Grand Union Canal holidays. boat hire and rental, try a UK barging holiday on the canals and waterways of Great Britain


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Grand Union Canal Holidays

Grand Union Canal Holidays

Company History

 The Company was founded in 1953 as a carrying company with three pairs of narrow boats.

The boats mainly carried coal from the Coventry coal fields to the London area and timber from Brentford to Birmingham. However times were already changing and in 1956 it became clear that carrying would continue to decline and a cruising holiday would become the trade of the future. Some boats were sold and others converted. 'Benevolence' being converted into an 8 berth, 'Duchess of Athol' was cut in half to make two 4 berths. The stern half named 'Lady Flora' was destined to travel backwards for the rest of her life. An ex London Tug 'Tyburn' was purchased, renamed 'Perseverance' and converted into a six berth cruiser along with the ex horse drawn icebreaker 'Princess'.

In 1960 the company was bought by Major and Mrs. Griffin. In 1965 workshops and a modern dry-dock were built. As new craft joined the fleet the original boats were sold and by 1978 the whole fleet had been purpose built in the new workshops.

The company also ran passenger boats and over a period of 30 years operated five different boats the first of which was horse drawn. In the spring of 1979 Major & Mrs. Griffin retired and now their son James operates 30 of the finest narrowboats.

As you can see we have an extensive tradition and envied reputation of building, maintaining and hiring luxury narrow boats.

Above (9) is the first barge brought over from Holland and converted at Leighton Buzzard into a luxury live aboard barge.

During 1995 we were invited to take Tulip' for a tour of Belgium to promote the recreational use of both the English and Belgium canals.

Key to Pictures.

1. 'Benevolence ' and 'Duchess of Athol' laden with coal in 1954.
2. Rear cabin of 'Benevolence '1955.
3. 'Benevolence' converted to an eight berth 1956.
4. 'Duchess of Athol' converted to a four berth 1958.
5. 'Perseverance 'being repainted 1959.
6. The third trip 'Victoria '1966.
7. Last trip 'Leighton Lady '1986
8. Modern dry dock and workshops.
9. Converted Dutch barge 1987.
10. 'Tulip ' on a tour of Belgium.

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