About

Enceladus (pronounced En-seller-dus) was built by W.J.Yarwood & Sons Ltd of Northwich, one of 12 motors of the small Northwich or ‘Star’ class. It was delivered to the Grand Union Canal Carrying Co in August 1935, bearing the fleet number 41 and fitted with Russell Newbery engine No 3217. It was initially registered at Birmingham No 1577 on 20th September 1935 but was re-registered just a few days later at Brentford No 534 on 25th September 1935. It was gauged by the Grand Junction Canal Co No 12391 on 10th October 1935.

Its intended pairing was with the butty Lyra and early records confirm that Enceladus and Lyra were indeed paired at least for some time. Skippers included Arthur Pearsall and Samuel Pritchard.

Enceladus was acquired by the Ministry of War Transport from the GUCCCo in November 1941 to serve as a pump boat. Once fitted with three heavy pumps in the hold, it was based at the Gas Light & Coke Company’s basin on the GU.

On nationalisation, 1st January 1948, Enceladus was allocated to the South Eastern Division’s Southern carrying fleet but in 1949 was transferred to the South Western Division maintenance fleet based at Gloucester. By 1956 it was lying derelict at Tardebigge, and was later cut in half.

In 1960 the fore end half was converted to become the British Waterways hire cruiser WATER VALIANT, in which form it was sold into private ownership by BW. It slowly deteriorated over the years, finally ending up on the bank at Stretton on the SUC in the early 2000s.

Between 2011 and 2013, Enceladus was rebuilt by Industry Narrowboats and Brinklow Boat Services, with a new bottom and footings, counter and cabin. It is powered by a Lister HR2 and carries its original two-tone blue livery.

I am indebted to Laurence Hogg (LHP Archive), Alan and Cath Fincher (NBs Sickle and Flamingo) , and Sarah Hale (NB Chertsey)  for their kind permission to republish their photographs here.