Founder Members

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NCCC Founder Members.

This display summarises what we know about the founder members. The numbers 1 – 10 are taken from the application forms, in the club archives annotated as ‘Founder Members’.

A membership card donated by Frank Kennerley from his father Bert, records a different 10 names including: G H Baxter, H Hopewell, T Maguire, W Molloy; but not Downs, Ridgeway, Shaw or Hazeldine! The date of foundation he gives as 12th August 1943.

H Downs writing in 1964 stated that there were 16 people at the meeting on end of June 1943, when the club was founded and only 14 are identified here. So exactly who were the founder members appears to be in some doubt.

Interestingly on the application forms the date of the meeting at which they were accepted was stated as 19th September 1943.

 Bert Kennerley's membership card

1. H W Downs

H W Downs


H W Downs was the first club chairman and commodore 1945–1948. He was one of the driving forces in the formation of the club.  He berthed ‘Otter’ in a boathouse opposite the present triangle. In later years he was an inveterate potterer and was often seen around the arm modifying boats. Around 1956 ‘Otter’ was sold but in 1959 he bought another motor cruiser ‘Lutra’ he died in 1964.

2. E F Ridgeway

E F Ridgeway


E F Ridgeway was a life long boater, having been introduced to the canals by his father in the 1920’s, based in what is now the club arm. His boat seen here was always in pristine condition, despite having no protection from the elements frequently navigated the whole ‘summit pound' and on one occasion reached Stone. At a number of rallies, she was used to accommodate dignitaries during their sail past, which due to her open aspect she was well suited.


3. L Higginbotham

L Higginbotham

Sea Faery

L Higginbotham was the club's first Hon Secretary.

4. H Kennerley

Bert Kennerley

Bert was an engine driver and frequently drove all the great steam passenger locomotives of the 40’s & 50’s. He also began boating before WW II and had Royal Oak from that period. In 1946 his son Frank had returned from the war in the Far East badly damaged so a 27 foot William Osbourn hull was bought from Stretford boat yard, brought back to the arm and put under cover in the arm near the present club house.  The open shell was built up, the last plank being put in place in July 1949, the boat was called Oak Day. Royal Oak was given to the scouts and subsequently burnt out. Oak Day also caught fire in the 1970’s. Bert lived in Wharf Cottage and was a stalwart member of the club right up to his death. He was commodore in 1948 – 50 and harbourmaster to the 1950 Macclesfield rally and the 1966 Marple rally. He served the club as wharf superintendent for many years.

Royal Oak

Oak Day

5. H Hazeldine - Boat Name: Raven Oak. We have no information on Mr Hazeldine - can anybody help?

6. J Lister

J Lister

Ailsa Craig (Jointly owned with W Axon)

Ailsa Craig is an historic craft. This photo is dated to June 1947, she was sold, by Lister/Axon, in 1947/8 to Frank Wyatt of Stone who was running an embryonic boat hire company. In the late summer of 1948 Tom Rolt, James Sutherland, Jane Howard and Robert Aickman undertook a 6 week voyage through northern canals, gathering condition information for the embryonic IWA.  Starting from Stone they traversed the Macclesfield, Lower Peak Forest , Huddersfield, Aire and Calder and back via the Leeds and Liverpool. The Huddersfield part was the last recorded through-passage including Stanedge tunnel, in which they became stuck, before restoration in 2000. The boat was reported to be in poor condition and sunk in one of the pounds of the Huddersfield after hitting an obstruction.

7. F B Plant

F B Plant

Miss Betty

He was the club’s first Vice chairman; Miss Betty is seen here with J Suggett senior, appearing in the front windows. Mr Plant sold Miss Betty to J P Suggett in March 1948 along with the boat house opposite the ‘triangle’. The boat house is still owned by his son John.

8. W H Axon

W H Axon

Ailsa Craig (Jointly owned with J Lister)

W (Bill) Axon was the designer of the club burgee and he was the last surviving founder member. He donated the original burgee, which he still owned, to the Club and it is now displayed in the clubhouse.

9. N O Shaw

N O Shaw



10. C H Martin

C H Martin


C H Martin was the club's first commodore but he did not settle to the job and resigned after about 4 months. He was involved with  the Scouts apparently a District Commissioner and they had a boat house that held ‘Beaver’ close to where the diesel tank is now located. It was outside of this boat house that the foundation of the club took place on 28th June 1943.

Noel Christopher - archivist.

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This page was last updated 31 January, 2008