Banbury boatyard asking community for historic boat restoration ideas

A Banbury boatyard is asking members of the public for ideas on how to renovate its historic narrowboat.
Tooley's Boatyard are asking members of the public to share their ideas on what to do with historic working boat Hardy.Tooley's Boatyard are asking members of the public to share their ideas on what to do with historic working boat Hardy.
Tooley's Boatyard are asking members of the public to share their ideas on what to do with historic working boat Hardy.

After receiving funding from the National Lottery Fund, Tooley’s Boatyard Trust is now asking for restoration ideas for the narrowboat named Hardy.

In 2019, Tooley’s rescued the former working boat from a watery grave near Braunston, Northamptonshire and brought it back to Banbury to stabilise and survey.

The team at Tooley’s will be on hand at the Banbury Canal Festival this weekend to discuss ideas for Hardy’s potential future roles within the community.

Hardy in its working days, when it would often take coal from Coventry to Banbury.Hardy in its working days, when it would often take coal from Coventry to Banbury.
Hardy in its working days, when it would often take coal from Coventry to Banbury.

Chair of Tooley’s Boatyard, John Madden, said: “Anyone walking along the canal in Banbury will have seen an old wooden working boat, Hardy, looking just a little sorry for herself. But, old wooden boats are remarkably tough and the boatyard kept her partially sunk over the summer to prevent her old planks drying out.

“We are extremely lucky and grateful to have received funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and we would like to engage with the local community to explore how we could use Hardy for community projects once her restoration takes place."

Tooley’s are inviting people to come and share their ideas at the Banbury Canal Weekend on October 1 and 2.

The public will also have the chance to see the bare bones of the traditional boat and see pictures of the boat in its working days which date back to the 1940s.

As part of the Canal Weekend celebrations, Tooley’s has planned a programme of 20-minute long events taking place on both days at the Dry Dock.

These include, the building of wooden narrowboats with Ian Staples at 1pm where Ian will share his expertise in the traditional methods of building wooden narrowboats like Hardy.

At 2pm, Banbury boatwoman Kate Saffin will present a one-woman show, telling the story of a woman working on the boats on the Oxford Canals.

Steve Hayward a writer and intrepid boater will share a reading from his new book ‘Tales from the Tillerman’ at 2.30pm.

Following on, at 3pm author Dan Clacher will share tales from his children’s story books, Muddy Waters, about narrowboats along the Banbury waterways.

At 4pm Matt Armitage the director of Tooley’s Boatyard will talk about the historic boatyard and its 200-year heritage.

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