• Short Summary

    Old narrow boats are renovated to become luxurious floating homes on the Basingstoke Canal.

  • Description

    High angle M/S looking down onto an old barge being lined up next to another on a canal; two other barges are seen, apparently in the stages of being renovated. Two young lads are seen cleaning the bottom of one of the old barges with a shovel and broom; two other lads look on from a bridge.

    M/Ss as three men (and a dog) are seen fixing new wooden panels and window frames onto an old narrow boat as commentator tells us barges that have been left to rot "are brought from the North and Midlands to the Basingstoke Canal at West Byfleet, and here they're converted into self-contained floating homes". (It is not clear if the filming took place at West Byfleet in Surrey or Barnes). The structure is starting to take shape with roof supports being put into position and two of the men check a blueprint of the layout. Fade into L/S from the bridge of the boys painting the barge, while men work on the roof. M/S of another barge being sawn in half, with two men on one side and two on the other; they push the two halves away from each other and the sawing man jumps to the opposite side. The lad left on the other half drifts off down the river.

    L/S of a man walking up to a finished 'floating home', moored by the riverbank. It looks very swish. He walks along the gangplank and in through the front door; M/S of the bow of the barge (exterior), showing curtains at the window and potted plants on the roof near the chimney. M/S in the kitchen showing the sink and cooker; very compact but 'gay' in blue gingham! A woman with her hair in a long plait turns down the gas and takes a coffee pot from the stove. She enters the living room where the man is sitting reading, and puts the coffee pot and a milk jug on the table; he shows her something in the book. C/U of a boxer puppy sitting next to a small stove heater. M/S of the bedroom (it is bed width!); M/S of the bathroom, as the man comes through the marble effect sliding doors, washes his hands and dries them on a towel. M/S of the houseboat exterior as a cat trots up the gangway.

    Note: On file is a magazine article and leaflet from John Gerrard Floating Homes Ltd who did this work.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Colour pictorials
    British Pathé
    Issue Date:
    hd format:
    Not available
    Time in/Out:
    01:28:17:00 / 01:31:31:00
    CP 320

Comments (3)

  1. Unknown user says

    From 00:12 in the video you can see a man wearing a khaki overall standing on the bank. His name is Ernie Luxton. I am his son and worked on some of the later houseboats. I can confirm that the location is Scotland Bridge, West Byfleet, At 00:56 you can see, from L to R, a Gurkha who came back from Burma with my dad. The man carrying the board is Ernie, and the man with the glasses and beard appears to be Gordon Holmes, who was one of the directors of Floating Homes Ltd. I do not remember the name John Gerrard.

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  2. Unknown user says

    No , Mr Glasses and Beard is my Dad , Philp Dresman who was a boat builder . My Mum is the charming lady in the kitchen , later to be a renowned sculptor Althea Wynne .
    I wonder whether these boats were some that he found scuttled in , I think , the Leeds Liverpool canal , he refloated them , and brought them to London to fix up .

    Ruth Dresman. July 2014

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  3. stanley1967@talktalk.net says

    I am the daughter of Ernie Luxton and the sister of the first contributor. Ernie is indeed the man with the khaki overall in the first scene and further into the film you can spot him easily with a pencil behind his ear and using a ratchet screwdriver. I was in my early to mid teens when Dad worked on the canal boats at Scotland Bridge Lock on the Basingstoke Canal. I, and my younger brother, often went to the Canal with Dad. Our Dad was an experienced carpenter and joiner. In his earlier days, just before WW2 he learnt boat building on the Isle of Wight. His nickname was Lucky Luxton.

    I remember Phil Dresman and I can confirm that he is the man with glasses and beard. I met both Phil and Althea and at one time they came to our house.

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