The Historic Narrowboat Python is owned and operated by the Chesterfield Canal Trust.
Python has two primary functions within the Trust. Firstly she is used as a publicity vehicle to promote the work of the Trust. Her volunteer crew, who are known as Pythoneers, engage with members of the public and boat owners at canal side events throughout the season. In recent years she has attended festivals as far apart as Northwich in Cheshire and Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire. A record of the season’s activities can be found in the blogs, click here to see them.
Python’s second function has been to assist the Canal & River Trust in maintaining the Chesterfield Canal on a volunteer basis. In May 2013, volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust assisted C&RT staff in clearing offside vegetation that was causing a problem to navigation; click here for the full story. Further volunteer activities were planned but have been postponed due to Python needing major works to preserve the integrity of her hull.
Python is one of only four Josher narrowboats still in the format of a shortened British Waterways workboat. She is registered on the National Historic Ships register; click here for details.
Python was built in 1929 by W.J. Yarwoods to fulfil an order for “2 steel Canal boats of copper bearing steel” placed by Fellows, Morton & Clayton Ltd. She cost £366. The second boat built was called Panther and is now owned by Coventry Canal Society; click here for details.
In 1949, she was sold to the British Transport Commission (later to become British Waterways Board) and used in the South East Division Carrying Fleet before being transferred to the Engineering Department in 1961 for use as a canal maintenance boat, based at Bulls Bridge in London. During the 1980s she was shortened to 53’ and the cabin was rebuilt to the current format of rear engine room, crew cabin and forward store.
Into the new millennium with more modern, purpose built vessels taking the place of some of the old boats, Python became surplus to the requirements of British Waterways and fell into disuse for a number of years before coming to the Chesterfield Canal Trust in 2009. Initially this was on a five year lease, but the move was made permanent in 2011.
Python with butty Fazeley at the Co-Op Wharf, Banbury in 1955. The man with the hat on is the steerer of Python at that time who was known as Jack Boswell (Samuel John Boswell).
This postcard of Python is courtesy of Little Venice Cards.
Python attracting interest at Rickmansworth. (Photo by Paul Ost)
|Wed Jan 28|
Stoppage and towpath closure at Wiseton
|Sun Feb 01|
|Wed Feb 04 @14:00 - |
|Tue Feb 10 @10:00 - 12:00PM|
|Wed Feb 11 @20:00 - |
HuH Crew Meeting
|Thu Feb 12 @11:00 - |
Official Opening of Audio Post at Hollingwood Hub
|Sat Feb 14 @10:00 - |
6-hour Special Valentine's Day Cruise from Chesterfield
|Mon Feb 16 @19:00 - |
|Thu Feb 19 @19:30 - |
Python Crew Meeting
|Fri Feb 20 @20:00 - |
Race Night in Harthill