Historic Hazel – The Wellbeing Boat!
The History of Hazel
In 1914, the Runcorn boatyard of Simpson Davies launched another narrowboat built to their established pattern. Known as wooden headers, these boats looked more like scaled down barges than narrowboats.
The new boat took the name Mull and was used by her owners, Salt Union, the carry coal to salt works near Northwich and to carry away the salt and chemical products. Horse drawn, she could carry over 30 tons if the water was deep enough.
In 1929, the boat was sold to Agnes Beech, who changed the name to Hazel and used her to carry coal from Leigh to Northwich. In 1948, she became a cruise pleasure boat, providing holidays for the likes of scout groups.
Hazel was purchased by Mr & Mrs Dean in 1951. They fitted an engine and a comfortable full length cabin to make the boat into a travelling home. During the 1950s Hazel played a part in many of the campaigning boat rallies that helped to save the canal network from being closed.
During the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Hazel served a series of owners as a residential or pleasure boat. In 1988, Peter and Claire Stone donated the boat to the Wooden Canal Craft Trust, the fore runner of the present Society. Since then, Hazel has been carefully looked after by volunteers whilst a fund was built up for her restoration.
The boat is listed as a historic vessel by the National Historic Ships Committee and has been put in category 2 of the historic boats list of The Waterways Trust.