Saturn © Graeme Meek 2008 It was one October evening just as the sun had set Along the locks at Grindley Brook a horse drawn boat I met It was a Shroppie fly-boat dropping down the flight It was a Shroppie fly-boat working through the night The boat, her name Saturn, she was rigged to carry dry All laden down with Cheshire cheese for Manchester to fly Her crew of four worked through the night and likewise through the day On the move the journey through changing horses on the way From Newtown through to Ellesmere Port and Welshpool down to ‘Brum’ This sturdy timber vessel would carry many a ton For speed there’s none could match her as she travelled ‘round the clock But no longer does she ply her trade and work from dock to dock At Tower Wharf in Chester this boat was built to last Working hard for fifty years, travelling long and fast Until the railways made their mark and trade began to fail Then Saturn’s days were numbered and she began to pale But then a change of fortune, and an engine placed on board Along the narrow waterways as hotel boat she toured In nineteen eighty seven retirement came her way Never dreaming restoration would come along some day Thanks to a group of volunteers with great determination Saturn once again is seen on the waterways of the nation So here of this Shroppie fly I now conclude my story Pleased to know that once again she’s returned to former glory This song was originally a poem written by Bill Webb in 2004 when he became interested in the restoration of the Shroppie fly-boat 'Saturn' whilst living alongside the Llangollen Canal. Just two years later he was able to celebrate the completion of the restoration by modifying the last verse. He was then able to sing the song on board the newly restored boat at the Whitchurch Waterways Trust boat rally in 2006. My thanks to Bill for sending me this song. More details of the Shropshire Union Flyboat Project can be found on their website. In 2016 Bill Webb supplied me with a recording of his singing of the song. I am very pleased to be able to add it to this site. I recently came across the above video of 'The Shropshire Boatmen' (including Bill Webb) singing this song.
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