Elland is now a unique boat, built about 150 years ago to be towed by a horse. She is 60′ long, less than 6’10” wide, and is very well shaped and fabricated, being constructed of wrought iron plates.
Elland is believed to have been shipyard built in Yorkshire in 1865, with 2015 being her 150th anniversary.
What is remarkable is that her original iron hull is in extremely good order still. She is an unusual length for a traditional narrow boat at 60 feet long, but the Horseboating Society took her around the South Pennine Ring in 2002, proving that she could just pass through locks on the Huddersfield Broad and Calder and Hebble by being fitted diagonally across these short but broad locks. She was probably built for the Aire and Calder Navigation Company. It is thought that there were 6 boats of her type built, with Elland being the sole surviving example.
Her long career will have been varied – she may have carried general cargoes or she may well have been a maintenance boat, carrying materials such as clay, stone, and timber required for care of the waterways.
It is also possible that she was engaged in Britain’s longest canal tunnel, Standedge Tunnel, removing spoil during the construction of the adjacent first railway tunnel.
Nowadays she is engaged in community, educational and living history work, preserving and promoting the heritage of the waterways. She is operated under horsepower to demonstrate this now rare form of waterway transport.