Originally built in 1906, the Lockerbie was purchased by my great grandfather as a used boat in May 1929 through the original builders, George Askew Boat Builder of Hamilton Ontario. The boat was named after my great-great grandfather’s hometown of Lockerbie, Scotland.
The Lockerbie’s previous owner was a former Hamilton area businessman by the name of L.E. Farrow. Not much is known about the Farrows, or their use of the boat. Before the Farrows, it’s possible she was used as a harbour patrol boat, for she was very similar to the many standard harbour patrol vessels Askew built, and which saw service in Hamilton and Toronto harbours.
George Asker Boat Builders was established by George before the turn of the century and was taken over latterly by his son Henry Askew. “Askew’s”, as they then came to be known, was a prominent institution in Hamilton Harbour until about 1953, when Askew’s waterfront facility burned. Henry Askew’s penciled signature was discovered on the Lockerbie’s port side sheer clamp during recent restoration work. The builder’s plate provides a clue in establishing an estimate of build date. The Lockerbie’s builder’s plate is a brass oval on which the words “Geo. Askew Boat Builder Hamilton Ont.” are embossed, likely before Henry Askew assumed full control of the company. More recent examples are a brass shield shape on which the builder is embossed simply as “Askew’s Boatworks Hamilton Ont.”, i.e. after Henry Askew took over.
It is possible the Lockerbie was modified/ updated by Askew for sale in 1929 from its original configuration, but this is not certain. The hull looks very similar to those typically seen in the Thousand Island area. It is noteworthy that the proportion of the hull length in front of the windshield is significantly different from that of the typical Muskoka long deck launch of the 1920s.
The Lockerbie appears to have originally had a metal cutwater cladding or cover, as evidenced in some early photographs.
The Lockerbie was originally fitted with smaller, forward-folding vertical wood-framed windscreens, but these were removed when in 1945 the hardtop was added by local Port Severn boatbuilder Fred King (brother to Herb King, former owner of the “Traveller”).
The front seats were originally a full side-to-side bench with gas tank in the middle. The season following installation of the hardtop saw the bench split into two separate seats for better access, and the gas tank moved to the starboard side.
During the 1940s, there was a large spotlight located at the bow. This was deleted in the 1950s and replaced by a smaller one on the new hardtop. The spotlight on the hardtop was subsequently removed altogether in the 1980s but replaced this year (2021). Also, the Lockerbie used to have a horn mounted on the deck forward, but this was replaced in the 1950s with a Perko (Federal VG Type) siren, which adorns the deck to this day.
The make of the Lockerbie’s very first engine is unknown, but the engine that came with the boat when purchased in 1929 was a 4-cylinder Star Continental. The “new” Buchanan Junior 4 was installed in winter of 1945-1946. The dashboard was probably modified, and the steering wheel replaced at this point.
A new transom was fitted in 1959, and the boat’s overall length shortened about 5 inches in the process. During major repair work in the early 1980s, the hull was again shortened about 5 inches at the stern, and another new transom was installed. During major restoration work executed 2004-2005, the hull was re-lengthened to approximately 1945 dimensions with guidance from Steve Killing.
Over the years, the Lockerbie has carried groceries, furniture, appliances, propane, building materials, family pets and household refuse. She has been a ski boat, a tow boat and even a chase boat, when my grandmother ran down and chased a boater deliberately tormenting a loon! But most of all, the Lockerbie safely and faithfully carried generations of my family to and from the island on the Pool for more than 90 years and continues to do so today.
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