I met the proud owner of nb Manchuria, Gwylim Jones, moored by the NIA at Brindley Place, central Birmingham on 30 May. He had been following some of the route of the BCN Marathon Challenge.

Gwylim lives in Alvechurch, Worcestershire and the boat is kept normally at Brinklow on the North Oxford Canal.

Manchuria started life as a station boat in 1928 built by Yarwoods. There were 28 of them built for LMS Railways, to be used around the BCN. It was actually a butty open day boat so no cabin or engine. It would carry goods from the factories to the railway exchange stations, where the goods were off loaded from the boats onto the trains.

Later, it became a maintenance boat on the Peak Forest Canal. Then in 1974 it was given to the Stratford Canal Society. It was pulled to the Stratford by tug Beetle with butties Dory and Mecca also in tow.

Gwylim bought it as an open boat and had it cabined up and a Lister JP2 engine fitted. The external  livery he fashioned on LMS trains (see model photo below). The cabin has been extended to house a bathroom, so one can sleep on it.

He intends to take Manchuria to the Historic Narrowboat Rally & Canal Festival, Held at Braunston Marina on the 25/6 of June.

Here are some photos I took plus three of Gylim’s of the boat under conversion (Click on images for larger view).

Here is a video on starting the engine.