History of the WLMCC

The Club was formed on 20th October 1938 at a meeting in the Pleasure Boat Inn at Alperton. The founder members were: P.G.Guildford, P.M.Myers, A.W.Phillips, J.B.Rudge and V.L.Squire. The Club is believed to be the oldest cruising club on the Grand Union Canal.

Initially, the Club had moorings near Abbey Road Canal Bridge in Park Royal, and moved to its present site in 1940.

Soon after the end of the war, with the availability of cheap unwanted working boats, the club had about 20 members with an assortment of, mainly wooden, boats. In the early days, boats would be converted for pleasure use by their owners on the site. Some of them were unsuitable for conversion and their owners would sometimes lose interest because of the difficulties encountered. Many of the boats were poorly built and it was not unusual for them to sink and for the wrecks to be broken up and burnt on the site.

By 1950 the club had about 30 members, and this level of membership has remained since, limited by the size of the moorings and the number of boats it can accommodate. Most of the present boats are specially built of steel or glass fibre as pleasure craft and have a much longer life and it is a rare event when one is in such a bad way that it has to be broken up. However there are still a few wooden boats and the occasional conversion or renovation project takes place. The wooden boat Koala Sea was re-launched in 1999 after rebuilding of its superstructure.

pdf icon Download a 1981 article about the club that appeared in Waterways World (PDF format, 414kB)

The club has a converted Thames lighter, Weslon, as a Clubhouse, used for business meetings and social events. The club also has a marquee which is used for club events and for other boating events organised by the Inland Waterways Association and the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs, to which the club is affiliated.

Most winters, the club hires a crane so that a number of boats can be craned out of the water for inspection and for carrying out any necessary below the waterline repairs and repainting.

As with most activities, the costs of boating have risen over the years. In 1950, the lease of the site cost £100 per year (about £2,000 at today’s prices) whilst today the mooring cost for each boat is several hundred pounds per year. Similarly, the licence fee for a 12m boat has risen from £4.20 in 1950 (about £85 at todays prices) to £417 in 2000.

Whilst most of the members still live locally, a few members come from as far away as Kent, Essex, Surrey, Hampshire and Northamptonshire. Nevertheless, the club continues to provide a social and cruising program for its members. 1999 was the 60th cruising season of the Club and its 60th birthday celebrations were held on the weekend of the 4th/5th Sept 1999.

The Club is lead by the Commodore, Trevor Gillam, who has held this position since 1982. Trevor is also Chairman of the London Region of the AWCC. He can be contacted on 0208-866-9581.

The WLMCC mooring featured in the Pilot Episode of ITVs drama-comedy series “The Last Detective” starring Peter Davidson and Sean Hughs who strolled the mooring in scenes from the show.

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