Built in 1935 by W J Yarwood & Sons of Northwich, SCULPTOR is a composite motor narrowboat with a Lister HA2 diesel engine, used by the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company for general cargo between the Midlands and London. During World War II she was commissioned by the Ministry of War Transport as a fire fighting facility, based on the Grand Union Canal at Greenford. By 1964 she was being used as a canal maintenance boat at Northwich. In 1985 she was withdrawn from the fleet and restored at the museum at Ellesmere Port and in 1986 she was moved to The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne.
Sculptor is an important exhibit on display outside the Canal Museum and is maintained by a team of volunteers. In 2011/12 she was completely re-bottomed thanks to fundraising and volunteer work carried out by the Friends, a £1,000 grant from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships, work carried out by apprentices based at the Heritage Boatyard at Ellemere Port and donations received from Braunston Marina and raised at their Annual Historic Narrowboat Rally which is held at the end of June each year.
The Friends received a Commendation in the Historic Environment Category of the 2013 Waterway Renaissance Awards for the restoration of NB Sculptor
In 2012 at Trinity House in London, Transport Trust Patron, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, presented a Highly Commended Award to the Friends of The Canal Museum for the high standards applied to the restoration of Sculptor. The Award was collected on behalf of the Friends by Richard Cox, a member of the volunteer team assisting with Sculptor’s restoration and who helped crew her back to Stoke Bruerne from Brinklow along with Ryan Dimmock on Southern Cross.
Sculptor with BBC presenter Ellie Harrison and volunteer team member Kathryn Dodington
photos: Left - Louise Stockwin, Right - Stella Blackwell, CRT
On Thursday 26th October 2019 members of the Sculptor team had a day out on the Stoke Bruerne lock flight with a film unit from BBC's Countryfile programme along with Alarum Theatre actors Kate Saffin and Heather Wastie.
The programme was aired on Remembrance Sunday (12th November 2019).
Volunteers have restarted work to keep museum boat Sculptor in tip-top condition, albeit under very tightly regulated conditions to ensure the safety of volunteers, museum staff and our visitors in very challenging conditions.