News and information for our Members, Moorers and Friends
 








  Nb Atlas and Nb Malus
(or ‘The Ladies’ as they are affectionately known)

The pair of original cargo carrying boats that are operated and maintained by Coombeswood Canal Trust and BCN Society


Returning from a D of E residential course 2nd November 2015


Slipping Atlas


 
Motor Boat 'Atlas' (Nb Atlas)

Atlas was ordered in 1935 by The Grand Union Canal Carrying Company (GUCCC), one of 18pairs. She is a Small Woolwich Star Class Boat.

She was built by Harland and Wolf as a composite construction; iron sides and a wooden bottom (made from elm) and when new she was powered by a National engine (number 46325).

She was delivered on 29th December 1935 and at this time she was paired with her butty ‘Atalanta’ at a cost then of £1276.00 for the pair. On entering service with the GUCCC she was given her fleet number 16 – which she still carries today.

On the 18th June 1936 she was gauged on the Grand Union Canal and received the gauging number 12529.

During the Second World War 10 pairs of Star Class boats were steered by all women crews. These crews received the nickname “Idle Women” derived from the initials IW ontheir badges. This stood for Inland Waterways, but the territorially jealous boat people – born and bred to the canal system called them idle women. Women they were, (although many were not yet 20 which meant that in the eyes of their parents they were definitely still girl) but idle they were not – working a 18- 20 hour day as a rule keeping going until they were ‘locked out’ (meaning the lock had been shut) – or darkness made it impossible to go on. Three woman would manage each pair of boats carrying up to 50 tons of essential supplies along the nation's waterways. A pairing list from 18th September 1944 shows Atlas steered by Frankie C Martin (one of the female crews) paired with the butty ‘Capella’.

In 1958 and 1960 Pairing lists show Atlas paired with the butty ‘Draco’. Post nationalisation, Atlas became part of the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive, South Eastern Division. In the 1970’s (after carrying stopped) Atlas was transferred to the maintenance fleet in the Birmingham and Midlands area.

In the early 1990’s Atlas became part of the Heritage Working Boat fleet.

Atlas is now paired with the butty ‘Malus’. Both having been restored as an example of a pair of 1930’s working boats that would have been operated by a family of two adults and two or more children who would also live in the back cabins.

 
Butty Boat 'Malus' (Nb Malus)

Malus was built in September 1935 by WJ Yarwoods and Sons of Northwich for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company (GUCCC) as part of their expansion program. The order consisted of 12 boats constructed of iron sides and wooden bottom planks (made from elm), known as Small Northwich butty boats.

She was delivered on 4th October 1935 and paired with the motor ‘Scorpio’. On entering service with the GUCCC she was given the fleet number 307 – which she still carries today.

On the 24th October 1936 she was gauged on the Grand Union Canal and received the gauging number 12412.

Malus was used to carry cargos such as coal, steel, timber and grain from London to the Midlands.

In 1944 Pairing lists show Malus paired with the motor ‘Arcas’.

Post nationalisation, Malus became part of the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive,South Eastern Division. In 1958 Pairing lists show Malus paired with the motor ‘Owl’ (Fleet number 230) and in 1960 Malus was paired with the motor ‘Saltaire’. In the 1970’s (after carrying stopped) Malus was transferred to the canal maintenance fleet in the Birmingham and Midlands area.

In the early 1990’s Malus became part of the Heritage Working Boat fleet.

Malus is now paired with the motor ‘Atlas’ both having been restored as an example of a pair of 1950’s working boats that would have been operated by a family of two adults and two or more children who would also live in the back cabins.

 


Coombeswood Canal Trust, a Company limited by Guarantee
Hawne Basin, Hereward Rise, Halesowen, West Midlands, B62 8AW.
Telephone: 0121 550 1355  Mobile: 07761 555 353 
Skype Name: coombeswood
Registered Charity No. 1088978