Previous names

  • 1953 - 1974 Snipe
Certificate no 1990
Status Registered


Function Cargo Vessel
Subfunction Narrow Boat
Location Dudley
Vessel type Butty
Current use Museum based
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No


Builder Braithwaite & Kirk, West Bromwich
Built in 1913
Hull material
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Towed
Primary engine type None
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
6.11 feet (1.86 m)
3.40 feet (1.04 m)
Length: Overall
71.60 feet (21.84 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed



KILDARE is a butty, built in 1913 a cost of £190 in Braithwaites & Kirk’s yard at Hilltop West Bromwich and registered on 18th April. She was originally horse-drawn, as well as being towed by steamers and boats with diesel engines. KILDARE was one of twenty four similar composite butties, built with wrought iron sides and elm bottoms, for Fellows, Morton and Clayton Ltd. She traded throughout the canal system, carrying a variety of cargoes.

 In October 1940, she was damaged at New Warwick Wharf, Birmingham. After repairs, she continued to trade until her sale to Ernie Thomas in 1948. Some years later, she was bought by Willow Wren Canal Carrying Co, entering service in 1957 as Snipe. Records show her paired with motors GREBE, WIDGEON and SWAN. After two more changes of ownership, she reverted to her original name and became part of Warwickshire Fly Boat's fleet. Fitted out as a camper, she was a familiar sight on the Grand Union canal. In September 1991, KILDARE was bought by the Black Country Living Museum, aided by Friends of President and a Science Museum grant. In early 1992, she was extensively renovated and returned to her original appearance. At some time, her wooden bottom had been replaced with riveted iron and her fore-cabin removed. A new fore-cabin has now been built using traditional materials. KILDARE, although outwardly resembling a fully clothed working narrow boat, has been fitted out to provide accommodation and support facilities for PRESIDENT. With the addition of camping style accommodation for the crew, work is happening to replace the iron bottom and footings on the hull, keeping alterations as close to the original as possible.


HNBC: Steaming up for the 13th Braunston Narrow Boat Rally, pp37

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact

More like this

Tania Jackson Starcross 86yr old F-type Butty

Registered, built 1932 by Walker, W H & Brothers, Rickmansworth

Out on dabchick

Registered, built 1930 by Yarwood, W J & Sons Ltd, Northwich

ALPERTON (foreground) - with motor DARLEY. Stern cabin and tiller  from starboard side.

Registered, built 1936 by Harland & Wolff Ltd, Woolwich

RAYMOND port quarter

Registered, built 1958 by Barlow Coal Company, Samuel, Braunston, Daventry