Midnight Paradise

Click on image for larger view

I first met Mark Johnson with his narrowboat Midnight Paradise moored outside the NIA (National Indoor Arena) near Brindley Place, Birmingha on the BCN Main Line. This was on a Sunny day over the May Day weekend. The boat was very different in appearance to the usual boats moored there, and on talking to Mark I discovered that he was still restoring and converting the boat to become a residential, cruising boat with a working boat character. I didn’t realise at the time how large scale the changes under way were…..The boat was built in 1973 with a steel hull, wooden cabin and powered by a Lister SR4 engine:

Model Cylinders Capacity (cc) Bore & Stroke HP @ RPM (max) Cooling Weight Fuel
SR4 4 2205 31/2 X 31/2 33 @ 3000 Air 520 lb Diesel

Below is Mark’s tale:

“I have been on and off boats all my life, eg on the trip boats in Gas Street Basin, Birmingham, but to be able to actually own and work on my own boat was a dream come true.

I purchesed the boat in 2007 from Walsall boat builders as the owner had bought it but then decided it wasnt a job for him as it was in a very poor state. I patched up the woodwork to make it decent temporarily, so that I could get it out on the water and enjoy it.

In 2008 I took it out on its maiden voyage around the four counties ring including the Llangollen canal which was very memorable.

A lot of cruising is done around the BCN network and going to the black country rallies where I have made quite a few friends with other boaters alike.

The building of the boat was helped by my trade which is a weld technician for a manifacturing company but the ideas and construction of the shape of the boat, etc, was purely through throwing designs around my own head and the fact that I like the working boat shape. In 2010 the steel work was started, complete replate of the hull and replacement of the old wooden cabin with a steel working boat cabin, and a repaint. Currently in process is the refit of the inside.

The progress of the work on the boat has been slow due to work commitments, etc, but I can say I have thouroughly enjoyed every minute of what I have done to the boat and have even helped friends out in bettering there boats because they have said mine is done so well.”

Click on images below for larger views.

Here are some photos supplied by Mark of the boat taking its new shape (more photos will be added during week beginning Monday 16 May):

I think Mark has the kind of face that characteristically epitomises skippers of working boats. (Or is it just the hat that does?) See what you think in this slideshow of some photos I took recently.

We will be returning periodically to see how Mark is progressing with his boat, so keep watching (or better still Subscribe to email notification – see top of left sidebar).

Midnight Paradise Revisited 19 May 2011:

Another visit to Titford Pump House provided  some more photos in a slideshow and a video as below.

Here is a brief slideshow.

And a video…..