Ferrie cross the Ogley

Charlie Ferrie canalboat

Remarkable image of the unveiling of the Charles Ferrie narrowboat in 1962. Image supplied by Tony Winn.

This had me thinking hard for a while. Tony Winn – a man who’s previously helped with matters relating to the Ralph Ferrie story here on the Brownhills Blog – sent me the above, wonderful image today, with a covering note. I knew we’d mentioned this event somewhere before… even thought I may have featured the picture before. Unable to get to a desktop to reliably search the blog, I wracked my brain, to no avail.

Tony wrote:

Hi Bob,

I came across this photo the other day and thought it might be of interested to you. It must have been taken about 1957/58 after Charlie Ferrie died.

In memory of him Ralph donated this narrow boat to the Brownhills Youth Club to use. This is a photo of the launch/naming of the boat (that’s Amy Ferrie holding the bouquet).

My guess is that the teenagers pictured should be heading towards their 70’s by now. Think it was taken on the canal in Brownhills as they did own a canal basin at the back of the Station Hotel (Station Garage, opposite the Council House).

Don’t know what became of the boat, or the teenagers, maybe some of your readers do?


I found the answer at the foot of this remarkable post about the Brownhills space rocketeers. The boat was (apparently) launched in 1962 at Ogley Basin, and Tony himself pointed out in the comments to that post:

If I remember correctly, Ralph paid to have the boat made in memory of his father, Charlie, and it was presented to the local youth club (poss Brownhills?) for their use on the local canals. Don’t know what became of it after the launch though.

I don’t think the boat was new, looking at the marks on the hull, but it may well have been a refurb. I’d love to know what happened to it – and someone must know the identities of those kids on there.

Thanks to Tony for his continued dedication to the Ferrie history – he was very significant to the modern history of Brownhills, and his story is often muddied by the kind of rumour and myth that surrounds any such larger-than-life character, which makes it wuite hard to pin down.

Without Tony’s contributions, we’d be very much the poorer. cheers, old chap.

Anything to add? Comment here, or BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

I’m not sure when Charles Ferrie passed on, but this boat was certainly named after him in 1962. Image from the Walsall Chronicle.

I’m not sure when Charles Ferrie passed on, but this boat was certainly named after him in 1962. Image from the Walsall Chronicle.

This entry was posted in Brownhills stuff, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Events, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local History, Local media, News, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Ferrie cross the Ogley

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    From the Probate Register for 1959:
    FERRIE Charles Henry of Grace Farm Aldridge Staffordshire died 25 July 1958 at The General Hospital Walsall Staffordshire Probate Birmingham 2 December to Amy Ferrie widow. Effects £89598 0s. 1d.
    Age 57.
    Source: Ancestry.co.uk.

  2. Roy Stanway says:

    Hi Bob & Tony Roy here from OZ yes i remember the boat the lad above the two girls at the front was George Martin in was also the Brownhills Army cadets with me

  3. sabcat says:

    The hull of the boat is definitely not new, the cabin might well be though, the boat wasn’t built with one. A proper canal anorak could probably tell you who built the hull just from the picture of the bow, email a picture to Laurence Hogg http://www.laurencehoggproductions.co.uk/ , he might be able to tell you more about it.

  4. Sarah says:

    My guess would be that the hull was built by Walkers of Rickmansworth for the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company.

  5. Clive says:

    Great photos. thanks to all involved.

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  10. hi tony my name is susan coyne, ralph and amy was like aunty and uncle to me,mom and dad worked for them,would like to find out how Vicky ferrie is doing,been told her name is winn now,been a long time,we was close as kids,can you help.plz

  11. CATH says:

    Ralph ferrie was my dads cousin from Stone,Staffs

  12. Joan harris says:

    I am looking for anyone who knew or worked at Brownhills motor sales that knew Bill Withers or big Tony he used to ride a motor bike in those days.

  13. Philip Ward says:

    The Ferries used to have a piece of land that lay between the Chester road and Watling Street, with an entrance from both. This was in the1960s. A rail line ran through it and it had a transport business of some sort.

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