LPB identification number 15









Wd. Canal boat

1935– c. 1955

Official number


Builders: - E.G. Woods, Brentford


Length ft

Breadth ft

Depth ft

Tonnage – () Gross Net B.D

Engines 2DM diesel engine

By National

H.P. 18hp

Beached date


Beached by




First Owners

1940 Stanton Iron Works Company


Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Ltd
1949 - River Severn Catchment Board (RSCB)

Originally considered to be the motor boat Venus due to the very limited amount of available information about this strange little timber canal boat.  What little that did exist principally came from the memoirs of the River Severn Engineer, Fred Rowbotham.  From this, it was established that the Lydney vessel was once Employed by the River Severn Catchment Board (RSCB) to transport men and plant whilst in engaged in river bank protection work.

The Friends are therefore immensely indebted to the work of and subsequent information of Pete Harrison and the Canal World website for providing the following information and thus ensuring her correct identity has at last been recorded thus:

The motor narrow boat beached at Lydney is absolutely not VENUS. This boat was positively identified on 26 September 1970 when its gauge plate was removed – and it is / was PLEONE.

VENUS has a well-documented and proven history and it still extant. I was the guardian of PLEONE’s gauge plate for a few years, but I have no idea what happened to it once the person who removed / owned it passed away.

I am not disputing that VENUS was owned by the River Severn Catchment Board as it was sold to them by the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Ltd, in September 1943, along with the butty MERAK for £1000. VENUS was named VENUS when built as is still named VENUS today.

PLEONE came to the River Severn in 1949 following the nationalisation of the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Ltd, narrow boat fleet on 01 January 1948. Prior to transfer PLEONE had been in storage at Stockley Dock and was in poor condition. PLEONE was named PLEONE when built and still carried its identifying gauge plate when beached at Lydney.


1 – VENUS was sold to J.M. Jones, Gloucester for £75, but at this time I do not have a date of sale. The ongoing history of VENUS was published in Waterways World magazine November 1984 starting at page 42, compiled by Jerry Poole who bought VENUS from J.M. Jones before selling it on some time later in about 1967. VENUS is undergoing a prolonged restoration and can usually be found at either Puttenham or Marsworth top lock, both near Aylesbury – and interestingly has the same engine as was fitted when in full trade with the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Ltd. (the one that broke down requiring the ‘jet propulsion’ pump to be fitted), and I have historical documentation giving the engine serial number. Photographs of VENUS are best seen on the Historic Narrow Boat Club website (I can not create a link so look for ‘historic boats’ tab then Grand Union C C Co, then S – Z, then Venus).

Venus afloat
Venus hulk at Lydney

2 – PLEONE was one of a number of redundant carrying narrow boats transferred to the south west in 1949, mostly due to their condition and required financial investment to return them to carrying condition. The journey is apparently documented within the C&RT Archive and involved a torturous passage of the Kennet and Avon Canal in 1949. PLEONE was built by E.G. Woods, Brentford with its butty PLEIADES at a cost of £1006.0.0 for the pair, and PLEONE was powered by a National 2DM 18hp diesel engine. PLEONE and PLEIADES were delivered to the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Ltd. on 06 December 1935. PLEONE was initially sold to Stanton Iron Works Company in December 1940 for £760.0.0, but was returned as unsatisfactory eleven months later. It is most likely that PLEONE was then put into storage at Stockley Dock as these small wooden boats were no longer in favour. On 01 January 1948 the canals were ‘nationalised’, and as the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Ltd. were a wholly owned subsidiary of the Grand Union Canal Company the boats remaining in this fleet also fell under Government ownership. As stated previously after assessment PLEONE, with several others, was transferred to the south west for use as a canal maintenance boat. My understand is that PLEONE was used for moving rocks intended for bank protection on the River Severn around Sharpness when it broke its tow, ending up at Lydney.

3 – I have two poor quality photographs of PLEONE taken in Grand Union Canal Carrying Company Ltd. days, but these are not mine to distribute.

Outside of these snippets of info – more research is therefore ongoing and will be added here as it
Becomes available.

Not recorded in 1930 Mercantile List
Not recorded in 1951 Mercantile List
Present in aerial looking North 1957 
Present in aerial looking Pine End 1957 
Possibly recorded in Graham Farr 1959 Photo
Located and broken up in 13th May 1967 Norman Andrews photo
Possibly recorded in Colin Greens 1996 chart

Nick G
Hi Paul,

Many thanks for the photos of Venus. I think you said that you thought she was a metal hulled boat, but close inspection of the pictures reveals her to be of wooden construction. The rusty metal which can be seen around the bows is thin steel sheet which is nailed on to protect the wood from ice damage when ice breaking in weather such as we are having now. It is known as ice plating and was standard practice on wooden narrow boats, usually fitted around the bow and along the waterline. Ice could cause considerable damage to an unprotected wooden hull, cutting into the wood and ripping out caulking along exposed seams.
The engine room casing is clearly steel.

If you want to know more about Venus there are people with detailed archives about narrow boat history; it may be possible to find out more about where she was built and who she worked for. The Historic Narrow Boat Owners Club might be able to help – . There is also a man called Pete Harrison who has a lot of records about old narrow boats. I do not have his contact details but could probably get hold of him via my son.

You are very welcome to put a link to our Beatty website onto My son looks after ; I will ask him to reciprocate.

I will start looking for my 1987 photos of the Purton Hulks; don’t hold your breath. It will probably be after Christmas before I have time to scan them.

Best wishes,

Nick G

MNL 1930
Not recorded

MNL 1951
Not recorded
M Watson Harbour Master

Mr M Watson’s hand written entries in his Harbour Masters work books of 1952 -1955 in which he
details the following: 

1954 3 – 4 – 5 May Barges put into position on river front to prevent further erosion
1954 June Barges placed on river bank, work party Gardner, Watkins, Smith Vine & Prosser.
1954 Aug Barges placed on river bank work party Gardner, Watkins, Smith & Vine.
1954 Sept Two old mud barges placed on river bank work party Gardner, Watkins, Smith & Vine.