Searching for burried narrowboat

Published: Friday, 11 June 2010

TO ATTEMPT to discover the whereabouts of the buried narrowboat in the abandoned Burslem Canal in Stoke, technology has been brought it.

During April volunteers, including those from the Waterway Recovery Group, cleared the route of the former canal, with a view to restoring it from its junction with the Trent & Mersey to the former Burslem Port, but no trace of the buried boat was found.

Locate exact position

But now Dr Jamie Pringle, a lecturer in geoscience at Keele University, has brought in technology that should be able to locate the exact position of the boat.

It is believed to be the National Coal Board narrowboat  Elizabeth that was abandoned after the breach in the 60's, the photograph (by permission of Burslem Port) shows a boat abandoned in an earlier breach,  which it is believed is still there.

If the Elizabeth is found in good condition, it could be lifted out and restored.

Range of technology

The research team have a range of technology that is more commonly used to look for abandoned mine shafts,  using three different types of surveys: Ground-penetrating radar to search for signs of the structure; magnetism, working on the assumption that the boat had a metal frame; technology to hunt for resistance beneath the ground, in the knowledge that large objects like boats have a greater resistance than soil.

However with so many metal objects from the steelworks buried when the canal was filled in, it is proving difficult.