Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Oh Lord won't you buy me a ... Large Woolwich motor

There seem to be a few on the market at the moment.

I think I'll pass on Dover. Lovely steelwork (had to get that in); pretty engine, but the fit-out is total overkill, and horrid horrid horrid. Who wants to live in a greenhouse; still less a greenhouse with black (mauve?) cloths over it? Surely it must look awful from the inside? And my dear, the price! They probably spent that much and more on doing it (so I hope the constant repeats are pulling in the advertising revenue, although I guess that doesn't help the production company) but that doesn't make it worth £110,000 - little wonder it hasn't sold despite the biggest advertising campaign any narrowboat could hope to have. I'm going to stick my neck out and make a prediction - they'll never sell it until they take that glass off and replace it with a conventional cabin or a nice wood-lined steel under-cloths conversion. Or make it cheap enough for that to be the purchaser's first job.

Battersea looks rather nice - from the outside. Which is all we get to see. Where's the logic in offering an £90,000 boat for sale and not being prepared to stump up thirty-five quid for a few extra photos? The ad says that Battersea comes 'complete with her original stunning boatman's cabin'. How original would this be then? Does it still have the bomb damage? I know that's a silly question, but 'original' is a silly word in this context. We won't be at all far from Norbury Wharf come the weekend - I'm very very tempted to go and have a look. Even if the cabin's just 'old' it should be well worth seeing. Now, how to dress up to look like a serious buyer ...

Really, though, Dunstable is more in my price range. It does make a rather nice tug, but all of that would have to come off, I think, if it were my project ... on the other hand, there are quite a few proper and almost-proper looking ones about already. Mmmm, sounds quite nice.

But there's another one I would have liked to find out more about - the ad's long gone now, and I only have a printed copy, but it certainly looks like a Big Woolwich, with a full length cabin conversion. However, the blurb in the ad just goes on about how nice the mooring is, and how children aren't allowed in the marina - only when you get to the details at the bottom does it say Builder: H & W; Year: 1936 ... and that one was cheap. I emailed the seller, but never heard anything. It was in the West Country - anyone know it?

I'm not really serious about wanting one of course; I'm not fit to be let loose on anything so big and certainly don't have the time or the money to do it justice. These are, I think, pretty good reasons for not buying a Big Woolwich. Here is a bad one: someone we met knew someone who bought one, and his wife stepped back off the fore-end and fell into the hold and broke her ankle. He thought this was a good reason for warning us off ever thinking of getting one ...

Oh, and I don't want a Mercedes either, ta.


flatplane8 said...

All three are pretty interesting. I have the story of Dover on DVD that was recorded for me by a friend. Interesting viewing, but not how I'd fit out a boat. But it shows what you can do and people love technology (well, some do).

My favorite of these types is 'Leviathan' (http://www.moveyourboat.co.uk/1899-70ft-trad-stern-converted-butty-i45.html)with its amazing interior. Dover is very well made, but seems a little bland in comparison. Once you've decided to leave the standard narrowboat style behind, you might as well go the whole way :)

S said...

Yes, exactly. I'm not sure I could stand to live on Leviathan, but you have to admire the guy's verve. Also it would have to have a butty called Behemoth (political philosopher's joke). I've just got Narrowboat recorded onto DVD too - it's great being able to skip the interminable woodworking bits and get straight onto the engine and stuff.

Anonymous said...

"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and I'm sure there are those out there who would think of those boats you mentioned as being 'beautiful' and 'value for money' but to me they are a historical disaster. Is it not time we stopped destroying our canal heritage. If somebody wants a 70 foot boat with a greenhouse/conservatory top or gold taps and a jakuzi, sat nav, 36" flat plasma tele with surround sound etc. etc. then let them get one of the many reputable boat builders to purposly design a new built one and leave the working boats to represent themselves as they were intended. The last time I was on Battersea she was with her then butty Barnes and loaded with 55 tons of coal for Croxley Mills. Just as a matter of interest the boat Leviathan was never a 'butty' boat but in fact an oped BCN day boat. Personally I would love to have enough money to buy Dover and Battersea and rip the conversions off them and put them back to their trading condition and let them represent working boats for future generations. Their I've rambled enough.