When I was thinking about what might be the next stage in researching the history of our converted 1903 Birmingham Canal Navigation Day Boat Eileen, I realised that perhaps for many new readers I’d be talking gobbledegook as it’s been a while since I showed what Eileen looks like in all her glory.

So, to help readers picture the boat we’re gradually restoring, I thought I’d attempt a bit of a photo-chronology. This is what I’ve come up with:

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Not an image of Eileen, but a few of the wonderful selection of day boats, both cabin boats and open boats, seen at the Black Country Living Museum. Day boats were once hugely ubiquitous, a number were later disposed of by carrying companies and converted to a range of purposes, both commercial and leisure – very few now remain in a ‘pure’ unconverted state. They’re an invaluable resource when working to achieve a sympathetic and respectful renovation of Eileen.

 

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A typical working environment for wooden or iron day boats across the Birmingham Canal Navigations….

 

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The earliest image (1966) I have showing a flooded and cut-down day boat, soon to be called Eileen still an open iron day boat at Beeston Wharf.

 

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Another image taken at Beeston Wharf when the open day boat was chocked up on the bank awaiting sale.

 

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A leap forward into the 1970’s and Eileen’s converted into a motor boat with back cabin and sheets over the hold. This image was taken in Leeds.

 

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Early 1970’s again, Eileen in ‘Vedmore & Patterson’ livery at Leeds Wharf, Reading

 

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Eileen moored at Bottom Lock, Braunston (early 1970’s).

 

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Mid-late 1970’s and Eileen’s on the Hatton flight is in ‘Union Canal Carriers’ livery.

 

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1979 or 1980, transformation, Eileen (centre) has been converted again and now sports a full-length conversion. Seen here on the Thames at Windsor.

 

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A devastated and burned-out Eileen, late 1980’s. Ironically the fire almost returns Eileen to her pre-conversation state as an unpowered, basic open day boat…

 

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Another view of the wreck…

 

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Another conversion, and a return, in the early 1990’s, to a working motor with an extended back cabin.

 

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Fore-end, early 1990’s…

 

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Late 1990’s and with a new owner, Eileen is moved from Watford to Great Haywood…

 

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And spends a period as a ‘lavender’ boat or ‘Elsan’ disposal (read toilet) working boat.

 

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Before another full length conversion is added…

 

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Working from the canal bank the engineers did a remarkable job creating the new ‘Long Cabin’…

 

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November 2009 and Eileen, with newly converted hold, is in use as a residential boat in Great Haywood…

 

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Fore-end view, November 2009.

 

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Eileen, the ‘For Sale’ photo, 2011, this was the image that prompted me to drive over 200 miles to view her…

 

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Winter 2011, Eileen out the water, our first phase of renovation, replating and repainting the hull…

 

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Into 2012 and at easter we move Eileen south to the Oxford Canal and her new home mooring…

 

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Further remedial renovation works in Summer 2012, the back cabin and fore deck being rust-proofed and repainted…

 

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Bringing things up to date. Autumn 2013 and Eileen has a new livery, our family livery N&C Co. Ltd. in the colours of Stewarts & Lloyds who’d owned her in their fleet from the late 1920s to 1950s.

 

So that, in a nutshell, is our Eileen, the 111 year old survivor, and she goes on, from strength to strength.

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