Towpath Talk contributor Geoff Courtney reports on three auctions that saw canalia go under the hammer, including 18th century paperwork, Thames Conservancy boat registration plates and a collection of colour slides.
AUCTIONS deliver the past in abundance and the quarterly email and postal sale held by transport paperwork specialist Paperchase in May was no exception, when an Act for the construction of a canal from the Worcester & Birmingham Canal at King’s Norton to Stratford-upon-Avon sold for £65.
Dated 1793, the Act states, under a George III title, that it was “for making and maintaining a Navigable Canal from the Worcester and Birmingham Canal Navigation, in the parish of King’s Norton, into the Borough of Stratford upon Avon; and also certain Collateral Cuts from the said intended Canal.” Work started the following year and was completed by 1815.
An even earlier Act, dated 1776 for the construction of the Erewash Canal in Derbyshire, sold for £26. The Act was granted in 1777 and within two years the waterway, running nearly 12 miles from the River Trent to Langley Bridge, was opened and became an immediate commercial success, due mainly to the transportation of coal.
It is fully open today and is actively used by pleasure craft and is also particularly popular with anglers.
The boat registration plates comprised a collection of four dating from 1933 to 1939 that sold for £120 in a sale on May 7 held by Great Central Railwayana, which often includes canalia in its auctions.
The oldest was a St John’s to Radcot plate for Witch, two others, Buscot to Rushey dated 1937 and St John’s to Rushey dated 1938, were for Lady-Be-Good, and the fourth was a 1939 motor launch licence numbered 944.
Also in the sale was brass numberplate 44 from a Manchester Ship Canal Railway steam locomotive that went for £340. The 0-6-0T was built by Hudswell Clarke & Co of Leeds in 1906, was given the name Auckland and was scrapped in October 1967.
About 1300 colour slides of paddle steamers and ferries taken in the early 1970s went under the hammer in three lots for a total of £2400 in an online auction held in from May 23-29 by transport photographs, slides and negatives specialist Justaclickago.
Many were taken in Scotland, but Lake Windermere and southern locations also featured.
The realisations quoted are hammer prices and exclude buyer’s premium, which is charged at 12½% by Paperchase, 15% (+ VAT) by Great Central, and 18% by Justaclickago.