FCB18

FCB18 is a concrete barge. She was built in 1944 by Messrs Waters Ltd of Barrow-in-Furness. She is the result of war-time austerity which caused shortages of both shipbuilding skills and steel. To overcome these shortages the government turned to the building trade to produce vessels using concrete, which was a cheap and readily available material even in wartime. These vessels could also be made with a minimum amount of steel; a concrete barge with 200 tons carrying capacity required only 18 tons of steel compared with 56 tons necessary for an all steel barge. These boats were never popular being heavy and difficult to steer. Due to the brittle nature of concrete they were easily damaged, despite being fitted with a heavy timber fendering on their sides. They were found mostly in the major ports and on rivers throughout the country; locally they were used on the Manchester Ship Canal, and the River Mersey. In 1985, after being moored for many years at Westward Ho in Manchester, FVB18 was donated to the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port by the Manchester Ship Canal Company.

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