Our historic camping narrowboat William
William was built at Yarwoods, Northwich in 1931. One of four Royalty Class motor boats built there that year for Associated Canal Carriers. The Royalty Class boats were built to a larger, sturdier design than narrow boats had generally been built previously with a view to carrying a greater payload and being more suitable for the tidal Thames. William was originally paired with its butty Adelaide. The ‘butty’ boats were unpowered cargo carrying narrow boats that were towed either alongside or behind the motor boat. There were seven Royalty pairs built in all after which the Star Class and Town Class were mass produced. This means William has a very special place in working narrow boat history.
The engine is a Bolinder, a slow revving, single cylinder two-stroke diesel engine. It gives the boat a very distinctive sound and great deal of character. William is one of only two Royalty Class narrow boats still fitted with a Bolinder, whilst there are quite a number of Bolinders around in the ex-working boats touring the rally circuit; this is the only boat of its type, currently available for skippered charter. Our customers are invited to see the engine being started and to learn about the day to day running of this very special, vintage engine.
By the early 60’s the cargo space that had once carried a variety of different goods up and down the country now housed basic camping equipment and over the years many people were introduced to canals and their rich history by holidaying on William
As the years have gone by William has been well maintained and the hull has been extensively repaired. The works have always been done to a high standard and the boat retains its original character.
The engine room and back cabin exterior were replaced working from some original drawings. The boatman’s cabin retains some of its original fixtures and is presented in the traditional style, whilst it is the accommodation of your skipper, it will be possible to view and experience what it would have been like in its carrying days.
Today William has a bow cabin which houses the galley and the solid fuel stove that makes your holiday on William that bit more comfortable than your standard camping trip. The galley is very basic; it contains a cooker, a sink, work surface, cupboard space and a full but mis-matching inventory! The gas for the cooker is included in the price as is the fuel for the boat’s engine.
William is fitted with a toilet and shower, the majority of the under canvas space houses camp beds for up to 12 passengers, these can be segregated into blocks of four each.
There is a dining area with table and seating adjacent to the galley.
There is no TV, no mod-cons, this holiday is very much about back to basics, however, there is a limited amount of mains electricity for-re-charging mobile phones etc.
When the weather’s great, the canvas sheets can be rolled back and if we should be unlucky with the weather, the camping boat is warm and cosy.