Tunnel Tugs

Please note: The coloured names simply differentiate between the craft – they are not hyperlinks!

2.1871 Steam Tugs ordered for Braunston and Blisworth
15.2.1871 Read memorial signed by the clergyman and inhabitants of Blisworth on behalf of the leggers employed there and whose occupation was now lost in consequence of a steam tug being introduced into the tunnel as well as their having been out of work for several weeks on account of the canal being stopped by frost.  Resolved that a gratuity of £1 each be presented to the seventeen leggers, the other five being provided for by a weekly payment of 5/- each as settled by Minute of Committee."   
4.1871 Two tugs arrived
2.4.1871 Materials purchased for tug SPIDER from Rowland Hill 4/6d (note)
26.4.1871 Mr Mercer reported that a tug was now at work at the Braunston Tunnel and that the same charges were being made at the Blisworth tunnel, viz:  Boats with cargoes of 25 tons and upwards 1/6d each way.  Boats with cargoes under 25 tons 1/3d each way.  Empty Boats 1/- each way.   And as the service of the leggers (twelve) would no longer be required it was resolved that a weekly allowance of 5/- each be made to W. Benjamin 75 years of age and 44 years at tunnel;  R. Thomas 65 years of age and 38 years at tunnel; and John Fox 64 years of age and 19 years at tunnel."
19.7. 1876 Tunnel tugs to be repaired at Bulbourne - formerly done at Carrying Establishment base in City Road Basin under Thomas's supervision.  Various machines from the Carrying Establishment to be transferred to Bulbourne where blacksmith's shop to be enlarged.    Note from Thomas dated 15 July 1876:  "I am afraid I shall not be able to keep these (the steam tugs) in repair at so cheap a rate as they have formerly been done inasmuch that there has been at City Basin a staff of men at similar work which could be drafted at all times for the purpose whereas I shall be obliged to have one or two men (at Bulbourne) especially for the purpose and have to find them other work to fill up time when not so engaged.
8.11.1876 Shropshire Union Railways & Canal Company offer to buy steam tug WOLF for £120 - refused.
17.1.1883 Steam tug BADGER to be dismantled.
4.9.1895 …the tug SPIDER is working much better now Danks has altered the position of the blades by inserting bevelled washers between the ends of the blades and the boss. The Tug HASTY is at liberty any time. Millner/G C Thomas
4.11.1895 Tug SPIDER. The old boss and blades were put on the tug in time for making the first turn after our stoppage on the 31st ulto and the boss and blades taken off were dispatched to you at Bulbourne. As we have no duplicate set in stock UI hope you will be able to put one in hand soon. I understand there is a serious drawback to the new form of boss viz the difficulty in replacing broken blades also no more speed is obtained from its use and I beg to call your attention to this. Millner/GC Thomas
9/12.11.1895 T Please send a set of 16” blades for the tug PILOT, those present at work cracked and the SPIDER’s blades have a broken bolt hole. Millner GC Thomas
21.11.1895 I beg to enclose a report from Danks re the last set of blades just on the tug SPIDER. Millner /GC Thomas

I am very glad you have decided to build a new Tug and that the hull is to be all oak. I have few suggestions to make except that the length overall should be about 52 ft 7’ 0” beam and draft not over 3’ 8”. The present style of engine answers our requirements but some little improvement could be made to the reversing gear for strength and rigidness. I hope you will adopt the Griffiths propeller blade and have the blocks for same brass instead of cast iron. The bunker would be more convenient if the hatches for taking in the coal were in the top of the cabin instead of on the side.
The only serious fault to find against the present tugs is the amount of smoke they make and any improvement in this direction would be duly appreciated by the tugmen and boatpeople and provided such a tug was working at Braunston there would be no necessity to spend money in opening old shafts.
I understand there are some powerful tugs working in the Norton Tunnel on the Worcs and Birm. Canal;s that make no smoke and the tunnel is perfectly clear. Millner/ G C Thomas NOTED that this is HASTY built 1896 (Were there three Hasty’s ? - RT) lasted until 1922.

17.1.1896 Re Tug PILOT I will arrange a day’s stoppage for the inspection of this tug but it will be very inconvenient for the traders and a loss to the company.. I would be glad if the inspection could be postponed until until the new tug is built. I would suggest that when the spare tug is out, I may be allowed to send each of the working tugs alternately to Bulbourne say every three month to be thoroughly examined and any repairs fouind necessary could be put in hand. I believe you would find this an improvement on the monthly inspection at the tunnels.. Millner / G C Thomas

18/21.1.1896 T

Send fan blades to Braunston tug on Monday if possible. Have broken one today. You have order for these Millner/Beasley GJC Bulborne.
21.1.1896 Mr Thomas has made arrangements with the Boiler Insurance Co for a thorough examination of the tug PILOT on Monday next 27th January so be good enough to arrange on Sunday after the last trip to cool down and wash out boiler and have everything in readiness for the inspector who will arrive at about 9am Monday morning. And to work as soon as possible in the afternoon Millner/Bull
4.2.1896 Both tugs are working well. The inspection of the SPIDER was made yesterday and the tug was working at 3pm. This tug requires the reversing gear looking to and a new brick to the steam chest. The stern bush is also loose with broken pins and the oscillation of the propeller shaft causes a slight leakage. There is a small leakage in the hull through a loose rivet in the rubbing guard.
27.4.1896 …and to tug SPIDER… (652)
18.5.1896 I beg to inform you that we very nearly had 5 children suffocated in Blisworth Tunnel this afternoon. They were attended by Dr Hodgeson at the north end and after a time came round
I have instructed the tug men to warn the boatpeople and send the women and children over. We are burning Welsh and Digby cobbles and with a view to doing all we can to prevent such accidents don’t you think it would be advisable to burn the best steam coal during the summer months. Millner/G C Thomas
4.6.1896 I am informed that the 21 boats towed through the tunnel had no boatmen on board to steer them. Please let me know if this is correct. In future do not tow more boats in one trip than the tug can haul in one hour. Millner/Bull
5.6.1896 I have your note and you must find out the boatmen who left their boats and walked over the tunnel on 2nd inst and please note and also inform your men that if it occurs again the man in charge of the tug will be required to leave the Company’s service. Millner/Bull
8.7.1896 I have to report that the smoke in the tunnel has been exceptionally thick the last three days and I enclose a note received from the tug master. If Mr Beasley of Uxbridge…..make the new tug engine, if not too late I suggest he puts in a compound or other smoke consuming machine. Millner/G C Thomas
21.7.1896 Danks (Braunston) and Bull (Blisworth) Tug masters
30.9.1896 Tug HASTY (973)
11.10.1896 Beasley reported to me that you would fix the new propeller last Friday (9th) night. As you have not done so you can arrange to fix same tonight.
24.10.1896 HASTY heater plug (24)
7.7.1899 After Canvin’s steamer JUBILEE had been raised in Braunston Tunnel, she got up steam and worked through the tunnel between 7 and 8 pm and was run into by our tug HASTY when she was towing the fleet of boats that had been in the stoppage. The tunnel was smoky at the time and the JUBILEE did not sound the whistle – if she had been on her wrong side she would probably have been sunk a second time.
I have to report Messrs Fellows’ boat HOCKLEY Captain I Clarke loaded with explosives for entering Braunston tunnel north end at 8.45 am on the 3.7.1899 without first sending the flagman over to warn steamers, after the tug Captain had warned him.. Millner/Thomas
12.9.1899 I have reports from our tug captains that your steamers will work through the tunnels at too great a speed for safety and our men fear there will be another accident if the speed is not reduced.
GIVE CAPTAINS GENERAL ORDER – Use more care, slow down, especially when passing the tugs and fleet of boats.
On Friday evening last (8th September) the three steamers MARQUIS, EMPEROR and EMPRESS passed through Braunston Tunnel and one or the other broke our tug HASTY’s mooring chain and afterwards cast her loose at the fore end, and when the men returned to work on Saturday morning she was near the tunnel entrance. Millner/FMC
1900 Boats towed through Braunston 10417, Blisworth 11187
1901 Boats towed through Braunston 10949, Blisworth 11527
1902 Boats towed through Braunston 9886, Blisworth 10329
8.4.1903 Proposal of Mr. M. Mercier of Salford for substituting electricity for steam haulage in Blisworth tunnel - declined.
1903 Boats towed through Braunston 9457, Blisworth 11201
8.7.1905 SPIDER and HASTY for inspection Thomas/Millner
24.7.1905 HASTY for inspection at Bulborne. SPIDER at Braunston and spare tug Millner/Thomas
11.8.1905 Inspection for HASTY and SPIDER required Thomas/Millner
21.8.1905 SPIDER at Braunston for inspection Millner/Thomas
5.9.1905 On Sunday last the driver of the tug (SPIDER) had an accident and broke about3” off the corner of the thrust coupling on the engine crankshaft……the coupling will require renewing when you can – the HASTY should be sent to Braunston as soon as is convenient. Millner/Beasley
23.9.1905 SPIDER will not reverse properly, should be sent to Bulborne – send HASTY at an early date Millner/Beasley
10.10.1905 PILOT for inspection Millner/Thomas
28.9.1905 Boiler examination PILOT Thomas/Millner
10.11.1905 HASTY firebox is leaking – SPIDER is on duty Millner/Beasley
15.12.1905 Patch on HASTY’S box Beasley/Millner
17.12.1905 L The SPIDER’s boiler has been leaking very bad. I thought I should have to put the HASTY on again but they have taken up again. Danks/Millner
27.12.1905 L Have Allchin’s made satisfactory job of HASTY’s fire box. If so please send SPIDER up (to Bulbourne) Beasley/Millner
28.12.1905 Betts is driver of HASTY
12.4.1906 Braunston tug HASTY needs new set of piston rings Millner/Beasley
4.5.1906 3 new tubes put in HASTY’s boiler
22.5.1906 HASTY boiler needs retubing at Whitsuntide Millner/Beasley
26.5.1906 SPIDER needing repair, spare tug PILOT lying at Stoke Bruerne Millner/Beasley
5-7.6.1906 28 new tubes put in HASTY’s boiler making complete set of 31 Danks/Millner
6.3.1907 SPIDER, HASTY and PILOT for inspection Thomas/Millner
11.3.1907 L Sending fitter by train to Stoke with link motion for PILOT Beasley/Millner
5.4.1907 Inspect HASTY Thomas/Millner
11.4.1907 Inspect SPIDER and PILOT Thomas/Millner
31.8.1907 PILOT and SPIDER to Bulbourne Warren/Millner
28.9.1907 Despatching tug SPIDER on Friday next
20.12.1907 Advisable to wash out the HASTY’s boiler H Danks/Millner
23.2.1908 PILOT leaking again. Have HASTY got ready asap Beasley/Millner
9.4.1908 Tug HASTY
10.4.1908 Tug HASTY will leave for Gayton Tuesday next Thomas/Millner
14.4.1908 PILOT is leaking badly Beasley/Millner
19.4.1908 L HASTY arrived on Thursday in working order. Since then the tubes have leaked and liable to put the fire out. Danks/Millner
7.5.1908 To the Manager, Shipley Colliery nr Derby. I am sorry to again have to complain but the last boat of coal supplied for our tug and dredger is a very inferior quality and practically useless for steam getting. It is giving us trouble in the tunnels and I must really ask you to see that our boats are only loaded with the best hardsteam, otherwise we shall have an accident in the tunnels and I will not be answerable for the consequences, I notice you charge top price but in future I do not propose certifying the account if not of first quality. Your attention to this matter will greatly oblige.
14.8.1908 Sending PILOT to Stoke and men to bring SPIDER back Beasley/Millner
8.9.1908 Tug HASTY, this tug had a collision with one of Messrs Fellows & Co’s steamers in Braunston Tunnel on Thursday last (3.9.08) and broke the cast iron feed pipe bend off at the boiler. Temporary repairs were done at Messrs Fellow’s depot to enable the tug to start work again but it is advisable for you to come down and take particulars for a new bend as early as convenient. Millner/Beasley
20.9.1908 L HASTY is alright for work at present Danks/Millner
25.9.1908 Tug HASTY due for a thorough overhaul Beasley/Millner
9.10.1908 Thorough examination of HASTY Millner/Beasley
19.1.1910 the new tug to Stoke Beasley/Millner
20.1.1910 L PILOT No 2 left here with new propeller fitted. Please test. Beasley/Millner
7.2.1910 PILOT No 2 in full work
26.4.1910 L Beedle propeller will not go on HASTY; returning you PILOT No 2 having replaced the old propeller Thomas/Millner
6.6.1910 SPIDER sent to Braunston to exchange with HASTY for overhaul Beasley/Millner
26.9.1910 HASTY to Stoke Bruerne…PILOT No 2
24.10.1910 ….boiler of tug PILOT…Thomas/Millner
9.12.1910 Patent propeller on PILOT No 2 Beasley /Millner
9.2.1911 HASTY repaired at Allchins Northampton
16.2.1911 HASTY’s boiler retubed in 1906 Danks/Millner
17.12.1911 L Safety valve joint blowing on HASTY Danks/Millner
14.1.1912 Send PILOT No 1 to Bulbourne for new propeller Beasley/Millner
9.5.1912 Send PILOT No 2 to Bulbourne to check reason for washing wrong way Beasley/Millner
24.5.1912 HASTY repairs for Whitsun. Let you have the new PILOT back
13.6.1912 L Pump failed on SPIDER’s boiler blocked right up with scale. Warren/Millner
21.10.1912 Inspect HASTY at Braunston Vulcan/Thomas
15.1.1913 Tug PILOT No 2 to Braunston on Monday Millner/Beasley
17.8.1913 L SPIDER leaking badly into the hull Danks/Millner
21.8.1913 Braunston tug HASTY required from Bulbourne. Can send a driver but need a steerer – we are shorthanded Millner/Beasley
29.8.1913 HASTY broken down…tubes in boiler unsafe Danks/Millner
2.1.1914 PILOT No 1 or PILOT No 2 boilers for examination Beasley/Millner
18.3.1914 HASTY requires new tubes and shoe plate is loose Millner/Beasley
23.3.1914 HASTY to go to dry dock – use the weighing dock at Braunston
29.5.1914 Repairs to firebox on HASTY Thomas/Millner
30.5.1914 HASTY patch on boiler to be replaced by Allchins
9.11.1914 T All three blades broken off HASTY’s propeller Betts/Millner
11.11.1914 HASTY has broken propeller…SPIDER ready to replace Beasley/Millner
12.11.1914 HASTY has dropped the 3 blades of her propeller on starting the 8.00 pull. Spare tug has been sent down Millner/Thomas
19.1.1915 …let me have HASTY for Braunston….getting a bit uneasy with the SPIDER on account of her thin hull” Millner/Beasley
31.3.1915 ½” bend for HASTY required
7.12.1915 L PILOT No 2 boiler examined Yates/Millner
29.9.1915 …..to fetch the tug PILOT…..
21.1.1916 L PILOT No 1 boiler examined Yates/Millner
13.2.1916 L SPIDER boiler examined Yates/Millner
14.2.1917 re HASTY test Yates/Millner
14.3.1917 L SPIDER, PILOT No 1 and PILOT No 2 due for boiler examination
3.1917 Approximate coal consumption.
Braunston Tug approx 4t of Shipley and ¾ t of Welsh per week. Year up to 3/1917 – 190t Shipley 35t Welsh
Blisworth Tug approx 5t of Shipley and 1t of Welsh per week. Year up to 3/1917 – 207t Shipley 40t Welsh
11.4.1917 L Re boiler tests for PILOT No 1, PILOT No 2 and SPIDER Yates/Millner
12.9.1917 ….Blisworth Tunnel Tug SPIDER was towing the 3pm pull when collided with FMC Admiral
9.10.1918 L Send HASTY to Bulbourne asap to protect bows for ice breaking.
6.11.1918 As we are docking HASTY. Changing propeller from PILOT No 1 and exchanging. Rodley/Millner
7.11.1918 L I presume the three boilers on the tugs can all be dealt with the same day Yates/Millner
1.4.1919 Glad to receive HASTY as PILOT No 1 is getting very weak in the hull Millner/Yates
7.5.1919 PILOT No 1 Now in such a condition both engine and hull that it is not advisable to keep same on active service. I propose sending her back to Bulbourne. The hull and engine are past repairing. We shall require a new tug at the tunnel. I would suggest a wooden hull, iron plated and a 15/20 hp compound steam engine with a boiler suitable for using Welsh steam coal Millner/Yates
11.7.1919 HASTY Inspection arrangements Millner/Yates
7.11.1919 L PILOT No 2 for inspection on 20.11.1919 at night after working as we have no spare tug Millner/Yates
12.12.1919 PILOT No 2 for boiler test Millner/Yates
23.2.1920 Tug PILOT and tug HASTY Millner/Yates
24.2.1920 T I understand you have asked for return of tunnel tug which has been let on hire to Gardner Locket & Co for a fortnight to enable them to have their own tug docked . Can you possibly manage without the HASTY for this time as if we withdarw her from here the coal supply to Kensal Green Gas Works will be stopped. Wire or telephone me at once. Bliss/Millner
24.2.1920 L I wired you that I would try to manage without spare tug HASTY for a fortnight. I hope the split tube gets no worse on PILOT
27.4.1920 L HASTY will leave tomorrow for Stoke Bruerne having fitted another propeller to the new shaft with a coarser pitch……give good test before sending PILOT for repairs…Davey Paxman will supply ferrules for SPIDER Rodley/Millner
10.5.1920 HASTY’s new propeller much better and faster. PILOT No 2 we will not send to Bulbourne until after the Whitsuntide stoppage Millner/Rodley
13.9.1920 HASTY leaking, PILOT
12.10.1920 L HASTY and SPIDER are leaking at their hulls and require docking. I understand it will be 3 weeks before PILOT at Bulbourne is ready to come down. I propose sending the Braunston tug SPIDER back to Bulborne to have the hull made tight. On the return of this tug HASTY can go for repairs and be got ready for Paddington Arm icebreaking. I shall then have no spare tug at the tunnels and must risk a breakdown. Millner/Yates
20.10.1920 PILOT, SPIDER and HASTY Yates/Millner
29.10.1920 L Send PILOT down to Stoke and take the HASTY on to Braunston, to remain there until the SPIDER returns from Bulborne, then the HASTY can go straight to Bulborne for the winter Millner/Rodley
1921 Coal from Shipley for the tunnel tugs
4.4.1921 HASTY for repair work Rodley/Millner
8.7.1921 Tug HASTY still leaking badly. Millner/Rodley
28.9.1921 SPIDER to be put in order Yates/Millner
12.7.1921 HASTY Millner/Rodley
14.12.1922 Please let me know the age of the two tugs now working and also the dates on which the last tug was scrapped. Yates/Millner
18.1.1923 Inspect SPIDER (1/164518) and PILOT No 2 (1/94506) Yates/Millner
19.1.1923 Boiler examination for tug SPIDER’s boiler
25.1.1923 Tug PILOT No 2 arranged later
14.2.1923 New tunnel tug to be built:  hull - keel bottom Messrs. Bushell Bros, Tring £500; boiler Davy Paxman & Co £255; engine Messrs. Beasley, Uxbridge £210; canal company's works £100 making £1,065.   
16.2.1923 I understand Rowland the other day only patched the SPIDER up temporary – new tug HASTY sent down
16.2.1923 L SPIDER patched up temporary. Get
9.10.1923 HASTY boiler for examination 18 10. 1923 after the 6.30 pull when the boiler will be washed out.
16.10.1923 Tug HASTY 1/94055 inspection Yates/Millner
18.10.1923 HASTY boiler ready for inspection Millner/Boiler Inspector
28.2.1924 Boiler No 1/164518 tug SPIDER is due for thorough examination and I shall be glad if you will let me have a convenient date. Yates/Millner
3.3.1924 SPIDER inspection on Tuesday night 18.3.1924 after tug has finished running.
12.3.1924 Unless boiler is inspected at night, I shall have to stop traffic. I think this is asking too much. Millner/Yates
17.3.1924 Fetch spare tug from Bulbourne so that SPIDER will be available. Yates/Millner
20.3.1924 HASTY repaired and ready for collection Rodley/Millner
25.3.1924 1/164518 (SPIDER) tug boiler ready for inspection Millner/Vulcan
26.3.1924 Inspect SPIDER (1/164518) Vulcan/Millner
7.5.1924 L SPIDER The fusible plug in the fire box broke on Monday, we are working the spare tug HASTY Millner/Rodley
23.10.1924 HASTY- Plating sides for ice breaking and new bush in stern end
3.11.1924 L Boiler in DE SALIS was used to supply steam for the piling plant on the London District for two months. The fire bars became so buckled they will have to be renewed. Yates/Millner
4.12.1924 Braunston Tug…the stoppage of the above tug. Messrs FMC lent us a helm so the tug was running again yesterday (Sunday) morning. The broken helm was taken to Bulbourne for repairs.
10.12.1924 When do you propose letting me have the new tunnel tug as I am waiting to send in HASTY to Bulbourne for icebreaking on the Paddington Arm Millner/Rodley
31.12.1924 Has new tug DE SALIS been at work since arrival at Stoke Rodley/Millner
1.1.1925 Boilers 1/94056 PILOT and 1/94055 HASTY are overdue for a thorough examination Yates/Millner
5.1.1925 HASTY ready for inspection.
SPIDER should go to Bulbourne and have propeller shaft rebushed
6.1.1925 Boiler inspection to examine HASTY – after examination must be sent to Bulbourne to be put in order for icebreaking on the London District
Ref SPIDER, she will be able to carry on in place of PILOT during boiler inspection. The periodical boiler cleaning of the two tugs in commission will have to be carried out during the absence of the spare tug in the same way as was done before the DE SALIS was commissioned. Please arrange a boiler inspection for PILOT. Yates/Millner
7.1.1925 “new tug” Warren/Millner
9.1.1925 re new tug DE SALIS Millner/Rodley
9.1.1925 HASTY for inspection Vulcan/Millner
9.1.1925 HASTY will be inspected 12.1.1925 and will send to Bulbourne. PILOT can be inspected any time after 17.1.1925 Millner/Vulcan
15.1.1925 PILOT No 2 boiler 1/94056 for inspection 19.1.1925 Millner/Peacock
16.1.1925 PILOT No 2 (1/94056) for inspection Vulcan/Millner
17.2.1925 Braunston Tug SPIDER. Link motion and valves… to Braunston for repairs. When returning, please arrange for a filter to fix same with Betts. Milner/Rodley
24.2.1925 report on tug DE SALIS
25.2.1925 Tug SPIDER (1/164518) for inspection Yates/Millner
2.3.1925 SPIDER ready for inspection after 4.3.1925 at Braunston
2.4.1925 Send fitter to alter gauge glass fittings on DE SALIS Millner/Rodley
9.4.1925 L Sending fire bricks to Stoke for DE SALIS send spare tug PILOT to cover Millner/Rodley
30.4.1925 L …new tug DE SALIS the approximate proportion is Shipley 8tons Welsh 1 ton coke 3 tons but cannot say yet what would be most economical….Millner/Yates

I am sorry to report that when this tug (HASTY) was working up the Stoke Bruerne Locks yesterday 30th inst, on her way from Bulbourne to Braunston Tunnel, she was sunk in lock 18 at Stoke Bruerne. She sank at 2 pm and was raised by4 pm and about 3 or 4 boats were delayed in the stoppage. G Leah was driving and District Labourer W Overton steering and lock filling.

The accident was caused owing to the man being in too great a hurry to get through the lock. It appeared Overton jumped off the tug at the road bridge and opened the lock gates and the tug ran into the lock and remained near the bottom gates, he then closed the inside gate and partly drew the inside top ground paddle before closing the off side lower gate. When the gate closed with a snap it caught the tug rudder between the gate breasts and held her down and before Overton could drop the paddles, the boat sunk.
The tug went on to Braunston this morning and so far as I could see the only damage done was a broken gauge glass and a cracked gauge glass guard and one glass lubricator missing but. Of course, there is a possibility of the boiler leaking after being cooled down so suddenly. This we shall find out later on.

As there were only lockkeepers at Stoke, five boatmen brought their pumps and buckets and rendered every assistance in raising the tug and were hard at work when I reached the lock. Overton was doing just what I am continually trying to prevent the boatmen from doing, viz, lifting the paddles before closing the lock gates. I think it would be advisable for you to send me a reprimand so that I can give the same to the men
Millner to Yates and Bliss

10.7.1925 L Can you let me have HASTY for Braunston


Arranging to send a driver for the tug on Wednesday next.
5.8.1925 I have your report of 31st ultimo respecting the sinking of this tug. This is a very serious matter and the Chairman thinks that these two men ought to be discharged, but in view of their length of service to the company, I thought we should not go to that extent. I should like to see these men. Yates/Millner
10.8.1925 re the sinking of the tug HASTY. “… I have severely reprimanded and warned as to behaviour….”
18.8.1925 I want to go through (Blisworth) tunnel on DE SALIS with Rodley….Yates/Millner
21.9.1925 re HASTY’s firebars Millner/Rodley
14.10.1925 Engineer reports on comparative costs of old and new types of tug at Blisworth for first eight months of 1924 and 1925 showing appreciable saving in fuel and recommending that both engine and boiler in old tugs should be treated in same way as and when opportunity occurs, the cost of replacement being £600 for the engine and boiler and about £100 for departmental work for each tug - agreed. 
6.11.1925 L Will send three men to Bulbourne for SPIDER and flat. Shall I return HASTY from Braunston to Bulbourne for the winter icebreaking Millner/Rodley
3.12.1925 The tug DE SALIS has gone from Stoke to Fenny arriving there at 3 o’clock and will return to Stoke tomorrow, Friday. This tug met the Grove ice boat at Fenny. It has been freezing all day and looks like being severe again tonight.
4.12.1925 ….with six steamers and motors….
28.1.1926 DE SALIS (12479/206658) and PILOT (1/94056) for inspection on 6.2.1926
21.6.1926 DE SALIS and PILOT at Stoke Bruerne for examination Millner/Yates
24.9.1926 Boiler Inspection “the tug SPIDER 1/164518 working at Braunston”
29.9.1926 SPIDER 164518 ready for inspection at Braunston Millner/Vulcan
14.10.1927 L HASTY and DE SALIS firebars can be reduced 3/16” leaving ½” between the bars. When the PILOT leaves here on Monday, leave her at Blisworth until Warren sends the mudplug to have the stud renewed on DE SALIS, which could be returned the following day. Rodley/Millner
30.11.1926 DE SALIS broke down (Blisworth) , spare tug PILOT Millner/Yates
8.11.1927 Braunston Tug – a towing chain 20’ long x 3/8” with a swivel in the centre Millner/Rodley
8.2.1928 Hull of tug SPIDER not worth repairing.  New one to be obtained and at the same time new engine to be fitted as not so efficient as DE SALIS and HASTY.
14.2.1928 Tenders for new SPIDER - hull Messrs. Bushell Bros £410; engine Beasley & Sons £325; boiler Abbotts & Co. Ltd, Newark £296. 
9.11.1928 PILOT is at Braunston for inspection Millner/Vulcan
9.11.1928 re PILOT No 2 Millner/Rodley
10.11.1928 Hydraulic test on PILOT No 2 at Braunston Vulcan/Millner
6.12.1928 Spare tug PILOT Millner/Yates
28.8.1940 To overhaul steam tugs HASTY, DE SALIS and ANSLOW at estimated £400 for ice breaking and to reduce extent of horse hire; hull of fourth steam tug PILOT not worth repairing - boat is 31 years old and engine 45 years old, to be scrapped and engine sold.

Note from Charles Hadlow:  The last tugs in use were of timber construction, built by Bushell Brothers of Tring.  They were 49 feet long, 6 feet 11 inches wide and 4 feet 5 inches deep and were called ANSLOW, DE SALIS, HASTY and PILOT.  They ceased operations (through the tunnels) on 30 September 1936.
Note from AHF:  The tug DE SALIS was named after Rodolph Fane de Salis who joined the GJC board in 1888 and served as Chairman from 1914 to 1928.   ANSLOW was named after Tonman Mosley, who joined the GJC board in 1894 and served until 1928 - he was created  the first Baron Anslow in 1916.

Note from Michael Ware “Narrow Boats at Work”
With the coming of steam, it was thought that this power could be harnessed to pull boats through a tunnel on an endless rope principle. As an experiment, the Grand Junction Company installed a wire rope haulage system in Braunston Tunnel in October 1870. Within a month it had proved unworkable, possibly due to excessive friction inside the 2042 yd-long tunnel. By the following February a steam tug had been ordered which arrived in April, and there was another for the nearby Blisworth Tunnel. The professional leggers were then paid off and each received a pension of 5/- per week. …The tunnel tugs worked to a timetable. The Braunston tug provided an hourly service, whilst at Blisworth it was an hour and a half. The charge when the tugs were first introduced was 1/6 for laden boats, 1/3 for partially laden boats and 1/- for empties. A tug could pull up to 20 narrowboats at a time. While steam tugs remained until the end on these two major tunnels on the Grand Union Canal, motor tugs were being used from 1908 on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal tunnels.

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