A RESTORED narrowboat is making a 100th birthday journey across the canal network from the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port to the London Canal Museum—and taking all summer to do it.
Ilkeston is a horse-drawn narrowboat built in 1912, which has been completely restored to its former glory thanks to boatyard staff, volunteers and Heritage Lottery Fund supported boatyard trainees at the innovative Heritage Boatyard at the Cheshire museum.
To celebrate Ilkeston's centenary and restoration, the boat has set off from Ellesmere Port and will make a 200-mile journey, through over 100 locks to London along the Shropshire Union Canal and Grand Union Canal.
The journey, which will take nearly three months, will see it stop off at many points along the way including Stoke Bruerne, Milton Keynes and Rickmansworth, giving many people the chance to see the beautifully restored boat majestically glide past. Since Ilkeston is unpowered she is being towed by a powered boat for the whole trip, mirroring the common commercial usage of her time.
Arriving in London on 23rd August, Ilkeston will travel the final leg through Regents Park and through Camden Locks, being towed as it was intended to be—by horse, a sight rarely seen on London's canals.
Once the journey is complete, Ilkeston will be on display at London Canal Museum until 23rd September, before leisurely making her way back to her home in Ellesmere Port, where she is part in the national collection at the National Waterways Museum, available for all to see and learn about the history of such narrowboats.