Certificate no 2266
Status Registered


Function Cargo Vessel
Subfunction Narrow Boat
Location Dudley
Current use Museum based
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No
Info required No
Web address www.bclm.co.uk


Builder Thomas, Ernest, Walsall
Built in 1953
Hull material
Rig None
Number of decks 1
Number of masts
Propulsion Towed
Primary engine type None
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Breadth: Beam
7.10 feet (2.17 m)
Length: Overall
70.10 feet (21.38 m)
Tonnage: Gross
Air Draft
To be confirmed


BIRCHILLS was built by Ernest Thomas on his dock at the top of Walsall locks, to the traditional design of a day boat/joey. She was registered on 23 June 1954 at Tipton and worked on the run to Birchills Power Station. When the power station closed, she was sent to Hatherton Junction on the Staffs and Worcs canal, where she was based on the Hatherton Branch, outside E.Thomas' house. This was the last boat built by Ernest Thomas, and almost the last joey built (a few more were built at Ken Keay's dock on the Wyrley and Essington Canal, about a mile away). It is the only surviving joey with a day cabin, and may be the only surviving wooden joey still capable of floating.


HNBC (2015/2) The Keay Awards, 2014

Key dates

  • 1953

    Built by E Thomas, Walsall

  • 1977

    Restoration prior to delivery to Black Country Living Museum

  • 2015

    Vessel has been repaired and redocked following furtrher restoration


  • 2013

    A grant of £22,750  was given towards the restoration project by The Headley Trust

Own this vessel?

If you are the owner of this vessel and would like to provide more details or updated information, please contact info@nationalhistoricships.org.uk