A tub boat at Blists Hill

Tub boats were small barges that could carry goods into difficult terrain. Obviously, they floated along tub boat canals – particularly in Shropshire, but where a hill was in the way, the boats were floated into rail borne cradles and hauled up.

Blists Hill is in the Ironbridge Gorge area and is a large open air museum. It has the Hay inclined plane – the tub boat railway that lifted the boats more than 200 feet from roughly River Severn level and it also has tub boats.

I was there in 1972 when the museum was in its glorious infancy. There were traces of rail visible on the inclined plane.

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I think that’s me standing a bit up the slope so my wife must have had the old Canon Demi camera at that time.

I believe that trackway is now fully restored and railed. No doubt it makes more sense in restored order but somehow it lacks that pioneering look.

Up at the top the tub boat would have been re-floated in the canal for more of its journey, delivering coal to local factories. This was the scene back in 1972.

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The very rectangular vessel in front is an old wrought iron tub boat.

Happy memories!

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