The recovery of “One Old Peculier” was completed yesterday. Since about 1 o’clock Monday tihis once fine narrowbat has been straddled across the River Thames at Osney Bridge. Many plans were tried and many plans were abandoned.
There were many gongoozlers and we all had our own opinion of how the boat would best be moved we none of us thought of the final solution.
It couldn’t be lifted out from the bridge because the bridge is old, the boat weighing about 20 tons was full of water which was probably another 20 tons. Due to the reach required a crane would have to be a big one.
On day one the fire service tried to pull the boat off the weir. All the time the boat was on the weir it was floatring. As soon at the boat was moved back the river pushing on and below the waterline rolled the boat over about 35 degrees and the river flooded the hull. The back end of the hull resting up against the bank sat on the bottom.
Inital attempts, on day two, to pump it out failed when the pump couldn’t keep up with the inflow of the river. One has to wonder why they didn’t use both pumps they brought on site.
By Thursday the decision was made to dig out a slip way, in the pocket park, and drag the boat out into the park then take it away on a truck. They started by cutting down the iron fence and then removed a bit of the wall. Then the JCB dug oiut the ramp.
Friday saw the arrival of two big cranes one of which lifted the bow and winched the boat forward on the hard, inch by inch, the other drove into the allotments and was, as far as we could assertain, attached to the stern to stop it being wshed down stream when the back end came off the bank.
There was no way the boat was going to get out unscathed and as it moved across the river off the bank the stern sank.
By the time darkness came the boat was in the park and the equipment was being removed. The boat will be taken away on Sunday.