TYLER-WILSON BOATBUILDERS Tyler-Wilson is the very definition of a family firm. Jonathan Wilson (right) learned his trade from his uncle, the well respected boat builder Mike Heywood. Jonathan set up on his own in 1986, and took on Tim (left) as an apprentice. He later joined the family, by marrying Jonathan’s sister. When Mike Heywood died in 2002, the firm inherited many of his staff; today the team includes several Heywood and Wilsons, not least Jonathan’s son, Louis.
Over the years, the firm has had a number of bases, such as Stenson and Hixon and it now operates from two sites, in Sheffield and Stoke. Between them, the two teams build around 50 mostly narrowboat shells each year, but recent builds have included widebeams, Dutch barges and a houseboat.
A visit to the yard is fascinating. Firstly, you really appreciate the variety of boats in build and, secondly, you also get to see the bits of shells which are normally out of sight, such as the framing inside the hull or the cabin sides, and how the stem post is constructed.