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HAYES WHARF

The Hayes vessels were towed on a purpose made bogie behind a traction engine owned by a local haulage contractors, from the Watling Works along Stony Stratford High Street, and eventually reaching the turn into Wharf Lane at Old Stratford. This trip was often full of mishaps with vessels reported as stuck for days at a time on the old Roman Road. Along Wharf Lane were former canal wharf buildings in a basin just off the Buckingham Arm of the Grand Junction Canal, which were owned by the Hayes firm, and used by them to assist with fitting out operations on the vessels.

The vessels were launched broadside into the canal arm, although after the accompanying splash had settled they were sometimes known to have beached themselves on the opposite bank of the basin, and requiring a second launch! When safely in the water the vessels were fitted out alongside the wharf, before posing for a photographic record, as seen below.

However the completed vessels were too tall to fit under the canal bridges and this necessitated the removal of the deck superstructure, before proceeding on their journey to the Thames, where they were finally fitted out, commissioned and handed over to their new owners. Some were then taken on perilous journeys to all parts of the world to begin their long working lives.