Linnet was built in 1937 by W.H. Walker & Brothers Ltd at Rickmansworth for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company.
She was originally built as an unpowered butty boat, one of the 62 “big Rickys” that Walkers built for the G.U.C.C.Co, and intended to be work with motor boat Coleshill.
She was cut in half and a steel motor stern bolted in place in the early 70’s, and 1973 she passed to her present owners who gave her the name “Linnet”. In 1989 she was extended and had a wooden stern constructed by Malcom Webster at Malkins Bank, and in 2009 the same restored the bow.
Humphrey was built by the Warrington Gas Works at the turn of the century, and in 1985 the present owners had him converted into a pontoon by Rick Falkner at Malkins Bank, and in 2016 he was extended at Dodford to become a true work flat.
Mercia was built in Birmingham at some time during the reign of Queen Victoria. Little is known of her earlier history, but it is believed she was bought by the Birmingham Canal Navigations Co. in 1885 to take over from an wooden dredger.
For 52 years she served the company as a spoon dredger, being decommissioned to carrying duties in the Autumn of 1937. In 1948, the canals were nationalised and the all of the BCN Co fleet were transferred to the ownership of the Docks & Inland Waterways Executive.
This caused no change to Mercia’s career and she continued to work as a maintenance boat, with the only change coming to her in the 1960’s when she was shortened to her present length to enable her to work with a ‘Bantam’ tug.
In around 2008, heavily laden with piling, the wash of a passing boat cleared her gunnels and sunk her, causing British Waterways to eventually crane her out of the water at Ickneild Port. She remained on hardstanding at Ickneild Port until she was sold to her present owner on 29th September 2010, as part of the Workboat Disposal Auction.
Tishy was built circa 1958 as a jolly boat for the ship “Gomba Enterprise”, with whom she served until 1976 when the ship was sent to the breakers yard and her Captain purchased Tishy.
Ariel was built in 1935 in Northwich by W.J. Yarwood and Sons for Midlands and Coast Canal Carriers Limited. She was built in a one-off design and paired with butty boat Taurus.
Following nationalisation in 1949, she became a maintenance boat for British Waterways and was cut in two, the stern end becoming Ariel 1 and the fore end becoming Ariel 2.
In 1980 there was horrendous flooding which left Ariel 2 beached and beyond economic repair, and this half was broken up. Ariel 1 (now the only Ariel) was sold into private ownership in around 1992 but was promptly sunk and resold. This owner had her extensively restored at Stockton and used her for cargo work around London- she was one of the last boats to use the Bow Back Tidal waters. In 2009 she was bought by her present owner.