Day Boat decoration is a charming form of art that at appeared on the short haul “day boats” that worked predominantly around Birmingham on the Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN) The style developed in response to the limited space and short usage of the boats; day boats did not have large cabins, if they had a cabin at all, and artwork was correspondingly small.
Unlike other waterways art which acted as a badge of pride to the boater who lived with the boat day-in-day-out, the decoration on the day boats was a mark of pride to the company, who used it as a demonstration of their quality, as well as meaning their vessel could be identified with speed at the busy wharves where turnaround speed could be mere minutes.
The basic decoration was accordingly more precise in its execution, although the designs were fairly utilitarian with combinations of boldly coloured shapes and geometric patterns against a background that was commonly red and green, and companies leaned heavily on logos and symbols to aid identification, even if their boat had enough space to carry signwriting.
Day boats did not carry any painted roses, but many did carry a ‘BCN Star’, which has also been described as a flower pattern. In the same way a boatyard could be identified by the style of rose, different yards on the BCN could be identified by their star.