Registration number 1380
Status National Historic Fleet


Function Service Vessel
Subfunction Inspection Launch
Location Yardley Gobion
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required Yes


Builder White, J Samuel & Co Ltd, Cowes, Isle of Wight
Built in 1928
Hull material Wood
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Petrol
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
6.98 feet (2.13m)
3.31 feet (1.01m)
Length: Overall
53.97 feet (16.46m)
Tonnage: Gross


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.

We are currently seeking further information on this National Historic Fleet vessel. If you have any details about this vessel past or present, please contact us.

Key dates

  • 1928

    Built at Cowes as an inspection craft for the Grand Union Canal Company

  • 1929-1950

    Used extensively by the Directors of the Company especially when the Company acquired an extra 250 miles of canals

  • 1939

    Underwent an extensive refit

  • 1950

    Transferred to British Waterways but only used occasionally

  • 1958

    Underwent another extensive refit

  • 1970

    Remained in poor condition at Bulbourne

  • 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

  • 1977

    Relaunched at Grayton and cruised the canals with the Rabbet family

  • 1980

    Sold to Oliver and Mary Turner

  • 1998

    Included on the National Register of Historic Vessels

  • 2012

    Vessel selected for  Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June 2012

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