... 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, 4 July 2012

Blue Line line-up

On Sunday morning we moved Chertsey back along the arm to facilitate a photo call for the Blue Line boats that were there: Nutfield and Raymond, in Blue Line colours, alng with Stanton and Renfrew, two other boats that worked for the company.

Somewhere I have picked up a bit of the history of the company, but I can't recall where to go back and check my facts, so forgive me if this is a bit vague. Blue Line was set up by Michael Streat (known as 'Mr Streaks' to the boatmen) and operated out of Braunston. It was Blue Line boats that were on the legendary 'Jam 'Ole Run' from Atherstone/Baddesley to the Kearley and Tonge works (which I think didn't actually make jam at the time? near Bulls Bridge - famously the last regular long distance commercial traffic, which ended in November 1970 (only three months after the far longer established Ashby Canal - Dickinsons mills coal traffic which Chertsey so briefly participated in).

I'm not sure either how many boats Blue Line ran, or whether they owned or leased them, but they also included the large Woolwich butty Belmont (now in a sorry state on the bank at a 'water park') and Lucy, a wooden Nursers built boat currently being restored by Pete Boyce - now also co-owner of Renfrew - at Braunston.

Anyway, i think they got their photo - while I got some much more interesting ones of them getting lined up for it!

(I'm going to post on CWF and ask for additional info and corrections on this)


  1. The last three years they ran three pairs of boats
    Stanton & Belmont,Doris and Jim Collins
    Nutfield & Raymond,Ernie Kendall, Arthur and Rose Bray
    Renfrew & Lucy,Laura Carter Bill & Rose Whitlock and their son Mick
    Nutfield (I bought off Michael) was a large Northwich as wasRenfrew but Stanton was a Woolwich.(if memory serves me correctly.
    Lucy and Raymond were 5 plank Nursers.
    All boats were owned by Blue Line. Your comment on Belmont was correct and Blue Line were in process of refurbishing the butty Capello (which I nearly bought) a composite boat for Jim & Doris when the contract ended.
    I worked for Blue Line in 1970.

  2. Thanks for this John, I will incorporate it along with other good stuff off CWF.
    Stanton's definitely a Northwich too though.

  3. I'm now wondering if John is a member of a family who run a well known hire fleet.

    Or at least that is my (very hazy!) memory of who Nutfield got sold on to!

    It also sounds like I may have "invented" the fact I thought I was told "Stanton" was leased rather than owned by Blue Line. I think I must be getting my boats mixed up!

    1. Yes I do run Wyvern Shipping with my brother. All I remenber about Stanton was that we put a wooden cabin top on her for the new owner. It could have been leased but I rather doubt it as Michael preferred to own / operate his own boats. He also re-engined her with a Lister HA3 (no 2s around at the time) making Jim king of the cut for a short time. I choose Nutfield out of the three as I had known Ernie and the Brays for many years,

  4. I am having trouble distinguishing between Blue Line Carriers and Blue Line Cruises. I have pictures that show Rose Bray on boats in both liveries. Did Blue Line Cruises take over from Blue Line Cruisers, and if so when did the change take place?