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:

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.


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


CJW - 1966
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.


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


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.


eileen.Vedmore Patterson.Leeds Wharf atReading 70sMick Ved at forend 0023
Early 1970’s again, Eileen in ‘Vedmore & Patterson’ livery at Leeds Wharf, Reading


eileen vedmore and patterson bot Lock Braunston 70s
Eileen moored at Bottom Lock, Braunston (early 1970’s).


eileen Hatton 80s 0030
Mid-late 1970’s and Eileen’s on the Hatton flight is in ‘Union Canal Carriers’ livery.


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


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…


Another view of the wreck…


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


Fore-end, early 1990’s…


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


eileen2 (2)
And spends a period as a ‘lavender’ boat or ‘Elsan’ disposal (read toilet) working boat.


Before another full length conversion is added…


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


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


Fore-end view, November 2009.


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


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


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


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


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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