This is the fourth and final instalment in a short series describing the painted decoration found on Birmingham Canal Navigation day boats.

1. Series Introduction HERE
2. Open Day Boat Decoration HERE
3. Cabin Day Boat Decoration HERE

In this post I’m looking one small decorative detail found on cabin day boats.

Spiders, Stars or Flowers?


The last decorative detail commonly found on cabin day boats was the flower, star or spider design most often painted on the top raised panel on the cabin doors.

The design was often painted in white or cream, within a red circle on a green background. It was the only decorative element on a day boat, almost a decorative concession to the flourishes of roses found on a long-distance boat, though perhaps it too was originally used as an additional identifying feature for steerers (though one not seen until a cabin was opened up!).

Some yards used particular highly stylised and simplified flower/spider/star designs to identify a boat as having been built or docked at their yard.


The design was essentially simple, a central ‘dot’ of with four or eight ‘petal-shaped’ brush strokes drawn in towards it. This simplest form could then be supplemented by fleur de lys , flourishes and additional rings around the centre spot to create increasingly complex and intricate designs.



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