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Engine National 2DM

Many thanks to Hugh Potter of Narrow Boat Magazine for allowing us to use this advert.
Originally given to him by boatwoman Lily Flowers

Swallow's original engine was a single cylinder Gardner 4VT semi-diesel of 12 h.p, with a Ferry gearbox.Three of the fleet still retain the rare and distinctive Gardner, 'Stork, Swan and Skylark’.The Gardner was removed for re-use in 1946 (possibly re-installed in ‘Swift’ or used for spares) and the vessel was used in a ‘dumb’ capacity initially (and unsuccessfully) as a butty (see ‘History’) and later as a ‘bank’ (or maintenance) boat.

Kenilworth 1960

The 2DM engine presently installed in Swallow was built in 1936 by the National Oil Engine Company of Ashton-Under-Lyne. The Grand Union Canal Carrying Company had originally intended to fit Russell Newbery DM2 engines in their new fleet of motor narrow boats, but the RN Co were unable to supply such a large number. An arrangement had already been made with the National Oil Engine Co in 1932 to produce its own near-identical version known as the 2DM. National paid RN £200 for the designs and drawings plus a royalty of two and a half per cent of the sales value per year, minimum £200 and maximum £1000,  up to a total figure of £10,000 after which use was free of charge.  Swallow’s was one of 141 built for the GUCCC and installed in the ‘Town’ Class motor boat ‘Kenilworth’ while only 38 GUCCC boats had the intended RN engine fitted. In the opinion of some the National version was the superior!


British Waterways (successor to the GUCCC) removed the Nationals over a period of time for replacement with more modern engines (eg Petter). The National in ‘Kenilworth’ was removed (replaced by a Lister HA2) and stored at the British Waterways Newark Repair Yard in 1967.Bought by Roger Lorenz in 1970 it was kept as a spare,and eventually installed in ‘Swallow’ in 1986/7, though the maiden voyage not until 1989.

Kenilworth 1960

Today ‘Kenilworth’ (shortened from the original 70ft and converted) is owned by the Goodier Brothers, based on the northern part of the Trent & Mersey Canal.She often passes or is passed by‘Swallow’ and on occasions the boats have been moored together.At such times the Goodiers joke that ‘they do not want the National back!’