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Remarkably the cast iron makers plate, despite being unbolted, has remained on the boat.

I’ve decided to re-open my investigations in 1903 when an iron boat, built by Eli Aston of Iron Boat Dock, Alexandra Road Tipton, was registered as BCN 18686 in the BCN Gauging Tables on the 13th July 1903 to an A. Hickman Spring Vale.

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The boat would originally have carried two of these gauging registration plates, only one remains…

To get the ball rolling I’ve e-mailed Linda Barley at the Waterways Archive which is now centralised at Ellesmere Port.

The archive is slowly being digitised to create a more accessible research tool, however this is a long term aspiration and currently the information freely available online at the Virtual Waterways site amounts to a catalogue of resources that may be viewed at a number of sites across the country.

I’m particularly interested in getting a copy of the gauging registration document from 1903 as it may provide additional information about the early years of the boat. I’ll let you know how I get on.

If you have any advice at all about how I might source additional information about BCN 18686 or any suggestions about people I should speak to, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

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