Northwich Drydock Company is situated on 'Hunt's Island' just to the North of Hunt's Locks. The island was formed by the straightening of the river in the 18th Century and is adjacent to the Canal & River Trust Northwich regional offices and yard. The land was in a near derelict state when taken over by Northwich Drydock Company and we are currently in the process of turning this under-developed site into a high quality working boatyard.
The drydock itself is located beneath one of the railway viaduct arches, which was once the original course of the river.
Opposite the island lies Yarwood's Basin, which was once the home to famous shipbuilders W. J. Yarwood and Sons. During the early and mid 1900’s the company built 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 1950’s. The yard closed in 1965. Today, much of the site has been developed for housing, but a small basin remains and is now a safe haven for visiting and permanently moored craft.
To the right is a photo of Mr W. J. Yarwood standing on the bow of a recently launched Winsford flat which is tied on Hunt's Island with the drydock in the background.
An important feature of the site is the slipway which is situated on the north-most edge of the site. The photograph to the left shows the slipway at its prime at some stage in the 1960s with a couple of British Waterways craft on the slip. The slipway was operated by 3 tracks running down into the river each with cables connecting to a pulley on the top of the slip. A vessel would lay across the bottom of the slip and the electric winch pulls up the vessel.
Fortunately the slipway still survives today, under a lot of vegetation, but hopefully one day it will be back operational allowing for craft to be docked for more long term periods.