1968 – Present

Beatty at Norbury 1968
Beatty on her first trip with the Grundy family, moored at the NBOC Easter Rally at Norbury, 15th April 1968.
(Photograph courtesy of Harry Arnold/ waterwayimages.com)

Martin and Jennifer Grundy bought Beatty in April 1968 to cruise the waterways with their family. Their first trip was from Brewood to the Narrow Boat Owners Club Easter Rally at Norbury on the Shropshire Union Canal.

Beatty Liverpool 1968
Beatty at the top of Liverpool Locks, IWA Liverpool National Rally 1968.

Martin Grundy was the chairman of the IWA Liverpool National Rally in 1968; Beatty carried the Mayor of Sefton and other guests for the official opening.

Liverpool Rally plaque

Beatty at Guildford 1970
Beatty moored above Guildford Town Bridge at the IWA National Rally in 1970.

At the 1970 Guildford National Rally, Beatty won the Lionel Munk Trophy for ‘Best Converted Narrow Boat’.

Guildford Rally plaque

Beatty with crew, Brewood 1981Beatty has been a family cruising boat for nearly 50 years. She is seen here with three generations (and two dogs!) on the Shropshire Union Canal near Brewood in 1981.
In 1971, repairs were carried out on the timber conversion by Taylors of Chester. More major repairs to the cabin were necessary in 1984; this work was done by the owners at Chester. This gave an opportunity to remove one of the two side hatches so that a larger bathroom could be fitted.Beatty originally had a wooden boatman’s cabin and stern deck. By 1986, these had deteriorated very badly. The steel engine room casing was also in a poor state. In early 1987 Beatty was taken to Alfred Matty’s yard at Coseley where David Harris constructed a new steel boatman’s cabin and back deck; he also replaced the sides of the engine room casing.

Owing to the poor state of the cabin, it was only possible to save the moveable cabin fittings such as the table cupboard, drawers and cupboard doors. The boatman’s cabin has since been refitted by Nick Grundy and these items have been replaced.

Interestingly, the Yarwoods plans for Beatty had indicated portholes in the engine room but these had not been fitted originally. During the rebuild, David suggested that it would be a good idea to add portholes. Having seen the plans, this was agreed to.

NRHS certificate

Right – In 1996, Beatty was added to the National Register of Historic Vessels , Certificate No. 122.

Martin Grundy at Saltersford Lock, 1998
Photograph courtesy of Harry Arnold / waterwayimages.com

Left – Martin Grundy steering Beatty at Saltersford on the River Weaver. This was taken after crossing the River Mersey from Liverpool Docks to the Manchester Ship Canal en route to the IWA Salford Quays National Rally in 1998.

Beatty at Woodham Jn, 2005
Moored at Woodham Junction on the River Wey, August 2005.

Beatty has travelled most of the connected waterways available to her. She has been as far north as York and as far south as Godalming, to Bristol in the west, Cambridge and Boston in the east.

From about 2002, there was increasing concern over the thickness (or otherwise) of the elm bottom boards of Beatty. It was decided to replace the worn-out elm with a new timber bottom in opepe, a tropical hardwood with excellent durability when submerged in water. This preserved the integrity of the original construction even though it would have been easier to replace the bottom with steel.

At the end of 2005, in order to allow access to the bottom, the fit-out in the conversion was carefully dismantled, three tons of iron ballast was unloaded and the engine room fuel tanks were drained and removed.

Beatty post-re-bottomingBeatty was dry-docked at Worsley for six weeks in February and March 2006. Malcolm Webster of Malkin’s Bank Canal Services renewed the bottom, including most of the keelson, in opepe supplied by Barchards (J.B. Timber) of Hull. The section of keelson under the engine room and boatman’s cabin is still the original pitch pine.

Opepe for new bottom
3″ opepe boards for the new bottom.
Planks ready to be fitted
Two boards being prepared in the bottom of the dock.
Keelson and scarf joint
New bottom and keelson, showing scarf joint.
Stern of Beatty, new bottom boards
Stern view with new bottoms fitted.

With the gutting of the living quarters, it became apparent that there was serious deterioration of the timber cabin, especially the gunwales. After much deliberation, it was decided to ‘bite the bullet’ and have the cabin replaced in steel.

The boat was taken to Brinklow Boat Services in August 2006. After carefully measuring and photographing the old cabin, Simon Wain replaced it with a steel replica which was completed in the summer of 2007. The new cabin retains the distinctive lines and style of the original 1960s conversion. The windows were custom made by Caldwells of Wigan to suit the unique shape of the cabin. The new cabin was painted in Beatty’s original colour scheme by Oxon Boat Painting Co.

Beatty de-converted
Beatty deconverted at Brinklow in October 2006.
New steel cabin, no windows
The steel cabin before window apertures have been cut.
New cabin with windows
New windows in position for the first time.
Inside Beatty, not fitted out
Looking forward inside the boat showing the new cabin and opepe keelson.

Beatty remained at Brinklow Boat Services until December 2008 for fitting-out by Rex Wain, David Gunby and others at the yard. The layout of the original conversion has been retained with some minor improvements. Most of the fittings are new but it has been possible to incorporate the old mahogany bunks, now over forty years old.

Interior shot, lined cabin
The cabin lined out ready for bulkheads to be added.
Interior shot - newly fitted out
The same layout has been used as previously with only minor changes.

In April 2007, Martin Grundy died but Beatty remains in the Grundy family, now in the care of Nick and Liz Grundy.

You can find a few videos of the boat through the Links page or read about some of Beatty’s voyages via the Selected Trips section.

Beatty - Manchester Ship Canal
Beatty on the Manchester Ship Canal, April 2009. (Photograph courtesy of Tim Young)
Beatty - Sharpness, 2009
Beatty at Sharpness, August 2009.