Phil Speight Boat Decoration
Coach Painting
Sign Writing
Traditional Back Cabins

Phil Speight is one of the most experienced and influential traditional canal boat painters of his generation.

Trained as a coach painter in the 60's he became a full time painter, sign-writer and decorator of traditional canal boats in the early 80's. Since then he has earned an enviable reputation as a canal professional – not only as a skilled and dedicated painter but also as a teacher of the traditional skills he cares for and studies so passionately. He has trained a number of outstanding modern boat decorators and painters among them John Sanderson (to whom he passed his boat painting business in 2009) and Meg Gregory (website “Scribe”) – a dear friend and the best of his apprentices.

In the last few years Phil has periodically worked away from the canals, painting the occasional car, steam engine and even a very splendid tattoo shop – so anyone who needs something painted in an authentically traditional way, don't worry if it isn't a boat! He even appeared on “Pimp My Ride” for goodness' sake. See his Coach Painting page.

See more of Phil's work
in his Gallery»

See more of Phil's work
in his Gallery»

Phil and Zita created Craftmaster Paints Ltd and Phil was Managing Director until 2009 while continuing his work as a painter. He now serves as a technical consultant for Craftmaster and the company's customers at need. He held the highest level of Accreditation in The Waterways Craft Guild as a Boat-painter, Decorator and Signwriter.

Phil now lives with his wife Zita and her collection of quadrupeds in the Highlands of Scotland. (for those who know him well - he's reduced to just two Alfa Romeos, one motorcycle and a mere handful of guitars, so he may be growing up at last.) This does not interfere with his work (or penalize his customers) which is organized into economic “multi-job” trips whenever possible and Phil is available anywhere in the U.K. – or The Bahamas if you're paying. The pretty well idyllic stockman's cottage they live in is the venue for residential courses in the boat painting related skills of the pupil's choice – one pupil or one couple only per course – with full board and multi-national cuisine i.e. Bradford/Scots. Other courses are held at The National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port.

*Work on Gifford illustrated above could not have been completed on time without the highly skilled assistance of Meg Gregory and John Moore.


Phil has run training courses in traditional painting for many years and many hundreds of people have, over that time, gained valuable practical knowledge, a grasp of the historic significance of boat decoration and had a good time doing so – despite Phil's selection of appalling bear jokes.


Coming soon - Residential Courses in the Highlands - 5 days personal tuition, full board and an enjoyable break to boot! Single person or one couple per course.
For details please contact ;  or 01838 400269


2 DVDS, £13.50 each or £25.00 for both including UK postage.


How to write your own boat to a satisfactory standard. Running time over 6 hours.
£25.00 the set.

Email or ring 01838 400269 for details and to order.

What the waterways press has had to say about the "To the Point" series;
"The perfect introduction to the art"
"By far the best way"
" ... a natural in front of the camera"
"Treats the viewer like an old friend"
"one of the most highly regarded painters around."
"A brilliant introduction to the art."
"A great teacher"
"the next best thing to one to one instruction."
"very good value indeed."