After 36 years on the Basingstoke Canal, the old John Pinkerton (which has come to be called “JP1” since the Society bought the new trip boat John Pinkerton II, in 2013), has finally been sold. It was handed over to its new owner in early August at the Mytchett Canal Centre, in the presence of many Society members who have had an association with the boat. A DVD full of photos of the boat taken over the years since it was purchased in 1977, some of which are reproduced below, was presented to the new owner as a gift.
The main motivation for the Society buying the John Pinkerton was to raise money for the restoration project. During its period of operation, nearly £¾ million pounds has been generated from public and charter trips run from various places along the Canal, all crewed by Society volunteers. An added benefit is that it served as an excellent ambassador for the Society in helping raise awareness of the Canal, with which our new boat will continue.
The first Canal trips started in 1978 (left), running from Odiham wharf to St John’s Castle. By early 1984, the whole of the Hampshire pound could be navigated, and the John Pinkerton reached Woking for the first time in the late 80’s.
The John Pinkerton figured prominently in the celebrations marking the re-opening of the entire canal in 1991, when the Duke of Kent was guest of honour (below left) at Frimley Lodge Park.
However it appeared at other celebratory events leading up to that climax, as various sections of the Canal were successively restored and opened, and of course afterwards (see pictures below).
Throughout its venerable history on the Basingstoke Canal, the old John Pinkerton has been the symbol of the extraordinary voluntary efforts that have been invested in the waterway.
The new owner is Josh Kerry. Along with associate Michael Thurgood and friends, he took the boat on a trip to Fleet to familiarise himself with it, before taking it back down the Canal with a final destination of Hungerford (by water all the way, of course).
After some refitting over the winter, Josh (sometimes known by nickname Bert) plans to use the renamed boat as a mobile shop for bicycle sale and hire, having established there is no cycle shop in the town. He expects to start trading in the Summer of 2015.
We will keep in touch with Josh, and will follow the fortunes of the (former) John Pinkerton as it starts a new life.