After more than 70 years, a narrowboat returns to Newport.


A narrowboat has returned to the Shropshire town of Newport for the first time in over 70 years, with the arrival of a 42 foot cruiser now moored in the town’s basin. The boat, owned and refurbished by David Ray, MD of Norbury Wharf Ltd, was transported from Norbury by a low loader before being craned into place in the basin close to the town lock.

The idea to bring a boat back to the canal in Newport began in 2017 when Councillor Tim Nelson, who has been a local councillor for 15 years, looked at ways to make the area around the town’s lock and basin something of a feature for the town. To achieve this, he felt he needed to win “the hearts and minds of the public”, and in doing so, he would also be doing his ‘bit to open the canal in Newport.’

As a result, and with the help of Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust’s volunteers, the area is now a popular place for people to visit and walk along the towpath. New lock gates were recently installed, and the ‘famous’ black shed has also been saved with an agreement now in place for it to be rented, for a peppercorn rent, to Newport Town Council.

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To further focus attention, Cllr Nelson approached David Ray, who is also a Trustee of the Shrewsbury and Newport Canals Trust, to see if he could help provide a boat as a static display in the canal. As a result, David, and two of his employees, helped deliver and moor the boat in the canal basin, an event, which saw a number of roads in the town closed for the duration. The whole process of lifting the boat into the canal was watched by a large crowd that included a group of children from a local nursery school.

The boat will remain in its new home until mid-September, when the boat will return to Norbury so that David and his team can complete the internal works before the boat is offered for sale.

By Phil Pickin

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