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Cactus

Hull of composite construction - riveted iron sides, wrought iron knees, 3" elm bottoms, 10" x 4" pitch pine main keelson, oak keelsons port and starboard aft.

Boatman's cabin oak framed, overlaid 1.25" p.t.g boards, sheathed and overlaid 0.5" rot proofed close nailed boarding, fitted out as original style.

Engine room constructed on angle iron frames, riveted steel plating. Originally designed for fitment of 9hp Bolinder single cylinder semi-diesel, but with extended engine room fitted with 15hp Bolinder and long-distance capacity fuel tank for 'City' work, working mainly between Birmingham and London with butty in tow.

First Captain Billy Knibbs.

Worked throughout WWII and after, until ownership transferred in 1950 to the nationalised British Transport Commission Docks & Inland Waterways Executive, following FMC's voluntary liquidation in 1949. Later transferred to British Waterways in 1955.

Thereafter increasing disuse allowed current owner's purchase in 1963. At that time the boat was fitted with an Armstrong-Siddeley 2 cylinder Merganser marine diesel engine with Parsons 3:1 gearbox. Tried for traffic with Midland Canal Transport but eventually converted to 46 seat passenger carrying craft, based at Great Haywood, Staffs. Spent 20 years in service as such, the engine having been changed for a Bolinder 1052 BR unit, 23 bhp.

1998 saw the start of a complete rebuild to present form, with detailed attention to original construction details, replacement original type Bolinder engine etc, completed 2001.

2011 marks the current owner's 48 years of continuous ownership, during which it has twice been awarded Best Working Boat at IWA National Rallies, travelled many thousands of miles around the Waterways and provided much pleasure to a great many. (Information supplied by Malcolm Braine)