Nantwich Boat Club : History 1939 - 1952

Article written by Brent Hinchliffe and reproduced in Denise Frost's Club Magazine - '60 years of the Dorfold'

It Is not recorded when Nantwich Basin was first used for the mooring of pleasure craft but there were two boats there in May 1939, when one of the club's founder members Mr. Raymond Slack, began to moor his newly built boat, Felicity. The basin was at the time known as Acton Basin and presented a very different appearance from that of today. The mooring area stretched only as far as the cottage by the present second gate. The cottage was occupied by a canal employee. The land was heavily overgrown and there was a corrugated shed which served as an office and from which the canal workers were paid — probably In cash. The buildings on the club side at the Basin end were occupied by "Hollands" as a cheese warehouse — later transferred to Calverly and now elsewhere. The warehouse had been served by canal transport but road carriage had proved more economic. In any event, when L.T.C. RoIt visited with “Cressy" in 1939. and attempted to turn Into the basin he was met by an impenetrable mud bar. This event is recorded In his book "Narrow Boat. At a later visit in 1946 he reported that the bar had been dredged.

By 1946, Felicity and the other two boats now on the site had been on the bank for the war years. For the next six years there were still only three boats moored at Nantwich, the land was even more overgrown and there were no gates or fences. “Felicity" was badly rotted and was replaced by a steel (or perhaps iron) hulled boat built before 1910 of which there are no details. Mooring fees were paid individually direct to the Docks and Inland Waterways Executive which controlled the canals after Nationalisation.

The first Boat Club to be formed on the canals was that at Haskayne, near Liverpool In 1932. There were advantages to be gained by forming clubs, rather than remaining Individual moorers. It became possible to rent sites and to deal collectively with DIWE. It opened up the prospect of clearing up the sites, erecting fences, laying car parks and organising social events. As demand grew it became possible for the control and allocation of moorings to be taken from the DIWE to the Individual Clubs.

After 50 years it is not possible to be precise about all matters of the Club, particularly as there do not appear to be any Minutes of meetings from the early days. It Is hoped that the information herein is correct. if it Is not It would be greatly appreciated if anyone with more accurate details will let the club know.

(See history 1953 - 1958)