Canal enthusiasts will meet at The Boathouse, Ellesmere on Friday 23rd November to hear the story of ‘Painted Boats’, the traditional canal boat decoration and how it influenced the post-war revival of interest in our waterways.


Tony Lewery of Ellesmere is an authority on the narrowboat traditions and a member of the group which runs the restored Shropshire Union Fly-boat Saturn, currently at winter moorings at Canal Central, Maesbury Marsh, near Oswestry.


Michael Haig, Chairman of the Shrewsbury & North Wales branch of the Inland Waterways Association said, “Brightly painted narrowboats with roses and castles on their cabins are a feature of our canal story. They carried coal, stone and other goods across the country for over a hundred years before the rise of the motor lorry after the First World War. Nationalisation in 1948 brought a plainer type of decoration where trade continued, but by then many canals had been closed, including the Llangollen and Montgomery Canals.


It was in those years immediately after the Second World War that the Inland Waterways Association was set up to protect the waterways which had survived and to restore where navigation had been lost. Now our canals – and the restored canals of tomorrow – attract visitors from far and wide and are an asset for the communities they pass through. Tony Lewery is an entertaining and knowledgeable speaker and he will tell us how the tradition of canal boat painting played a part in this revival.”


Members will enjoy a meal before the talk: booking details at