Saturn Fly-boat

Waterways Heritage Afloat

Saturn is a restored canal fly-boat. From about 1850 to 1920 fly-boats were the express craft of the waterways, like UPS or DHL today. Running non-stop, day and night, with an all male crew they delivered the important and perishable goods, around the clock over the UK waterway network.

Ellesmere Port was the hub of the Shropshire Union’s operation, fly-boats left daily for such destinations as Birmingham, the Potteries, Llangollen, Shrewsbury, Welshpool, Newtown and Trench (Telford); dropping off and collecting goods at many intermediate points. 

The boats themselves were the ultimate development of the art of wooden narrow boat building, considered probably the finest narrowboats ever built. They had to have a unique combination of fine lines, light weight, fast performance and great strength. The Shroppie Fly represented the peak of the craft of wooden narrow boat construction before the final decline of canal transport.

Jack Roberts has written a fascinating account of his working life on fly-boats. 

Shropshire Union Fly-Boats, The Jack Roberts Story is published by the Canal Bookshop. 

More info 

Download our free Fly-boat Factsheet.  FACTSHEET