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Black Dog - an electric canoe


A venerable old lady with elegant lines and seating for six within the varnished mahogany hull which glides along silently thanks to the 36 volt motor and lead acid battery pack.

Thought to have been built in 1910 thanks to a builder's plate which sadly no longer exists, Black Dog could have been built by any of the builders (Hobbs, Hughes, Andrews of Maidenhead) who at that time were experimenting with this design which was fast and wash free. We do know that she was owned for some time in the mid twentieth century by Wallingford rowing club who used her as a coaching and umpires launch. It was they who replaced the electric motor with a second hand Austin lifeboat engine in order to keep up with a rowing eight. They owned her for 16 years from 1950 but didn't actually use her from 1957 until the sale in 1966. One can only guess at the condition when she was purchased by David Gathern and Colin Woodward, both employees of the Thames Conservancy (now EA). She was moored on the Thames, first at Marlow then later at Shepperton. At that time the boat was called The Lord John. Unable to maintain the boat for whatever reason they gifted her to the Walton Sea Scouts where in 1972 she was discovered by a Staines resident in a parlous state. She had some damage to the hull and was painted white.

Pat Brady and his friends bought her for £50 and then spent four years refurbishing the boat, scraping off the remnants of the white paint and somehow discovering that the boat's original name had been Black Dog. However they retained the name Lord John and in 1976 she was back on the water. They were members of Ditton Skiff and Pinting Club where she was used as a regatta launch for many years as well as a much loved family boat.

In 1985 the venerable Mark Edwards (he of Royal Barge fame), took her to his Hampton boatyard to do some work on the hull and the engine. He took a pattern off her with a view to making another boat of the same design.

In 2000 Pat and friends resolved to restore her again and this time to convert her back to her electric propulsion origins while also deciding to rename her Black Dog. He had found the original name Black Dog stained into the stripped down planking as well as the remnants of some gold paint which suggested that she had originally been an elegant and possibly even luxurious canoe. Mark Stanley and his team at Tom Jones Boatyard undertook the final restoration presenting her at the 2002 Beale Park boat show. It was at this point that Rupert Latham of the Steam and Electric Launch company specified the electric propulsion package which has powered her ever since then.

Pat and friends owned the boat for 40 years until 2016 when the current owner acquired her for use at her home in Staines. As she writes " We have treated her to another visit to Stanley and Thomas for a varnish and spruce up ready to meet a new owner. She remains Black Dog - beautifully rewritten". Boats age so much more gracefully in the end than do we and at 110 years old she is almost like new.

I have an article dating from 2014 with some great history and photos so please ask for the PDF. More photos available shortly.

There is a BSS certificate valid to 2022. The boat is presented on a storage trailer which can be included with the sale. There is also a full length tonneau cover and a hooped cover which is due for replacement.


Hobbs or Hughes
Year of build
4ft 6ins
Electric propulsion

Please call Gillian on 01491 578 870 for more information


Henley Sales and Charter Ltd have gained a reputation over the last 30 years for selling and chartering beautiful, classic boats. Experience of operating and selling boats on the river Thames enables us to offer expert objective advice to prospective owners on all aspects of boat ownership including purchase, surveys, repairs and moorings. We will do our best to find the ideal craft to suit your individual needs - for a day or for a lifetime.

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