built 1928 by White, J Samuel & Co Ltd, Cowes, Isle of Wight

Ensign House flag


National Historic Fleet

Service Vessel

Inspection Launch

Yardley Gobion

Private use

Private: operating












To be confirmed

6.98 feet (2.13 metres)

53.97 feet (16.46 metres)

3.31 feet (1.01 metres)



KINGFISHER was the last canal inspection launch built in this country in 1928 and is one of only four remaining (three afloat). She was used extensively by the Directors of the Grand Junction Canal Co in the 1930s and 1940s and was transferred to British Waterways in 1950. Used by then sporadically, she was eventually left idle and neglected until 1970 when she was sold into private hands and extensively restored. Her current engine is a Kelvin P4R, 4 cy, 20hp, built in 1964.

Key dates

  1. 1928 Built at Cowes as an inspection craft for the Grand Union Canal Company
  2. 1929-1950 Used extensively by the Directors of the Company especially when the Company acquired an extra 250 miles of canals
  3. 1939 Underwent an extensive refit
  4. 1950 Transferred to British Waterways but only used occasionally
  5. 1958 Underwent another extensive refit
  6. 1970 Remained in poor condition at Bulbourne
  7. 1974 Bought by Mr Michael Rabbet who took her out of the water at Buckby and moved her to Dedham where she was painstakingly restored and rebuilt
  8. 1977 Relaunched at Grayton and cruised the canals with the Rabbet family
  9. 1980 Sold to Oliver and Mary Turner
  10. 1998 Included on the National Register of Historic Vessels
  11. 2012 Vessel selected for  Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June 2012
If you are the owner of the vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information please contact

copper fastened:

a vessel whose plank fastenings are of copper rather than iron