Saturday 28-November-2015 is Sculptor's 80th birthday

Sculptor - a boat built by boat builders rather than a boat built by ship builders - and so much more elegant for that.

Sculptor is a 'Star' class boat named for the Sculptor Constellation
Sculptor on ITV Anglia - 22-September-2014
Sculptor on BBC Look East 16-October-2014
Sculptor on Narrowboatworld

Friday, 27 January 2017

Sculptor work day 27-January-2017

A mid-winter work party on a Friday to lift the shutts and sweep out the hold of Sculptor. The cloths have done a good job of keeping things so much dryer than previously although there was some condensation and one or two of the shutts looked quite damp.  They will air well where they are now. The little 'holes' that go through the keelson were cleaned out as best as possible.

Volunteer hours 20 (20 to date for 2017)

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Whilst I was away

I (Kathryn) have sadly been away in Northampton General Hospital (NGH) having a broken right hip (broken 6-November) put back together but was allowed home on 23-December.  However Sculptor has continued to be looked after and used.

We did manage to cover Sculptor's 80th birthday - to that end next year's Braunston Historic Weekend is dedicated to Grand Union boats because all those that remain are either over 80 or will attain the age of 80 by the middle of 2017 - the huge increase in boats was between 1935 and 1937.

Sculptor took part in the Friends of The Canal Museum Illuminated Boats and carols event on 12-December - it was a really lovely event (as in fact it always is).

There have been a couple of occasions when Sculptor has had to be taken down to either the A508 or, as she was recently, to the River Tove (the River Tove joins the canal just below Stoke Bruerne bottom lock) in order to have her facing north when outside The Canal Museum which is the preferred position as it means the Museum staff can see her cabin and doors easily. Also it is very easy to wind her at the winding hole just short of the tunnel if we are going south but if she is facing south and we want to go north it is quite a job to wind at the A508 or reverse her up to the winding hole.

I am sure there will be some updates to this post as I am only updating it from memory of what I have been told happened during my enforced stay in NGH.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

80 today

Sculptor's banner to celebrate 80 - Photo: Lynda Payton
It was on 28-November-1935 that Sculptor was delivered, in her Blue/Blue livery, to the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Ltd from WJ Yarwood's yard at Northwich.  There is to be a bit of a celebration today in Stoke Bruerne to mark the occasion. Happy birthday old girl and here's to another 80 years.

Sculptor's banner says:
  • Don't I look good for my age?
  • I was conceived on 29-December -1934 (the date she was ordered)
  • I was delivered on 28-November-1935
  • I am owned by the Canal & River Trust and looked after by volunteers from The Friends of The Canal Museum
  • I used to carry cargo for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co and was a Fire Boat during World War 2
  • I helped maintain the Shropshire Union Canal for many years and came to Stoke Bruerne in 1986 as an example of a Small Northwich working boat
Our thanks to Sarah Brown of CRT for facilitating the production of the banner.

Click here for some images of Sculptor's 80th taken by John Bannister.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Another day's work for Sculptor

The Wildlife Reserve sign
A beautiful trip up the
winding hole and back
Friday was another day's work for Sculptor moving some of the Interpretation Project 'furniture' down to Lock 15 and to the Wildlife Reserve - there was no other possible way of getting it there.  Another wonderful autumn day with the now almost expected 'Indian Summer'. 

We had to wait a while at the A508 whilst some 'postcrete' was purchased and took advantage of the wonderful weather and gave the hold a second coat of paint in the area Mike and John and put the first coat on last week.

There's a link to all the images here.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Sculptor Delivering for the Stoke Bruerne Interpretation Project

CRT staff and IWA Northampton volunteers
working together
Sculptor waiting in the glorious autumn
sunshine at the southern portal
Sculptor was used on 8-October (and will be again on 9-October) to deliver the structures for the Stoke bruerne Interpretation Project.  We had a great day out with Sculptor on Thursday travelling to the tunnel portal and down to the river Tove and return.  It was good to see Sculptor back in her role she held for a number of years as a maintenance boat.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Northampton Festival of Water

Sculptor heading down the 200-year-old
Northampton Arm on the way to Northampton
The Northampton Festival of Water was this year's IWA event (next year's will be at Wolverhampton) and on our doorstep. It was therefore our pleasure (after gaining permission from CRT to take Sculptor to Northampton) to assist the IWA Northampton branch in taking 'stuff' from Stoke Bruerne to Northampton and back again whilst enjoying the opportunity to use Sculptor on the river.

Sculptor alongside at Northampton
Five intrepid souls set off from Stoke Bruerne on the Wednesday before the event - David Blagrove, Rob Westlake, John Bannister, Mike Gardner and John Wetherell.  It is a relatively short trip to Gayton Junction and then down the Northampton Arm (200 years old this year) and on to the river.

Rob was invited to take part in a boat handling competition (no prizes though) with William, Southern Cross and Bletchley which by all accounts he enjoyed.

The return trip was on Wednesday 2-September and by 16:30 Sculptor was happily back on her moorings in Stoke Bruerne to await Village at War after being expertly reversed from the winding hole (not an easy task) by Rob.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Reballasting and painting the hold

Sculptor bobbing like a cork on an ocean
It was decided that we needed to reballast the boat - in essence getting the two IBC containers out, cleaning out behind and underneath them and then painting the hold sides and the back end bulkhead.

On Friday we pumped the water out of the two IBCs thanks to Ryan Dimmock on Southern Cross who leant us his 12v pump; then we tipped over five of the seven barrels (only five because we think there is old diesel in the other two), and pumped out that water by way of the bilge pump.  Sculptor then bobbed around like a cork on an ocean.

The hold sides look good - a second coat
for the back end bulkhead perhaps
On Saturday we took the two IBCs out of the hold together with the shutts and cleaned up the hold sides,  We then painted them.  That took most of the day.  We think the back end bulkhead may need another coat but we are pleased with the hold sides.

Tomorrow (Sunday) the IBCs go back in on a temporary basis as CRT are arranging alternative ballast for Sculptor soon.

We were surprised how good the iron work was and we noted that the knees were fabricated by Harts Hill Iron Works.  There's more information on Harts Hill Iron Works here from the Black Country Bugle.

Sunday update.

The bulkhead was given a second coat early on and a decision made to give the hold sides a second coat as so much equipment had been removed to gain access and the second coat would only take an hour or so to apply.

That done dunnage was made (from the redundant picnic tables from the Museum Green - a good bit of recycling) to lift the IBCs half an inch or so for two reasons:
  • To allow air to circulate underneath
  • To allow the drain valves to be easily accessed
The IBCs were refitted, Sculptor moved to the water point on ropes (too risky to move her under her own power with such little ballast) and the 2 IBCs were filled as were two 200L drums which were placed under the catch.  Sculptor was then moved, under her own power, back to her usual mooring.

Volunteer hours 34 (total 962 to date)