The Saturn Project
The Shropshire Union Fly-boat Restoration Society Ltd - a voluntary charitable group – was set up to preserve one of the two remaining Shropshire Union Canal fly-boats in the World; rare examples of some of the finest boats to grace Britain’s waterways. Symbol was acquired but became too decayed to restore – although parts of her are preserved. Saturn – the last one – became available and was purchased by British Waterways Wales & Border Counties Waterways. A partnership – The Saturn Project – was set up with the society to restore and operate the boat.
Over four years and at a cost of £87,000, Saturn was professionally restored by Malkins Bank Canal Services, with assistance from society members. This was enabled by a fund-raising campaign with major contributions by British Waterways Wales & Border Counties Waterways, Heritage Lottery Fund, Waste Recycling Environmental (WREN), the Shropshire Union Canal Society, The Waterways Trust and The Manifold Trust; plus other donations of money and materials from society members, other individuals and companies. To see more about Saturn's Restoration click here.
Relaunched in 2005 – and celebrating her 100th birthday in 2006 - Saturn is now the superb example of a fully operational fly-boat; travelling the waterways and fulfilling the partnership’s aims to educate future generations about the history of narrowboats, horse-boating and our waterway network. The combination of boat, crew and horse – and all the techniques and skills evolved over 250 years – demonstrates a unique unit of transport that served Britain from the 18th into the 20th Century. This boat and these traditional skills must be preserved for the future.