Boat at work after 25 years

Published: Thursday, 09 October 2014

THE Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum's former working narrowboat Sculptor, which has lain idle since being an exhibit in 1986, was loaded with coal at the bottom of the Stoke Bruerne lock flight last weekend, working the first time for 25 years.

Sculptor last carried cargo of any significance when returning from the IWA Festival at Castlefield on the Bridgewater Canal in 1988.

Excess coal

The opportunity to load Sculptor arose during the summer when Stoke Bruerne based canal trader Julia Cook of Jules Fuels, needed somewhere to put some excess coal whilst her butty, Bideford, is undergoing maintenance. Canal & River Trust, owners of Sculptor and operators of the canal museum readily agreed.

The boat has been lovingly restored and maintained by volunteers from The Friends of the Canal Museum ever since the group was formed in 2006, and attended a number of events and was loaded from time-to-time. But of late she has remained unladen and mainly in Stoke Bruerne with occasional trips to festivals.

Looks a picture

Julia Cook, a long term supporter of the Friends of the Canal Museum exclaimed:

"It's a pleasure to see Sculptor back in use carrying cargo after all these years. She has just returned from docking at Braunston where volunteers have carried out ‘bottom blacking' and other maintenance tasks and she really looks a picture in her new paint work."

After loading, Sculptor returned to her moorings at the Canal Museum where she will remain on show to visitors loaded (and used for training) until the New Year.