News Letter

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In this section we will show the latest News Letter, plus a few more.

News Letter 39:- December 2012

The social gathering took place on the 17th November and it was a great success. Bob and John were able to join us, as well as a good turnout from Register members. We were overwhelmed by the food that everyone kindly brought so no one went hungry!! Roy Kenn showed some very interesting slides of the Allens yard at Oldbury and elsewhere on the BCN.

In the afternoon a formal meeting of the Register was held. A committee was elected, myself as Chairman, Pam Pugh as Treasurer and Membership Secretary and Annie Jenner as Newsletter editor.

It was agreed that we would collect a subscription for 2013 of 5. Please can this be sent tp Pam Pugh at the address below, Cheques payable to 'Allens Register'.

If you need a receipt please sen an SAE. It would be helpful to draw attention to any corrections needed to your address.

Martin O'Keeffe: Email or 07973 299438

Treasurer and Membership Secretary
Pam Pugh : Email or 07776 287075

Newsletter Editor
Annie Jenner: Email or 07952 792676

The Register has a discussion group setup on Yahoo Group see:-
If you need any help joining contact Martin O'Keeffe.

Martin O'Keeffe

We have been asked for clothing with the Register Logo. Gus Tysoe has been in contact with the previous supplier and we hope to be able to supply items in the future.

We will be holding another social event on 23rd November 2013 at Titford Pumphouse 11am to 6pm.

Events Attended 2012

Four boats came to the Stafford Boat Club at the annual gathering in June. nb Chanterelle: Arthur and (son) Simon East and Family. nb Thornbury: John and Christine Baylis. nb Whitelocks Barrie and Eileen Johnson and our boat Eli. Linda Millward of Teddersley Boats and Graham came along on the Sunday. Nice tp see you all thank you all for coming.

Events for 2013

Boat Gathering: Weekend 24th to 27th May 2013 Langley Mill, Erewash Canal
We have been invited by John Bayliss (long time Allen boat owner) to join the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association's 45th Anniversary rally
Further details from:Mrs Christine Baylis (Tel no 01623 201208)
Boat entry forms available online at:

Summer Rally Birmingham Canal Navigations Society. 15th-16th June 2013 Pelsall Common. BCN. or telephone 0121-422-4374

19th to 21st July 2013. IWA Rally at Cassiobury Park on the Grand Union Canal in Watford. or telephone 01785 824 012

A good site to visit to get many Boat Rally dates and entry forms for 2013 is the Historic Narrow Boat Club (HNBC)

Our good friends Fred and Sadie Heritage tell me that their nb Lynx will be a 100 years old in 2013, still going strong, a beautiful well cared for ex FMC boat. Sadly they have decided to sell Lynx. But they will continue to boat on their nb Straw Bear.
Fred and Sadie can be contacted on 07748186867 or Email

Early Doors

(I am sure Bryan Brock would have approved) May I suggest Register members attending any Rally, who would like to meet up for an impromptu get together, go to the beer tent at 5pm on the Saturday of any Rally above. Take a copy of the newsletter with you and put it on the table to let others know who you are.
This may help new or prospective members to meet Allen owners. I know there will be some Allens at the above Rallies.

Best Regards

Annie Jenner nb. Eli

News Letter 38:- September 2012

We held a small boat gathering in May where Allen Boats joined in at the BCN Society boat gathering at the Titford Pumphouse. I did'nt manage to make it by boat, but did meet with a group of register members attending the event. We discussed the future of the register and a way ahead and possible future events. It was suggested that we hold a social event in November and plans for next years boat gathering was also agreed. More details below.

Social Event - Saturday 17th November 2012
Starting 11am for the afternoon and evening.
Titford Pumphouse: Engine Street: Oldbury: B69 4NL.

2013 Boat Gathering: Weekend 24th to 27th May 2013 Langley Mill, Erewash Canal
We have been invited by John Bayliss (long time Allen boat owner) to join the Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association's 45th Anniversary rally
Further details fromMrs Christine Baylis (Tel no 01623 201208)
Boat entry forms available online at:

The despatch of newsletters out by E mail was mentioned, but a goodly number seem to want to receive a printed version so for the time being we will continue to do this although an email version would save time and the cost of the postage.!
Talking of money whilst we have not collected any subscriptions for many years we will be sending out with the next newsletter a request for subscriptions for 2013.

The intention being that this newsletter will be sent out before Christmas. In the past requests for subscriptions have been sent out with rally entry forms.
It would also be useful to receive some input from register members for future editions of the newletter, perhaps this could be a paragraph or two about your boat with some pictures. This information could also then be included in Jeff Barley's Allen Register website. The intention being that we can create a large virtual archive concerning Les Allen and Sons, with details of their boat yard and the boats built and worked on at Valencia Wharf.

Martin O'Keeffe

Allen Register Clothing

I have been asked about embroidered clothing that the regiser had supplied in the past. There may have been orders the members have placed with Bryan Brock that have not been fulfilled. As I understand things Bryan was holding onto some orders until he had reached the minumum order quantity of ten garments.
Two different garments were offered, a Fleece and a Premium Polo Shirt in sizes S to XXL. The former was available in black and navy blue and the later in black, navy blue or bottle green.
I will check with suppliers for up to date prices and hopefully have details for the 17th November, but if anyone is interested please let me know so that I can gauge interest. Also if you had placed an order with Bryan which has not been fulfilled and would still like the garment then please also advise me. Martin O'Keeffe

News Letter 37:- December 2011

The Way Ahead

It has been awhile since a newsletter has been produced, the untimely death of Bryan Brock took the wind out of the registers sails. Having talked to Gus Tysoe and other Allen Boat owners we felt that the register should continue. Work is being carried out behind the scenes to put the register back on a firm footing, but in the meantime this newsletter has been produced to let you all know that this is happening and announce that we intend to hold a boat gathering and social event next year in conjunction with the BCN Society. On the Saturday afternoon at 2pm we can hold an open meeting of the Register to decide the way forward.

The newsletter has been sent to the address list that Bryan and Gus had maintained, any corrections (and E mail address details if possible) should be sent to Martin, address is at the bottom of the following page.It would help simplify future distributions if this could where possible be by E mail.
Martin O'Keeffee and Barrie Johnson.

Boat Gathering 2012

We are planning to join our friends of the BCN Society in holding our next gathering and get together over the weekend of the 19th-20th May 2012 at the Titford Pumphouse in Oldbury. We have of course met there before and it is but a stones throw from the old Allen yard.It has good moorings and the facilities of the BCN Society headquarters in the pumphouse that make it a good venue for a get together.
Booking forms for the BCNS Summer Rally with which you are joining are available from Barrie Johnsonat :-
7 Moat Farm Drive, Bartley Green. Birmingham. B32 4LH or by E mail to :-
The form can also be downloaded from the BCNS website; details below.

Web Site

BCNS are currently moving to a new website ( so Jeff Barley who has for many years maintained the Allen pages as well as the BCNS old website is currently working to move all this to a new Allen specific domain.

Other Rallies

Annie Jenner( who has assisted with the distribution of the newsletter) writes that she has spoken to the organiser of the Stafford Boat Club Gathering which is on Friday, Saturday and Sunday the 8th, 9th and 10th of June 2012and they would be happy for Allen boat's to attend. If any one would like to come, please either down load the entry form to website or send a stamp addressed envelope toAnnie at:-
2 Fox Pitt Cottage, Shingle Barn Lane, West Farleigh, Kent, ME15 OPN. if sent early enough a block booking can be made to moor together.

Also on 22nd,23rd and 24th June it is Wolverhampton Boat Club's Golden Anniversary Boaters Gathering. Remember that the end of May Bank Holiday 2012 has been moved to Monday 4th June as Tuesday 5thn June has been added onto it for the Queens Diamond Jubilee.

Letter produced by Martin O'Keeffe: 36 Martony Court, Dane Road, Margate CT9 1SG: Email

News Letter 35:- April 2010

Not Very Good News:- 10th Gathering (July 2010) Cancelled.

I imagine that many of you will have seen the report in the March Canals Magazines concerning the draining and repair works at the Chasewater Reservoir - the main supply to the Wolverhampton Level of the BCN. Anticipated water shortages will mean low water levels; overnight closure of locks; and likely 1-or-2 day stoppages.

The BCNS has cancelled its Festival at Pelsall; their Marathon Cruise; and re-routed and restricted the numbers for their Explorer Cruise. The Parkhead Rally has been cancelled, and although I have heard no news so far concerning the Black Country Boating Festival, that would also seem to be in balance.

Our own Gathering at Titford Pumphouse will inevitably mean a number of our entrants will have to lock up to the Wolverhampton Level - and down again afterwards - but there is an additional potential problem with the Crow. IF it is a dry summer there is a high probability that the Titford Pools will be insufficient to maintain the level up there - and pumping to maintain it would come from the already shallow Wolverhampton Level. Closures there are a distinct possibility - which would likely be announced at very short notice.

As a result of all of this, and after discussing it with Dean Davies, BW Manager for the BCN, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that it would be best to cancel NOW, rather than risk any of us perhaps being marooned in the middle of nowhere, or unable to get back home again.

A Possible Alternative

I am looking into the possibility of staging an alternative - and somewhat smaller - Get-together "somwhere" on the New Main Line Level in order to reduce to the minimum the amount of water to be taken from the Wolverhampton Level, but so far I have been unable to locate a place that would be available at the right sort of date. I will be writing again as soon as I can.

Refunds of 2010 Entry Fees

For those of you who have already paid both subscription and entry, I attach a cheque for the latter. And might I make a small reminder to those who haven't yet sent anything, that the sub is 5.00...

Fleece Orders

The first order has been completed, and will be despatched this week.
I supposed it was inevitable that we received a further order 2 days after we had placed the order with the makers, but it wasn't possible to add it in. However, 'repeat orders' only require a minimum of 5 garments, so if any of you who delayed making a decision earlier would like to change your mind, the next list has started...


I have had to make another Hard Decision this past month - this one being to "move into brick" after 15 years of happily living afloat. She will almost certainly be up for sale with The Used Boat Co


News Letter 34:- February 2010

A Belated Happy New Year to you all

This newsletter had started out dated December 2009, as my intention was to get it and the Entry Form to you in time for Christmas. However, several events intervened (apart from the usual festivities) and, of course, the, recent spell of appalling weather which nearly brought the whole country to a standstill.

In addition, while at the early draft stage, I was given the opportunity to purchase an excellent fleece at a very reasonable price. The supplier said he could provide similar garments, embroidered with out logo, and as he postal dispute was then running it seemed reasonable to delay briefly and obtain a proof and a fully detailed quotation. Unfortunately this took longer than anticipated, by which time we'd missed the Christmas post. The final straw was that Gus's printer broke down the day before the final draft was agreed, and took over a fortnight to be repaired.

Tenth Gathering - 9-11 July 2010 Titford Pumphouse, Oldbury

I enclose herewith the Entry Form, as promised in the last Newsletter.

This is a rather special ocassion and I look forward to seeing a great many of you. Don't forget ownership of an Allen boat, or indeed a boat of any kind, isn't necessary; we like to meet people who are interested in the Allens and the boats they built.

The last Newsletter detailed the proposed entertainment on the Saturday - the lunchtime Brass Band has now been booked well in advance... Since writing we have been approached by Stuart Lane, the Development Manager of the Galton Valley Museum - opposite Smethwick Pumping Station - and he and his staff will be delighted to welcome us all to visit his establishment.

The Fleece

Fully-knitted, heavy-weight poly fleece (390-400gm)
Contrasting collar
Full zip front
2 external angled ziped pockets
2 internal 'poacher' pockets
1 internal zipped pocket
Drawcord hip with cord lock
Embroidered with Allen Register logo on left breast
Available in navy blue or black
Sizes S - XXL
Price - 24.00 (including P&P)

Premium Polo Shirt

Heavy - knit pique
High natural cotton content for weather comfort
3 matching button placket
Cuffed sleeves
Taped neck
Embroidered with Allen Registered logo on left breast
Available in navy blue, black, or bottle green
Sizes S - XXL
Price - 15.00 (including P&P)

I can assume you that the fleeces are extremely warm, and after looking in Milletts can add that they are not only heavier material but also are better pocketed; some 20 lower in price; and of course, bear our logo....
There is one possible minor snag - in order to get these prices we need to order a minimum of 10garments, which I do not think should be a problem. Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure,I will not be banking any cheques until the minimum level has been reached
Bryan included an order form with the posted newsletter not reproduced here, if interested contact Bryan by post/telephone as in membership found in Allens List section.
All that's left is for me to wish you all Good Boating for 2010, and to see you in July.


News Letter 33:- September 2009

Tenth Gathering: 9-11th July 2010 - Titford Pumphouse, Oldbury

The BCN Society have kindly offered us the use of their headquarters at Titford Pump House and their marquee for our Gathering

This is a milestone event, and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible.
Don't forget - you don't have to own an Allen boat - you just need to be interested or involved in some way with Valencia Wharf.


Friday 9th July

Noggin-and-natter evening with Real Ale Bar and burgers & hot dogs

Saturday 10th July

There will be a brass band to entertain us over the lunch period
Evening entertainment will be provided by the hilarious husband and wife team
Real Ale.......BBQ.........Burger Bar
Entry Forms will be sent with the next Newsletter in time for Christmas.


News Letter 32:- March 2009

Ninth Gathering: 12-14 June 2009 - Tardebigge New Wharf

I mentioned in the last Newsletter that we had accepted the Worcester Birmingham Canal Society's invitation to join them in celebrating their 40th Anniversary. Other Canal Societies have also been invited so there will inevitably be Allen Boats present.However, I feel thw well-known Oldbury boat builders should be formally represented by members of the Register from all over the country.
A entry form will be on this site shortly in the main BCNS Events section. The form should be sent direct to the Worcester Birmingham Society. The Allen Register sticker is so that they can tell us who should receive an Allen Gathering Plaque.

Looking Back

Believe it or not it is nearly nine years since our first Gathering at Merry Hill! There is now a 16 minute DVD of this event available from me for 6 (post paid). Mike Sutor, who made the original video and has transferred it to DVD, reminds us that technology has made incredible advances since 2001 - not least in the number of differenr DVD formats now in use. In consequence, some people MAY experience difficulties with the DVD, but Mike will be pleased to help solve most of them, which is why his telephone number is on the case.

Looking Forward

A final thought - "keep your powder dry" for 2010, which will be our 10th Gathering. It will almost certainly be at Titford Pump House, which is the nearest suitable location tp Valencia Wharf. Talks have already started with the BCN Society in order to fit in with their plans; at present it looks likely to be 'early to mid' July 2010 but full details will follow.

We must make it a very special occasion.


News Letter 31:- December 2008

I know it is a little early but this is probably the last newsletter you will receive in 2008 - so


I am constantly being asked where next year's gathering will be. Now I can tell you. We have received an invitation from the Worcester and Birmingham Canal Society to join them in celebrating their 40th Anniversary in 2009. It seemed a good idea to combine it with our 9th Gathering and so I have accepted this invitation. The venue is to be

Tardebigge New Wharf on 12 - 14th June 2009

There is now a superb social centre close to St Bartholomew's church with full facilities. SO GET IT IN YOUR 2009 DIARY NOW. I know it is a steep climb from the towpath but we are planning to organise a people-carrier to operate a shuttle service

On a more sombre note, I received a letter from Dudley Matthews in September. It contained profuse apologies for not informing the Register that Enid died peacefully on Thursday 20th March 2008. He was particularly concerned that the Allen families and those who knew him at Valencia Wharf had not been informed. Clive's boat Otter and Dudley's Gloucester Rose are stll moored on the Avon at Wyre Mill and they wish to remain "on the books".

Infilling of Valencia Wharf

There is some consternation over Valencia Wharf being infilled. I went to see Bob Allen about this and he had three main concerns:
1. Holloways seem to be forging ahead withouy consultation.
2. What will happen to those who are moored there?
3. Have British Waterways stipulated that the ends of the infilled arms are to be properly sealed off where they met the main line?
However, subsequent information (largely from Brenda Ward) reveals that prominent members of the BCNS, BW, IWA the Environment Agency and local authorities are well involved. As I understand it, Holloways have planning permission to extend the buildings but no permission has been granted to infil the arms.

White Harriette II - (updated) In the last Newsletter I reported that following an inspection at the Gathering in July of their boat by Bob Allen, Arthur East and other experts, their opinion was that she was unlikely to've been built by the Allens, despite her having been sold as one.
But she has since been dry-docked, and Jed sent John Allen photos of the hull below the waterline. John has now confirmed that there is an aspect of the hull construction that was unique to the Allens at the time of building, so there is now no doubt.

New Members We welcome the following who have joined the Register since the last issue of the Newsletter
Dick Henneman...............Eclipse
John M Howard...............Ferris McCleod


News Letter 30:- September 2008

Our 8th Gathering - Hawne Basin

In spite of the uncertainties regarding moorings, access to the club facilities and possible misgivings regarding Gosty Tunnel, by all accounts our 8th Gathering went well. As many Hawne moorers were away cruising, Tony Friar (Hawne Mooring Master) was able to accommodate us all within the security of Coombeswood Trust.

A note of sadness was occasioned by the death of Joyce who, as Tony Jones's partner, had been a very popular member of the Hawne Basin community for many years. Tony and Joyce were very supportive and encouraging in the early days of the Register and many of us joined the large number of mourners at the cremation service.

Only a few weeks previously Barrie Johnson very kindly represented the Register at the funeral of David Oakely. I hope Mrs Oakley and the children will not lose touch with us. They will always be most welcome at any of our events.

Keith Hewlett opened the Bar on Friday evening from " early doors" and Jennie Hatton prevented us from getting thirsty all day on Saturday. She also organised the barbeque packs.

Grahem Hatton showed videos and DVDs on both the Friday and Saturday evenings. Peter Freakley showed his videos: "Towpath Encounter" and the re-enactment of unloading a lorry and narrowboat at a warehouse in Wolverhampton. The video "The last of the Boat Docks" largely shows Peter Keyes yard but there is a moment showing Bob and John Allen at work at Valencia Wharf. There were also videos of early boat gatherings, the first Allen gathering, Sonia Rolt's amusing speech at "Tardevent" and the official opening of the Titford Pumphouse.

As usual, all the Allens including Arthur and Joan East sat together which is always good to see.

Ged and Jo Blake from Lymm were assured that their boat was an Allen when they bought it. However, John Pugh and other Allen experts had their doubts. During the Saturday evening John Allen and Arthur East inspected NB "White Harriette II and they too were doudtful. Ged and Jo said how much they had enjoyed the weekend and would remain members anyway. We give them a warm welcome. Their friends Ernie and Mrs Cheetham (NB Christena of Lymm) were unable to come.

Will and Maria Evans (NB Persia) also didn't arrive, but I sent them their plaque. I hope they did not run into a problem. Phil and Dot Clayton (NB Marsh Harrier) were unable to attend at the last moment. Also Mike and Mo Jennings (NB Rotherome) sent their regrets.

Barrie Johnson gave Stewert Priddey (NB Dihedral) and me the task of getting to Titford as early as possible for the BCNS 40th Anniversary in order to secure a mooring for a boater who required a bankside mooring. However, Sheila Priddey was involved in a motor accident (not her fault) over the weekend. Fortunately she was not injured but shaken and shocked. John Pugh (NB Windrush) came in Stewart's place.

The consensus of opinion was that the noggin and natter evenings were enjoyable but one or two did ask why the entry was fourteen pounds with no pre-booked BBQs. When Gus and I were working out the budget we had to cater for a charge for showing the videos etc. Graham Hatton didn't ask for a fee so we made a donation to the Coombeswood Trust from the surplus.

We owe special votes of thanks to:
Keith Hewlett for organising Ma Pardoes's real ale
Tony Friar for organising the moorings
Jennie and Graham Hatton who worked so hard running the bar and showing the videos and DVDs

Erewash 40th Anniversary - Langley Mill

I was delighted by the response to my suggestion that we should attend the Erewash 40th Anniversary. At least eleven members attended - that was 9 Allen built boats and two enthusiasts. In spite of warnings about vandalism and rubbish we had no problems at all apart from trying to find real ale in the pubs! It is a long haul to Trent Lock and from Stenson Lock on the Trent and Mersey all the locks are wide so it is a good idea to go with another boat. We were in company with Colin and Annie Jenner (NB Eli) which made it all great fun.

The next wide lock after Stenson is Swarkestone. Just above thwe lock is the orginal junction of the now disused Derby Canal and the Trent and Mersey. One of our members, Ian Parrott, appeared. He seemed pleased to see us because he has moved from Shardlow to Willington and was able to give us his new address.



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