Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Hot tin.... sorry Blossom!

Got a couple of busy days at work coming up so I thought I would just post a couple of interesting pics to tide things over. First one I came to was this - Chertsey's engine room cabin top (is it still a cabin top when it's lying on the ground? Or merely a potential one?)


Anyway, with all the old paint removed and just a couple of coats of primer you can see all the scars I wrote about the other day. That semi circle at the front is where there used to be a slide, mirroring the one on the other side. That had to be welded up when the air cooled engine was fitted, to make the space for the engine breather. That's the rectangular hole that cuts into the semi circle. To the right of that is the current exhaust outlet - but look at how many welded up redundant ones there are. You can see both where the hole has been welded up, and the corrosion that has occurred under the flange. But what is that oval hole to the left of the breather vent, that doesn't have a distinctive flange mark? And that square of corrosion to the right that doesn't have a hole?

The handrails and runners for the remaining slide are wooden, and still reasonably serviceable. Finally, the vent where the pigeon box should go - but this is now a square one, with a non-opening lid with a porthole - more like a josher's 'biscuit tin' but bolted down. That appears to be a relatively recent addition, all the older photos I have showing a more conventional pigeon box.

19 comments:

  1. Hi Sarah,

    The two blanked holes in the centre of your engine room lid are the originals - one for the National exhaust and the other for an elsan vent pipe which were both brought up into the original "liner style-funnel." When the funnels were done away with, as they soon were, the elsan vent was removed and blanked off.

    The square of corrosion by the semi-circle cut out is I think only where water gone under the original side hatch timber surround.

    No idea abiout the oval hole at an angle but something was obviously bolted down here at one time.

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  2. Ah yes... I think you can see the funnel in the picture in The George and the Mary. I'd forgotten that; hadn't even registered that they were still fitting them by then. So where did the Elsan vent come from? What was the Elsan arrangement?

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  3. Hi Sarah
    Ain't you got a lot of holes in your 'tin roof' (ha ha) put them down to battle scars, and I have to agree with Paul regarding the holes/welded sections and their previous uses for National and elsan but would also like to point out that the semi-circle welded section this side of the picture also represents a later addition from original for although Northwich motors had two slides, one on each side of the engine 'ole, Big Woolwich motors only had one slide on the left (port) side so this extra slide must have been cut in after Chertsey was built in the 1930's and been welded up by 1960 when the Petter was fitted, being as the air intake has been cut into the welded patch.

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  4. Intriguing... In that case, going back to Paul's earlier suggestion, might the roof section have come off a Northwich, or would that be incompatible in other ways?

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  5. It's unlikely but not impossible as originally, Northwich motors were built with riveted metal engine 'ole and back cabin all in one and there was no joint in the cabin top or sides between the engine 'ole and back cabin. As well as this the slide hatches were also metal and ran on two forged metal runners which were riveted to cabin top so unless somebody removed the riveted slide runners and re-riveted the holes it left in your cabin top then I doubt it. Just one last addition comment about Northwich cabins, they were disliked by the boat people as they suffered very badly with condensation and a lot of the original metal back cabins were cut off and replaced with wooden back cabins. If you want to see an absolutely original in every detail Northwich cabin then look at Belatrix which still has heres as built including original slides, pigeon box, bulls eye, mushroom vent etc. etc.

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  6. I agree with Blossom.

    Your roof is almost certainly a woolwich one and now we've accounted for (most of) the holes also likely to be the original.

    Not sure about there only being one side hatch originally but GUCCC extensively modified these boats within a year or two of service. Originally the roof was not removable as the cabin and engine room were framed and panelled. If you want to see a big wooly rebuilt to what is thought to original spec I think the only one is Buckden - complete with various rot traps.

    I've thought about the extra hole by the side hatch and wonder if it was a military headlight which some enthusiasts fitted to boats. Some were designed to go through cab roofs so they could be swivelled from inside.

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  7. The Buckden comment is VERY interesting but I will await the comments of the Great Helmsman with much interest!!!!!!!!!!!

    J

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  8. What he means is, I have heard the theory re the panelling but I haven't been able to track down any thirties photos showing it on a Woolwich. Plenty of Ricky motors (so it does show in photos), but all the Woolwiches I've seen in early photos seem to have flat cabin sides. If anyone can point me in the direction of any that do show one Buckden style, I'd be fascinated - in the absence of evidence I'm inclined to remain sceptical. It'd be good if it were true though, it might be a way of disguising my wobbly cabin sides.

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  9. John Yates recreated Buckden as original from a photo he apparantly got from Lawrence Hogg but if you have the latest revised Grand Union CCC booklet (Robert Wilson series) you can just make out the panelling and lack of visible engine room flange on page 20 on Baldock. The cabin handrail is also continuous (rainwater exiting via small weeps which must have soon got blocked.)

    As the engines were serviced/exchanged out of the boats all this woodwork had to come out to get the roof off.

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  10. Forgot the book I was referring to is called The George & The Mary!

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  11. Got it in front of me. OK, I see the continuous handrail (slides both sides too!) but no matter how hard I try I can't make that look like panelling (compared, say, to Merope on the next page)... Actually, if I stare really hard at the lower bit, maybe I can convince myself. Likewise, actually, with Chertsey on page 22 (misnamed in the new edition). But surely there must be something more conclusive than this?

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  12. Well I can definitely see it on Chertsey on page 22. Look at the framing between the engine room and the cabin - there's a definite shadow. I would have hoped for a clearer pic as well but as I said the framing only lasted a year or so. I presume John Yates' pic is clearer but I'll keep hunting thrugh the books t osee if I can turn up anythin else.

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  13. I had heard that only the earlier built woolwiches had framing / panels, and that by the 1937 built boats this had been stopped due to the problem associated with engine removal. I'm sure George told me that Alton had framing when built and that there is some evidence of this on the engine room cabin but I cannot think where.

    Cheers, Brian

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  14. Well, Chertsey was handed over in January 1937, so I guess could have been one of the last to have this. Was it an innovation introduced with the large boats? As if they'd already tried it with the Stars they'd have known about the disadvantages. It does seem a bit odd in the light og GUCCCo's apparent desire to promote a modern, streamlined look (the funnels, lettering style, minimal decoration) that they would want to resurrect a more traditional look. Could there have been structural reasons? Clearly not insurmountable ones.

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  15. So if the two central holes were for exhaust and elsan vent, which was which? And after the funnels were abandoned, if the elsan vent opening was blocked off, were the elsan's vented elsewhere?

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  16. Yes, I'd like to know how the Elsan system worked... By the way, having looked at it in the flesh again it is clear that that rectangular patch of corrosion adjacent to the breather vent is from under the old slide runner, so that's one mystery solved.

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  17. Not runner, frame. You know what I mean.

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  18. Definitely not green. I think the green GU scheme turned out to be a bit of a myth, even though in the NarrowBoat mag it is illustrated with a pic of Chertsey. If I ever go for GU livery it would be the two blue scheme that it would have had when first built, but I won't do that for a lonh time, if ever (for a start it wouldn't fit either with the current cabin shape or the engine). At present I'm going more for the feel of the early seventies, when Chertsey last worked. If I were to repaint in the scheme she had then it would be dark blue, cream, black and red - a bit of an odd combination!

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