History in brief.
April 1987: the Project was first launched.
Autumn '87: the order was placed with boatyard at Stowe Hill
Marine and construction gets underway.
November '87: the shell is rolled out and the narrowboat
is placed on water for the first time.
Easter '88: the shell with interior panelling and engine
fitted moves from the builders to Hunton Bridge.
Easter '89: "Lady Capel", as the boat was first named, was
finally fitted out ready for use.
April '89: she was dispatched to dry dock near Tring,
where she received her first painting.
May '89: the official launch of the boat.
October '10 - July '11: the boat was taken out of
the water and completely refitted.
January '12 - the planning for a new, wheelchair
accessible boat was underway.
January '13 - Pickle's Folly, recently completed by
Starline Marine, began its maiden voyage from Stourport-on-Severn to the base at
March '13 - Pickle's Folly was moored alongside
Dick's Folly at the base for the first time.
Dick's Folly History
The name of the boat, Dick's Folly, might have described the original
concept proposal by Dick Gettens in 1987, but the existence of today's
boat is proof enough that the ambitious proposal was not such a folly!
Dick Gettens was then Senior Youth Worker in South West Hertfordshire.
Dick gathered a group of enthusiasts to build a boat that would enable
community and youth groups to access the waterways.
The boat shell was constructed by Stowe Hill Marine, Weedon,
Northamptonshire in 1987, but the whole of the original interior was
fitted out by the Project's original trustees.
The original grant to build the boat came from the South West Herts
Divisional Youth and Community. The reduced price purchase of an engine
from IVECO made it possible to start the boat shell and superstructure
construction, knowing that the first stage of the project could be
completed within the budget available. By Autumn 1987 the order was
placed with Stowe Hill Marine to begin the construction and by November
the same year, the boat was placed on the water for the first time.
Easter 1988 - the boat's first long outing.
At the builders, the engine was fitted together with the interior
panelling. By Easter 1988, the boat was ready to be moved from the
builders. It was taken down the canal from the builders to Hunton
Bridge, where it is now moored.
Easter 1989 - "Lady Capel" was painted for the first time.
More fund raising was required to fit out the interior and to decorate
the outside of the boat. Local companies and the BBC's Children in Need
helped with funding to complete the project. The boat was dispatched to
a dry dock in Tring to be painted for the first time.
Fitting out the interior was a full year's work, but by Spring 1989 the
boat was ready for an official launch.
The official launch in May 1989 was reported in the local Watford and
Abbots Langley newspapers.
Dick Gettens died shortly after the official launch. The boat was
renamed in memory of him: "Dick's Folly".
In 2009 Dick's Folly suffered a leak from one of the water tanks onboard
which caused damage to most of the interior woodwork. The boat was
completely stripped by a team of volunteers during the winter and
fundraising became the main activity of the Project. Details of some of
the events can be seen in the
Fundraising and Gallery sections.
Arrangements were made with Starline Marine of Worcestershire to start
work on the boat while the fund-raising was still in progress. Thousands
of pounds were raised by volunteers in the Project and finally in the
spring of 2011, the Project received a bequest from the late Graham
Pickett which enabled us to finalise the work on the boat.
Early in 2012 the plans for a new wheelchair accessible narrowboat, to
be named Pickle's Folly in memory of Graham Pickett, were finalised and
the contract with Starline Marine to build the boat was signed. The boat
was finished in December 2012 and a volunteer crew travelled to
Stourport-on-Severn on New Year's Eve to begin its maiden cruise to the
Project's base at Hunton Bridge. Pictures and the crew's log can be seen
on this page.
The committee continues to attract new members and the project continues
to develop further. If this project
excites you in the same way as it has for the
volunteer project team and
for the youth and community groups that use the boat, then do contact us
to get involved.
Both Dick's Folly and Pickle's Folly are moored by the Grand Union Canal at Hunton
Bridge, near Abbots Langley and Watford. See the map
of our location for more details.