The mud hopper leased by the Trust was at one time the River Class butty Tow, built by EC Jones & Son of Brentford in 1961 for British Transport Waterways, a division of the British Transport Commission.
The River Class boats were a new design of narrowboat, designed to be cheap and simple to construct and to have 20% extra carrying capacity over more traditional boats. They were built of welded steel sections and used blue glass fibre hatch covers instead of cloth covers.
Tow would have worked carrying cargo as required but after the disbanding of the British Waterways carrying fleet in 1963 it would have passed into maintenance work. At some time after that possibly in the 1970s Tow’s cabin was removed and it was converted into a mud hopper based at Icknield Port in Birmingham.
Restoration of Tow