Registration number 3798
Status Registered


Function Cargo Vessel
Subfunction Barge
Location Northwich
Vessel type Lighter
Current use Private use
Available to hire No
Available for excursions No


Builder Pimblott, Isaac & Co Ltd, Northwich
Built in 1948
Hull material Steel
Rig None
Number of masts 1
Propulsion Motor
Number of engines 1
Primary engine type Diesel
Boiler type None
Boilermaker None


Tonnage: Gross
Length: Overall
71.00 feet (21.64m)
Air Draft
10.50 feet (3.20m)
5.00 feet (1.52m)
Breadth: Beam
14.50 feet (4.42m)


IRIS ABBOTT was built by Isaac Pimblott of Northwich for Frederick J Abbott, a barge and warehousing company in Castlefield, Manchester, using war remuneration money to order the boat. She is built of steel, measured 70' by 14'6" to fit the Bridgewater Canal, and is still fitted with her original Gardner 4L3 engine. 

She mainly worked on the Mersey, the Manchester Ship Canal and Bridgewater Canal, carrying grain to the Kellogg’s Factory. It is said that the introduction of the IRIS caused disquiet as her turnaround time was much faster than the tugs. As well as carrying 47 tons of freight, she also operated as a tug to two other vessels.

The boat continued working on this route and others on the Bridgewater and Weaver until the Kellogg’s trade stopped in 1974. She was then sold into private ownership and was converted for private use, with the hold becoming living accommodation and the wheelhouse extended. 

Renamed to BLACK ABBOTT OF MERSEY for a while, the boat was used as a trip boat and often appeared in the background of television weather reports from Albert Dock, Liverpool. She did cruises as a hotel boat with visitors from her Liverpool base to Northwich and was regularly taken by her owners along the coast to the Menai Straits.

After subsequent changes of ownership, she was based back in Northwich. Having been purchased by her current owner in January 2024, she is now based near Acton Bridge, Cheshire, and being used as a liveaboard.

Key dates

  • 1948

    Built by Isaac Pimblott, Northwich, for Frederick J Abbott, a barge and warehousing company in Castlefield, Manchester

  • 1974

    Sold and converted for private use

  • 2024

    Purchased by current owner

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