Canal Transport Services
CTS was started back in 1964 by Denis Cooper
on the old site of Yates Brothers boatyard on the Cannock
Extension Canal. Back in those days the average canal
cruiser was usually a converted ships lifeboat or an old
army pontoon with a cabin. Denis had other ideas, inspired
by the long distance boats he saw around his child hood
playground, “the twenty one” locks in Wolverhampton, he
started producing steel narrowboats in the working boat
style. Another influence was the BCN motor tugs, which
pulled trains of coal boats from the Cannock pits to
customers in the Black Country.
He lived on the yard with his wife Carole on
nb Caroline, an old coal boat he converted into a floating
home. It was on this boat that son Matthew Cooper was born
The need for more space saw the family
move onto “Minnow”, an ex Fellows, Morton and Clayton
“Josher” motor boat dating from 1935.
As well as building and repairing boats, he
also ran a trip boat “David” based at Brewood, and later the
hotel boats “Victoria and Albert”.
Denis Cooper is currently involved in the Lichfield and
Hatherton Canals restoration project and is work party
organiser on the Hatherton Branch.
Matthew Cooper is actively seeking to
reintroduce canal carrying to the northern BCN.
With over 40 years of continuous
production, Canal Transport Services may well be the longest
standing builder of traditional narrowboats in the UK.