Anson was built in 1958 by the shipbuilders Isaac Pimblott & Co Ltd in Northwich, one of 8 boats built by the company for Docks & Inland Waterways ‘North West’ division. She and her sisters were a new design of narrowboat, the “Admiral class”, specifically designed by the research facility team at Bulls Bridge, with the intention they would reverse the failing canal carrying trade.

This new design included such features as raked fore-swim (to send a cushion of water under the boat and therefore to the propeller), steel hoops over the hold (to facilitate quick coverage of cargo), and a 6’10 beam (to allow passage through locks with bulging walls), and the boats were capable of carrying considerably more cargo then the elderly vessels they were intended to replace, with it being calculated they could bear some 8 tonnes or more extra.

12 Admiral boats were built in total, 8 by Pimblott and 4 by the yard just a few hundred metres down the River Weaver, at W. J. Yarwood & Sons Ltd. This was allegedly as Pimblott got fed up with the design being altered slightly for each boat.

Anson was the first to be built, being registered as number 107 at Northwich on the 17 February 1959, and she was paired with butty boat Benbow.

Anson in her cargo days


In 1964, the North West division ceased canal carrying and Anson was passed over to a new company set up by 3 enthusiastic young men- the Birmingham and Midland Canal Carrying Co.

In 1968, the company was fined by the Board of Trade for allowing Anson to carry passengers without the correct ticket, and they began the process of designing a renovation that would allow her to be an official tripboat.

In 1972, Anson was given a new cabin, built partially under the motorway bridge at Preston Brook on the Bridgewater Canal and completed at Bollington wharf on the Macclesfield canal, and then began her career as a trip boat for the company, working out of Gas street basin in Birmingham.

She stayed at her job under the same ownership until 18th June 2023, when she came under new ownership and travelled North once more, to begin a new chapter!