... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Should look nice on the mantelpiece

Yes, the answer was that all those boats have been recipients of the Hemelryk Award, presented each year by HNBOC to the 'most improved' iron or steel narrowboat - in practice, the best restoration. The reason I can reel off all the previous winners is because the trophy is currently sitting on Bakewell's sideboard. Not that Chertsey has won it, you understand - it wasn't even nominated (sob) - albeit largely because I didn't nominate it. No, we are merely looking after it temporarily while it is in transit between last year's winner, Swan, who handed it over at the Walton launch on Saturday, and this year's... You didn't think I was going to give it away did you? No, you'll have to come along to the AGM on March 3rd to find that out.

To be honest, this is rather nicer than the Keay award, which is a rather battered rosebowl which has seen better days, but then wooden boat restorers are so unworldly they probably don't notice.


  1. Can you tell us why this award is called the Hemelryk Award?
    [ Hemelrijk or Hemelryk is the Dutch word for heaven ]

  2. The award commemorates John Hemelryk who owned and lived on the Josher "Peacock" at Paddington from IRC 1955 to his death in 1992. He maintained it fastituously living simply in the back cabin. He was probably the first enthusiast (although he would have hated the word) to preserve a boat in working trim to such a high standard. Not sure if he had a Dutch background - he was a very private man partly because he was always desperate to hide his middle class and public school roots!

  3. I gave up attending AGM's when they shifted to the back of beyond in easy public transport terms.Not likely to be a fun trip into the uk hinterlands in a van either,UK signage is getting more and more random and that's before you get the finger post roulette merchants which most country areas have.
    Time to pick a venue in the middle of Birmingham methinks wsith busses and trains aplenty.
    Regards madcat