Yorkshire Keels were sailing barges that once plied the canals of the North of
. Brookfoot was built during WW2 (the last of the line) and never rigged for sailing. Instead, she was powered by a three cylinder England diesel engine. The gentle rhythmic sound of the engine – as against the thumping of the two cylinder Lister diesel engines installed in the other canal barges - led to her being know by the old-timers as, “the sewing machine boat”. Gardner
A year’s work went into converting Brookfoot into a home and studio. She was my means of escape and for two years she faithfully carried us through the lean formative creative period of my life. On turning my back to an enginers' drawing office, I had taken to heart the advice: “Grab a chance and you won’t be sorry for a might have been”*.
The first photograph shows Brookfoot just after she had delivered her last cargo of coal - and just before I purchased her for the princely sum of £200 – and the second shows her two years later, moored on the canal at Brugge.
* Arthur Ransome We Didn't Mean to Go to Sea