... 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.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Chertsey loading at Gopsall Wharf

photo: Richard Pearson
Following that picture I posted a couple of days ago of Chertsey unloading at Croxley Mill (and the comments I made at the end) Richard Pearson has sent another wonderful photo of Chertsey loading at Gopsall - no copyright issues here, it's one he took himself (that's more than likely Harry Arnold snapping away on the bridge) and he's very generously happy for me to post it.

I feel very lucky to have so many good photos of Chertsey at various stages of her life, and particularly from this exciting time. I think this is an absolutelt brilliant picture, in the thick of the action, and better than the longer distance shots taken from the bridge.

What I find interesting here (following on from my musings about the paint scheme in the unloading picture) is that judging by the stands, mast, back end beam and tiller, Chertsey seems to have been painted to match the other boats, belonging to Tony (I think) Jones. Could this have been done deliberately, bearing in mind that this is early in the days of Richard Barnett's ownership, and he later changed the colour scheme completely, or is it just a lucky coincidence of traditional colours?

(I've not reduced the photo so you can click on it to get a bigger version and home in on the marvellous detail)


  1. Chertsey's mast arrangements seem a trifle unusual in that photo!

    It appears to have had the mast and luby replaced by a loop of old rope, and which you could be excused for thinking some attempt had been made to jam it in with a mixture of old rags and plumber's hemp!

    You are correct though - a great photo, and you should be well pleased that such good ones are still turning up.

    Is it known what the boats that you can't see the names of actually are ?

  2. How wonderful to have such good photos of Chertsey in its working days. A question about loading: was it usual to have bulkheads dividing the hold when loading loose goods? And were they a permanent (or semi-permanent) feature, or slotted in as and when required? From the colour the load must be coal, but it's very small. Is it slack?

  3. The butty is Betelgeuse, which you can see clearly if you enlarge the photo.

    The second HNBOC photo shows Chertsey loading (inside a fully loaded Comet, indeed this must be just before Richard Pearson's photo as the lorry is tipping coal into the 'back of the mast', where it is shown loaded to in Richard's pic.) In this picture there is a clothed up boat (empty by the look of it - maybe nothing to do with the others but what would it be doing there otherwise?) in the foreground but it isn't identified. almost certainly the same one though. A wild guess on the basis of the colour of the cabin is that it could be Jaguar.

    Interestingly the first HNBOC photo is captioned as Comet 'pushing off' which it can't be as it is still alongside Chertsey later while the latter is loading - maybe it is coming alongside having swapped places on the wharf?

    It looks as if Betelgeuse is just arriving and is going to wind prior to loading? No idea what the boat towing it is.

    The person to answer the question would be Nick Hill as he will have the records of which boats were loading that day.

  4. Halfie, I was struck by how neatly the coal is partitioned in that 'room'; it certainly looks as if there are boards holding it in place but I have never heard of that and don't know why it might be done. Chertsey loaded 23 tons on this trip so there is clearly more to come. In the photo in the HNBOC newsletter, showing that lot of coal being tipped in, there is no sign of any boards; perhaps the neatness is just an optical illusion. As for what grade of coal it is I shall have to consult, but it was for a paper mill so presumably to fire boilers of some sort, or for use in the drying process.

  5. Anybody got any idea why Chertsey has what appears to be and anchor and warp (in a black bucket) on the back end?

  6. Hmmm, I assumed that was just a bucket on a rope.

  7. Did Chertsey carry more than one load to Croxley? The unloading picture seems to show a different and better painted rear stand than the loading one.

    I don't think the clothed up boat is Jaguar -it looks like a GU boat to me


  8. Paul,

    I'm not certain about the stands. I think the unloading picture may appear rather fore-shortened, and the stand pictured may not be the back one, but the one that is forward of it in the loading picture.

    Perhaps that poorly painted stand was removed before the back of the boat was loaded ?

    I may well be wrong, but I rather think I can see the chains that would be where the rear stand should be disconnected, and hanging over the gunwales, in the unloading picture.

  9. Paul, I think that stand has lost its front 'face' - i.e. a separate piece of wood, leaving the bare central plank. Hence it looks ok from behind and damaged from the front. I have it on good authority, from Richard Pearson and Nick Hill, that Chertsey did do only this one run.

    Looking again I think Alan is right too, looks as if the rear cross beam has been removed in preparation for unloading. But would it be possible to pull the stand out from amid that mass of coal?

    That was only a wild guess at Jaguar, it is a total mystery to me really.

  10. I now think it's Whitby :-)