“Roach” was built in 1935 at W.J.Yarwood & Sons ship-building yard on the River Weaver in Northwich, Cheshire .

She was originally built for the well known firm of “Fellows, Morton & Clayton”, and carried cargo for them until the fleet was nationalised in 1949. “Roach” continued carrying for British Waterways until they finished cargo carrying in the early 60s. She was subsequently used as a maintenance vessel by British Waterways until 1985.


In 1985, “Roach” loaded with 20 tons of piling, sank whilst negotiating Marple locks on the Peak Forest Canal . This disaster occurred as the steerer failed to stop the boat from hitting the bottom gates of a full lock whilst going downhill.

She was subsequently purchased by Ken Robertson and re-built, the original elm bottom being replaced with steel, the timber cabin likewise being replaced with steel.

“Roach” was acquired by John Jackson in 1988 and has been used for carrying coal by him since 1994.

“Roach” was sold to Garry Shepherd in June 2019, and has now departed for a new life on the River Weaver. © John Jackson 2014