Registration number 3788
Status Registered

Previous names

  • 1899 - 1955 Colonel
  • 1955 - 1974 Mercury


Function Cargo Vessel
Subfunction Narrow Boat
Location Alvecote
Vessel type Josher
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No


Builder Fellows, Morton & Clayton, Saltley Dock
Built in 1899
Hull material Iron
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Semi diesel


Breadth: Beam
7.08 feet (2.16m)
3.00 feet (0.91m)
Air Draft
5.83 feet (1.78m)
Length: Overall
59.83 feet (18.24m)
Tonnage: Gross


COLONEL was launched June 1899 at Saltley. Built by Fellows, Morton & Clayton, iron composite Steam Powered Narrowboat with F.M.C. engine (Haines) and boiler by Edward Danks (Corrugated flue, 44” x 2 ¼” tubes, 110 psi) . Total cost £560. Fleet Number 65. Boiler re-tubed October 1901, May 1906, November 1908. Public Health registration (Birmingham) No.1040 - 27th October 1899. Grand Junction Registration 11697, 11th April 1911. Converted to Motor Boat, model NE Bolinder (£310), 4th September 1924. Re-gauged BCN 1307 - 14th February 1927. Grand Junction gauged GJ 12166 16th August 1927. Re-registered as BCN 1548 on 17th May 1934.

She moved general cargo carrying until 11th November 1941 when sold by FMC to Leonard Leigh, Birmingham and then used as tug on Birmingham Canal Navigations and sold to Ernest Thomas in 1946.  She was re-registered BCN 1307 29th May 1946 as COLONEL No.5. 1950/51 and shortened to 52'6" (BCN Tug length).  She was fitted Lister FR2 diesel engine No.835 with 3:1 reduction.  In the late 1950s she renamed MERCURY, and converted to wheel steering (removed shortly afterwards) and used by E.Thomas as personal pleasure boat. Purchased by Mike Harrison Easter 1970 on death of E.Thomas.

Purchased by her current owner in Easter 1974. Name changed back to COLONEL, windows removed and cabin re-skinned with portholes to tug format. Lister engine removed in 1974 and replaced with Bolinder Model B, 15hp Semi-Diesel, No 13120 (ex narrowboat SEVERN) in 1975.

Used for short period as floating workshop and then as privately owned pleasure boat. 1994, docked at Aylesbury and Elm bottom boards replaced with 1/2" steel plate. 1996, docked at Stockton, Warwickshire. Lengthened to 59’10” using rivetted iron side members and knees left from Butty BRENTFORD (built 1899 @ Saltley). 1998, docked at Watford, surveyed and forward cabin skinned in steel.

Key dates

  • 1899-06-30 Launched at FMC Saltley Dock.
  • 1924-09-04 Converted from Steamer to Motor Boat. Bolinder type NE fitted.
  • 1941-11-11 Sold by FMC to Leonard Leigh, Birmingham.
  • 1946-05-27 Sold to E.Thomas, Canal Carrier, Birmingham.
  • 1970-03-01 Sold to Michael Harrison, Sawley.
  • 1974-04-01 Sold to Peter Thompson, Stockers Lock, Rickmansworth.

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