The canal in Liverpool and Bootle was heavily industrialised, and factories relied on the canal for transport from one site to another. For example, Tillotsons, a printer, would transport printed packets to the BAT cigarette factory, and to Tate & Lyle’s sugar refinery.

During the 20th century, the motive power used to move barges changed from horses to petrol and diesel engines. A 1950s diesel engine would have an output of 10-30 Horse Power, and was therefore capable of moving a lot more than a single horse could. So a boat with an engine would often tow several dumb barges and leave them at their destination. They would then be unloaded and moved to a nearby point for refilling.  

This required some form of tractor or boat such as seen here     >>>>>>>

All Pictures courtesy of:

The Waterways Archive