August 1989, Denham ‘Deep’ Lock on the Grand Union, a fire ravaged Eileen is towed to Cassio Wharf by new owner Jim MacDonald using the ‘Elizabeth’. Eileen’s Log records: ‘Towed from Greenford to Cassio with ‘Elizabeth’ returning from the Waltham Cross National Rally. Mum and Dad as crew.’ 

Also at Denham, Eileen’s devastation by fire is clear to see, as is the severe distortion of the hull caused by the intense heat of the blazing cabin.

These pair of stunning images, and several others (for a future post), were tucked inside a Christmas card to Keith Myatt from Eileen’s former owner Lesa Vallentine. Keith very kindly copied them and forwarded them on to me.

The two images provide a fascinating glimpse into the Eileen’s darkest days following the catastrophic fire which tore through the boat at some point during the Winter/Spring of 1988-89. Only the back cabin survived, and provide the only hint at how the boat had previously looked.

It’s fascinating to see the ‘elum’ or rudder (in the top photo) unaffected by the fire, and still attached to the stern. It’s the same rudder we use today, some 25 years after these photos were taken.

(Thanks Keith, and thanks Lesa.)


2 thoughts on “The Story of Eileen: Rescue from Oblivion

  1. Incredible photos. I’d be interested to see photos of when Willow was at her lowest point – literally! Sat on the bottom of the canal at Malcolm Braine’s yard, before sh was rescued by the guy we bought her from.

    We owe such a lot to these determined individuals who bought up these boats when no-one else saw value in them!



    1. Hi Amy

      I can’t agree more, the people who had the vision to see beyond the wrecks in front of them to the boats they once were (and could once again be), are owed a huge debt of gratitude, they literally saved so many boats from being scrapped.

      I wish I had half the skill, commitment, bloody-mindedness and passion they possessed to ensure that their legacy, increasingly in our hands, is passed on to the next generation.

      Happy Christmas



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