Four marina sites have come to my notice this month, the first being Bridgehouse Marina & Caravan Park www.bridgehousemarina.co.uk situated ten miles north of Preston, close to the market town of Garstang on the Lancaster Canal. Further south, on the Llangollen Canal, is Whixall Marine (Shropshire) Ltd www.whixallmarine.co.uk offering moorings, narrowboats and canal cruisers for sale, boatbuilding and repairs.
Westview Marine Services www.westviewmarineservices.co.uk is located at Earith, Cambridgeshire on the river Great Ouse. They provide boats for sale, mechanical services, chandlery, GRP & timber repairs, full or part-refits and commission new-build narrowboats and widebeams in their workshop and paint shop. Ken Yates Marine Sales Ltd www.kenyates.co.uk is based on the River Nene at Billing Marina, which is part of Billing Aquadrome.
Other sites offering boat brokerage and sales are Narrowboatsearch www.narrowboatsearch.co.uk, a narrowboat brokerage listing and Lancaster Canal Boat Sales www.alucard.co.uk/boatsales/.
Hardly a month goes by without several new boatbuilding sites appearing and this month is no exception. Boat Window Boats Ltd www.boatwindowboatsltd.co.uk at Fairies Hill Marina, Castleford, West Yorkshire, are offering a range of shells and sailaway vessels, both narrow and widebeam for owner completion. The well known Ledgardbridge Boat Company www.ledgardbridge-boatcompany.com now has a new website advertising both its narrow and broad-beam boats. Hixon Boats www.hixonboats.co.uk are shell builders based on a site away from the canal at Hixon in Staffordshire and D & J Narrowboats www.dandjnarrowboats.co.uk are boat fitters who also provide refitting and curtain-making services from their base at Kibworth, Leicestershire.
Four new sites provide equipment for boats. Chandlery Direct www.chandlerydirect.com is an on-line shopping site for all your inland waterways, general chandlery, caravanning and leisure needs. Marine Lighting Solutions www.marinelightingsolutions.co.uk is a British supplier of highly efficient, long lasting, marine LED lighting. Other electrical suppliers are Barden UK Ltd www.bardenbatteries.co.uk selling batteries, chargers, inverters, solar panels and wind generators; and Mikuni Heating UK Ltd www.mikuniheating.com specialists in vehicle and marine applications the world over.
Strawberry Island Boat Club www.strawberryislandboatclub.co.uk based near Doncaster on the Sheffield & South Yorkshire Navigation is a large and active club whose members cruise the whole waterways network and who now have a presence on the internet. Canalia www.canalia.co.uk offer a wide range of hand-painted canal ware on an attractively illustrated site. Narrow Boat Chat www.narrowboatchat.com is an interactive site for the narrowboat enthusiast and owner community, with lots of free services.
Bolinder Engines www.bolinder-engines.info aims to be an information exchange site covering these diesel engines, manuals and spares. A chat area is also provided. Tony Clayton's Canal Pages www.tclayton.demon.co.uk/bcn1.html covers his journeys on the BCN and links to the Shrewsbury & Newport Canals and other canal pages. Boating Days www.boatingdays.co.uk run canal boating holidays (full weeks, short breaks & day hire) from their base at Acton Bridge on the Trent & Mersey Canal.
Site of the Month
In contrast to last months site, which was selected for its pictorial qualities, our current site of month is firmly text based. Mike Clarke's Home Page www.mike.clarke.zen.co.uk is the work of a professional industrial and canal historian and restoration engineer whose interests include steam engines, vintage cars, water mills and windmills as well as canals and canal boats.
The site includes a very good brief history of English canals and, in a separate article, the history of commercial carrying on English canals. There are also some more specialist articles such as the biography of Thomas Steers, one of the early and most important English canal engineers. It is good to see that at least one serious canal historian is making his work accessible to the world on the web. All too often this type of work lays hidden away in the dusty back numbers of learned journals instead of providing a source to be used by others to build on.
Another part of the site gives information about Milepost Research, the business he set up in 1991 to provide advice and research on subjects related to industrial history, both to the public and private sector. Examples of his work and publications he has produced show the wide range of his interest and expertise. This is a site that has some real unique content and will be appreciated by anyone with an interest in waterway history.
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