We moved websites many years ago, when Python was new to the Trust. These reports were all on our original website. They are presented here in reverse order, i.e. newest first. Unfortunately, some are not dated.

Python latest (1st October 2009)
Despite the fact Python’s safe on her moorings at Shireoaks now, there’s still a stretch of the canal that she’s not had a go at, and with the prospect of attending an event at Shireoaks Marina, it was appropriate that her crew take her through Shireoaks Locks, just to test the water.
It was a good job they did, because there were problems. Python made it through the bottom lock but stuck fast in the middle one. This was despite some work being done with an angle grinder on the rubbing strakes. It’s also possible that there is something below the waterline on Python causing the jam. BW has been informed.
On a lighter note, and what I believe is a first for the Trust, we have some video of Python’s last trip on the Trent from Torksey to West Stockwith. The video is hosted on YouTube. This might create a problem for anyone viewing from a corporate network, but hopefully you will be able to view this and enjoy the trip as much as we did that were crewing.

Python makes it to Shireoaks
Arriving relatively unscathed (a near miss at Stret Lock removed a bit of paint!), Python is now on her new moorings at Shireoaks after negotiating the River Trent and West Stockwith lock. (Your website editor together with Trust member Arthur Naylor managed to get Python in to West Stockwith without losing any paintwork!)
Mick Cheshire is another member that’s given a lot of time over to this project, riding ‘shotgun’ for all Python’s movement. Mick’s experience navigating the Trent was invaluable and the Trust has to extend thanks to everyone who has helped in any way towards making it possible to get Python safely to her new home.

Python resplendant (31st August 2009)
Python’s paint job was finished just in time for the IWA Festival at Ratcliffe-on-Soar over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Now having seen the boat ‘in the flesh’, the pictures don’t do the job justice. If you’re down at the festival today, it’s a 10 minute walk from the main showground, but you really must go down and see her. The team at Clean Sailing has done a fantastic job and we thank them for their hard work.

Python gets her BSS (13th August 2009)
We heard today that Python has got her Boat Safety Scheme certificate – the MOT for boats. This means we can now get her licensed and insured. She has had an ultrasound exam and the average base metal thickness is 8mm and hull thickness 9mm.
We should add (with apologies for not doing this sooner) that we are indebted to Redhill Marina, Clean Sailing and Soar Valley Boats for their sponsorship and assistance in allowing us to get to this stage with Python’s restoration.
Anyone wanting to see Python ‘in the flesh’ will be able to do so at the IWA National Festival over the August Bank Holiday Weekend at Redhill Marina.

Python gets a lick of paint (11th August 2009)

Still in dry dock at Soar Valley Boats, Python is really starting to look the part with a new coat of blue paint. We’ve also got someone lined up to do the lining to restore her to her BW working livery.
Additionally, you can see the new deck that’s been laid now all the internal work has been completed. It’s our intention to kit her out with a full set of ‘traditional’ tarpaulins. If you know anyone that might be interesting in sponsoring these, we’d love to hear from you!

Python latest (31st July 2009)
Python has had a side hatch inserted to enable us to get the boat through the BSS tests.
The hull is looking in great condition now it’s been blacked. Additionally, a deflector plate has been fitted on to the stern to cut down on the water spraying out when she’s put in to gear.
When all the engineering work has been completed, she’ll be getting a new paint job, but rather than being painted in GUCCC or similar colours, Python will be carrying the blue with yellow lining BW colours that she spent a fair proportion of her working life in. This will make her quite a distinctive boat on the cut.
For anyone interested in getting involved with the Python Learning Boat project, there’s a steering group meeting on Tuesday 4th August 2009 at the Station Hotel, Kiveton Park starting at 8pm. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Python latest (22nd July 2009)
Python is now out of the water and is looking resplendent with its newly blacked hull. Whilst out of the water, it’s having the diesel tank moved forward and made smaller to lift the stern out of the water. Also, we’re having a weed hatch fitted. It’s either that or send one of the crew in to remove the weed, and we were struggling to find a volunteer.

Python nears new home
A crew from the Chesterfield Canal Trust has sucessfully delivered the Trust’s new learning boat, 80-year-old ex-working boat Python to what will be its temporary home for the next few weeks at Redhill Marina. Whilst at Redhill, essential maintenance work will be carried out including hull blacking and the boat will get its BSC.

Learning Boat for the Chesterfield Canal

The Chesterfield Canal Trust is about to take out a five year lease on a historic ex-British Waterways workboat called Python. 53′ long, she was built in 1929 by Yarwoods in Northwich. She came into the hands of the British Transport Commission (which eventually became British Waterways) in 1949. She has been out of service for a year. Her sister boat, Panther, is owned by the Coventry Canal Society.
In late May, Arthur Naylor of the Chesterfield Canal Trust and Tony Mann of the Coventry Canal Society collected Python from Adelaide Dock in London. They took her up the Grand Union to attend the Stoke Bruerne Festival and the Braunston Historic Boat Rally in partnership with Panther as they are 80 years old this year. She will then be taken to Redhill Marina on the River Soar to be taken out of the water for a thorough check over and to have essential work done.
The official handover from British Waterways to the Chesterfield Canal Trust is planned to take place on Monday 13th July at Redhill Marina. Thereafter she is to attend the IWA National Rally before being taken down the River Trent to the Chesterfield Canal and her permanent mooring near Shireoaks.
The Learning Boat Project is a long-held vision of Dr. Geraint Coles, the Development Manager for the Chesterfield Canal Partnership. The plan is to use Python as a resource, not a trip boat. She will stop at village and town wharves along the length of the canal and will be used as a flexible, multi-purpose platform with workspace, exhibitions, artefacts, a stage and lockers full of resources, costumes and props.
Over the coming months, a whole series of modules in drama, history, science & technology, ecology etc. will be developed for children of different ages. Eventually there will be resources for adult learning as well.
In the age of high speed internet games, many children are not inspired by a cruise down a waterway, however beautiful, at 4 m.p.h. However, get them to re-enact a scene from 1879 when the murderer Charlie Peace jumped out of a train window right by the canal or teach them some physics by getting a six stone girl to open a two ton lock gate or pull a fifteen ton boat and we may catch their interest and imagination.
Python will probably be used for canal work in the winter and as a learning resource in the summer. She will also be on hand for rallies and festivals, performances and events. It is hoped that by the time the five year lease is up, the people living on or near the Chesterfield Canal will insist that she stays having become an essential part of their lives.