Yarwoods Basin is part of the original line
of the River Weaver as it entered Northwich.
In the early 1800’s the river course was
altered as part of the first canalisation of
the river in this area. The Basin was part
of a backwater which became the boatbuilding
yard of John Thompson who built timber
barges and sailing flats to satisfy the
needs of the emerging trade in carrying
locally mined salt by water.
In 1896 the
boat building yard was purchased by ‘William
James Yarwood’ and the yard engaged with the
newer building materials and methods using
riveted Iron for construction and steam
engines for propulsion.
next 70 years the company built over 1000
vessels, in many cases building everything
from the crafts hull and structure to the
steam winches and propulsion engines, with a
factory site which extended over several
early and mid 1900’s ‘W J Yarwoods’ was
commissioned to build a large number of
narrowboats for various fleets, from
‘Station boats’ and ‘Joshers’ to those in
the expanding GUCC fleet immediately pre war
and part of the ‘Admiral’ fleet in the late
The yard went
on to build tugs, barges and small ships
into the 1960’s with the ‘St Elmo’ being the
last craft built at the yard in 1965.
Whilst many of
the craft remain, much of the yard has been
consumed by the expansion of Northwich,
however the original river course which
latterly formed the side slip dock remains
to this day and is now in use as a safe
haven for visiting and permanently moored
craft many of which were built at the yard
over the last hundred years.