Once upon a time, a 22’ riveted iron maintenance boat lay abandoned and sunk at the bottom of the disused Stratford Canal. When the canal was restored, so was the boat, which was named “Stratford” and taken to the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port.

Stratford at the NWM Ellesmere Port
Stratford at the NWM Ellesmere Port

A pre-pandemic review of their historic boats caused the museum to decide to donate 13 of them to various canal charities, and Coombeswood Canal Trust was lucky enough to be nominated to receive “Stratford”. Delayed by the pandemic, the transfer is now to happen on 21 September 2021.

A group of volunteers from Hawne Basin will then bow-haul “Stratford” the 87 miles and 67 locks from the Museum near Chester to the home of Coombeswood Canal Trust at Hawne Basin in the West Midlands. This is expected to take up to 10 days. En route the gang will collect donations for two charities close to our hearts: “Cancer Research UK” and “Newborns in Need” (a Birmingham-based charity which offers support to families of premature babies).

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Once established in her new home, “Stratford” will be a welcome addition to the work party team which strives to help to maintain the Dudley No 2 canal as a community asset.

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