An appeal for £62,000 to restore one of the last BCN Joey boatshas gone out from the Black Country Living Museum (BCLM). Birchills is one of the last of its type, at one time Joey boats were the dayboat workhorses of the BCN numbering in thousands, horsedrawn or pulled by tugs right up until the 1960’s. It was built by Ernie Thomas [Ernest Thomas (Walsall) Ltd] in 1953 for the Birchills Power Station coal traffic and is one of only a few surviving wooden Joey boats.
Birchills – then in good condition – was one of the first boats donated to BCLM which owns 16 boats. Eight are floating and priority status for major funding has been given to this wooden Joey boat as the most important and most vulnerable in the collection. The ex. Thomas Clayton motor boat Stour has also been given priority for restoration.
£20,000 has already been raised for the restoration of Birchills and BCLM is waiting to hear if bids for grants have been successful. Anyone interested in donating can telephone 0121 521 3511 or visit the BCLM website – www.bclm.com.