Saturday was the HNBC auction of canal antiques, and as Committee members (James is now East Rep and I am Press Officer) we had agreed to go and help out. It was held in Weston, near Stafford.
We had our eyes on just one piece: a Severn and Canal horse boat/butty tiller, used to steer an unpowered boat
It’s stamped with S&CCCo and painted with No1. It was the second last item, and several other tillers had already been sold but this one had extra rarity value. We’d set a budget and stuck to it, and managed to get it for the highest price we’d been prepared to pay.
It will hang in our living room, opposite the 1933 rowing blade, and we will treasure it.
With spring on its way, I came back at lunchtime today to find that both James and the cats were outside making the most of the sunshine. James was touching up the blacking and the cats were enjoying the warm concrete.
On Saturday, James went to London to meet with Martyn from Marine Power Services, to try and get the Bantam’s Lister JP2 going again. It hadn’t been run for a year or two and there was a worry that water ingress via the exhaust may have caused damage. Thankfully it seems that the water has not caused any major issues, and after a bit of tinkering with timings and clearances Martyn was able to get the engine going again. Although longer term there are a few more things which could do with fixing, it will now go! He gave James a lot of good advice about care and maintenance, and they went for a spin round the basin. By chance there was another Bantam from Wood Hall & Heward carrying out some maintenance work outside. Bantams are still very much in demand, despite going out of production in the 60s!
Bantam Tug Scouser: Photo Wood Hall & Heward
Now, with the engine going again, we will be taking it to the Little Venice IWA Canalway Cavalcade in May! We want to carry out a fair bit of painting work before then, and get it looking good for the festival!
Bantam IV at the Cavalcade in Little Venice in 2013 (the last time it went) Photo: 3 days in London
Next task though is to make up a hooked cabin shaft for getting any nasties off the propellor blades, as there is no weedhatch. We have the hook, and pole, it’s just a matter of connecting the two!
Read more about the Bantam.