where George ran a registered slaughter house and butcher’s shop. By 1890 he was advertising the business to let. Continue reading George Hawkins – Drowning or Suicide?
The idea of a bathing place in the canal for the youth of Devizes first cropped up in 1870. A particular supporter of the scheme was Mr Charles Clarke, who was in the habit of walking to the railway bridge below Foxhangers to swim. He took it upon himself to contact the GWR and negotiate the use of an area of canal. Continue reading Devizes Bathing Place
Sarah Gerrish was born in Clonmel, Tipperary, Ireland, in about 1807. Her father may have been serving or training at the British barracks in Clonmel, which had recently been extended in anticipation of an invasion by Napoleon. During the Napoleonic wars the barracks were largely occupied by militia units, such as the Armagh and North Cork militias, while the regular Regiments fought in the wars. I have not yet found out what brought her to Wiltshire, but it seems likely that it was her father’s home. Continue reading Sarah Gerrish, cake seller, drowned near Semington in 1862
Today was handover day! Smok is ours and we’re back on a boat at last! Everything on our snagging list has been dealt with, all the paperwork has been signed, and all the bills have been paid. Continue reading Back on the Boat
Francis Herbert Bailey was born in Wingfield, south of Bradford upon Avon, in the summer of 1869. His father, Thomas, was a master carpenter, and his mother Ann was the daughter of an agricultural labourer. Francis had two older brothers, Albert and Charles. Continue reading Francis Bailey age 15 drowned in Sydney Lock, Bath