The Corvus Arrives

November 2006

British Waterways has made the historic narrow boat Corvus available to the Grantham Canal Partnership, on long-term loan.

Corvus was built as a ‘butty’ over 70 years ago and rebuilt as a powered vessel in the 1980s (see her history). Now, after 60 years in the East Midlands maintenance fleet, she has been retired for conservation, restoration and for ‘lighter duties’ on the Grantham Canal

Corvus - 1
MV Corvus gets a tow up the Trent at Newark

As you can see, Corvus is in need of some well-earned ‘tender loving care’ and this is to be given by the pupils and staff of St. Hugh’s College, Grantham – which is on the Earlesfield Estate, less than half a mile from the site of the former Grantham Canal Basin. The College is keen to use the Canal and Corvus within a wide range of subjects – from Engineering to Environmental Studies and Photography to Soft Furnishing

The plan is for Corvus to be refurbished at the College, before being carefully developed to be a floating study centre, meeting room and exhibition – for use by St. Hugh’s and other schools, the Grantham Canal Restoration Society and other local community groups.

Corvus - 2
Under tow from Lincoln to Newark

After some months being moored, out of use, at Lincoln, Corvus was towed to Newark in late November 2006, via the Fossedyke and River Trent, by BW tug Arthur-a-Bland. There she was moored just above Newark Town Lock, to await her transfer to Grantham.

Corvus - 3
Corvus at Newark

Tuesday 28th November saw Corvus woken early for her final river journey for some time – under her own power – to the well-equipped Newark Marina – where she was to be lifted from the Trent and loaded onto the back of one of Prestons of Potto’s lorries for her run down the A1.

Corvus - 4
Raised from the river at Newark marina

Corvus - 5
Ready for the Off

By mid-day, with the help of the Lincolnshire Constabulary, Corvus was prominently sited on St Peter’s Hill, Grantham, directly opposite the Council Offices, where she was officially welcomed to the town by a civic party, led by the Mayor of Grantham and Chairman of South Kesteven District Council.

Corvus - 6
The welcoming party at Grantham

With the official reception over, Prestons and Corvus set off for the trickiest part of the day – the road journey to St. Hugh’s, the off-loading of the narrowboat by Chris Allsop Crane Hire and her positioning on the College hard courts.  Not only had the large crane and long load to negotiate the narrow ‘The Avenue’ to reach the College: they also had to squeeze onto the site and Corvus had to be lifted over the high fence surrounding the courts – without either the crane or boat damaging them.  Time spent on recce certainly hadn’t been wasted …

Corvus - 7
A tight squeeze at St Hugh’s

Corvus - 8
Over the fence into the hard courts

Corvus - 9
Safely installed

Corvus - 10
First look inside

Corvus - 11
A job well done!

By sunset, the work was complete – a successful and very professional day’s work by supporters of the Grantham Canal and start of a new life for Corvus …

This important first stage of the  Corvus project was only made possible by the generosity of:

British Waterways – the loan of Corvus
Newark Marina – lifting her off the River Trent
Prestons of Potto – transport of the 70’ vessel
Heras Readyfence Service – security fencing
Chris Allsop Crane Hire – off-loading at St. Hugh’s

‘Thank you’ to them all!