Built in 1901, the wooden narrow boat “Lilith” started life as boat number 9 in the fleet of Coomeswood ironworks.She often teams up with the motor boat “Forget Me Not” but is also horsedrawn on occasion.On the first Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of each month, whatever the weather, WCBS volunteers take the pair out for a trip from their base at the Portland Basin Museum in Ashton under Lyne to collect unwanted clothes, bric a brac and other items. Lilith_5


Most of the collected material is sold at the WCBS shop on Stamford Street, Ashton under
Lyne. Some items are sold online. Items that can’t be sold at the shop etc are sold to a rag
merchant and scrap metals are stored and then transported to a recycling plant. We recycle as much as possible and use the boats to carry materials whenever possible.
In 2000 Lilith delivered what was probably the first real load to be carried entirely on the Ashton canal for over 40 years.
On August 21st, 2000 she left Portland Basin with four tons of scrap filling her hold. She was towed the 2.5 miles to Fairfield Junction by “Forget me Not”, then bow hauled down 17 locks to Vesta Street canal maintenance yard in Ancoats.
With great help from British Waterways staff the boat was unloaded the following day and the metal continued its journey by road to the recycling centre in Trafford Park. Uncertainty about the cost of navigating the Rochdale Canal in central Manchester prevented the load being taken all the way to Trafford Park by boat. The following day “Lilith” was taken back to Portland Basin.


One thought on “Lilith

  1. Wonderful story! I didn’t know that any wooden narrowboats had survived. Four one week narrowboat hires and the only old narrowboats I’ve seen were riveted (probably) wrought iron. Would love to visit your boatyard.

    A thought, after reading this story: One would think that whoever charges for navigation through Manchester would have waived the charges so that Lilith and Forget Me Not could have delivered their cargo all the way to its final destination.

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