En route to restoring past

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A horse-drawn canal boat will make its way through the Daventry area this month.

Kildare, owned by Black Country Living Museum, was one of four boats sunk when New Warwick Wharf in Birmingham was bombed during the war.

Not only did Kildare ‘live’ to tell the tale, she reaches her 100th birthday this year.

Repaired and restored, Kildare will embark on an eight-day journey to the Stoke Bruerne Gala Weekend before taking part in a traditional horse drawn boat pull along the Grand Union Canal.

Kildare will leave Braunston Marina on June 13, stopping at Weedon that night, and then heading onto Stoke Bruerne for the weekend. She will then return on the same route on June 17 and 18.

Sue Day, Chairperson of The Horseboating Society said: “HBS will again provide a boathorse, this time for the special occasion of the centenary of the boat Kildare, built in 1913, to be pulled by horse but later by motorboat. A horse-drawn boat is now a very rare sight. The Horseboating Society (HBS) was founded in 2001 “to preserve and promote horseboating”. The society is the legacy of a horse-drawn boat journey from Manchester to London in 2000, showing that, although it is difficult, it is still possible to use the canal system with horse-power.”

Kildare was built in 1913 by Braithwaite & Kirk of West Bromwich for Fellows Morton & Clayton at a cost of £190.

When Kildare travelled the waterways 100 years ago George V was on the throne, and the Black Country was at the heart of the industrial revolution.

In its heyday Kildare traded as a horse boat but would have been towed by steamers, and later by diesel-powered boats

In 1991 Kildare was bought by the Black Country Living Museum to accompany President, the only steam-powered narrow boat on the waterways today, and provide crew accommodation.

Nick Haynes Chairman of the Friends of President said: “We are very proud that Kildare is 100 years old this year. For almost a quarter of her life she has been in the care of the Black Country Living Museum and we hope that she will be around for the next hundred years. Kildare and President can be seen this year at many locations around the country promoting the Museum and the Inland Waterways. ”