London Canal Museum Press Releases

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Press

Press releases in reverse chronological order

This page offers the text of our press releases. You can also keep up with what we've been doing at the museum by looking at the news page on this website and by following the museum on Twitter and by liking us on Facebook.

Science Challenge Day at London Canal Museum 12th March 2016

Families are being challenged to ignite their ingenuity and gear up their grey cells at London Canal Museum in New Wharf Road N1 9RT.

The museum will be holding a Family Challenge Day on Saturday 12th March as part of the British Science Association’s British Science Week. The aim of the day is to give families the chance to explore, experiment and tackle science and technology through a series of challenges and puzzles, with rewards and prizes for the participating teams.

The challenges will help groups to explore the secret and not-so-secret science and engineering of the canals, from creating boats that float to constructing super spaghetti structures – with the chance to dress up as boaters’ children while finding out more. There will be a charge of £15 per group and the event can be booked by contacting Cathy Simpson (see below). Contact: Cathy Simpson 020 7713 0836 education@canalmuseum.org.uk.

Welsh Harpist Catrin Finch at the London Canal Museum

12th May 2015

World- renowned classical Harpist, arranger and composer Catrin Finch will perform on the 16th of May at a special evening for Museums at Night in support of the international charity Water Aid and the London Canal Museum.

This event is part of Museums at Night, an annual UK-wide festival with the aim to encourage people to visit museums "out of hours" over the weekend of May 13-16.

Catrin, starting her UK tour in May, is a valid supporter of Water Aid with the aim to help bring safe water, hygiene and toilets to some of the poorest countries. She has recently been to Ethiopia to meet the communities that have benefitted from Water Aid's life saving work. Catrin said "I became a WaterAid ambassador after learning that there are over 748 million people living without access to safe, clean water - a human tragedy that results in the needless deaths of over 1400 children every single day. As a mother I hope to help raise money and encourage people to support WaterAid's mission - to bring safe, clean water to everyone everywhere by 2030."

Doors will open at 6pm and Caterin will arrive on board the museum's vintage canal tug Bantam IV at 6.45pm. The concert will start at 7pm and will be followed but a Victorian Magic Lantern Show. No booking is needed after 9pm but to attend the concert booking is essential.

Adult £15, Concession £12.50 After 9pm £4 adult, £3 concession - will not include the concert

Museums at night - With Strings Attached

26th March 2015

A unique music and artistic collaboration will take place as part of Culture24 Museums at Night, the UK's biannual after-hours festival of arts, culture and heritage. Catrin Finch will give a charity recital at the London Canal Museum on Saturday 16th May with 75% of the profits going to WaterAid. She is one of the most highly acclaimed harpists working in the world today, and was official harpist to the Prince of Wales between 2000 and 2004. The music programme will comprise solo harp repertoire and extracts from Catrin's latest album Tides, which features artwork by artist Simon Tarrant. As a backdrop to the recital Simon Tarrant will exhibit a series of his latest paintings, including an original artwork that will be auctioned for the benefit of WaterAid.

Catrin, an ambassador for WaterAid couldn't have picked a better venue, she said "Knowing the history of the building, and how it was used to store ice in its life as a commercial ice house makes it particularly fitting for this concert. Today over 748 million people are living without access to safe, clean water - a human tragedy that results in the needless deaths of over 1400 children die every single day". Catrin supports WaterAid's mission - to bring safe, clean water to everyone everywhere by 2030.

Simon's paintings are part of an art exhibition Tides running from the 6th-31st May. Simon Tarrant is a London born artist, who has exhibited at many well-known galleries. Painting across a variety of medium, including canvas, glass and Perspex, Simon's work alludes to the school of abstract expressionism. This exhibition also supports WaterAid.

And more ways to experience the museum….

The Museum's hugely popular children's activities will run on Wednesdays in the Easter, spring and summer school holidays. A highlight is the boat trip that is included - together with the opportunity to take part in craft activities and more. Sessions begin at 10.30 or 13.30 and are ideal for ages 6 - 12 at only £4 per child.

For those interested in local history, the museum is home to an exhibition Hackney Heritage Then and Now - the Regent's Canal in Hackney by the Laburnum Boat Club from April 14th to May 3rd. This will include reminiscences and historic images of the canal as it winds its way through East London.

Take a Tunnel Boat Trip from the museum to view the canal from the water, and travel right underneath Islington through the 880 metre Islington Tunnel. Our ever-popular guided tunnel boat trips set off at 1100, 1200, 1400, 1500 and 1600 on Sundays , and (and 2nd & 4th Sundays of the month from May until 11th October). £8.40 adult, £6 child, and it is advisable to book online.

The museum looks forward to welcoming Mikron Theatre back to the museum in June in its 45th year of touring the canals, bringing the magic of live theatre to new audiences. Mikron's shows are lively, entertaining, musical, funny, and tackle serious historical themes. It is a close-up theatrical experience in the atmospheric surroundings of the London Canal Museum.

July brings a rare opportunity for fit adults and older teenagers to descend into the enormous ice wells beneath the floor of the museum on a guided tour, with an explanation of their history by a museum guide. Ice Sunday is on the 19th July.

Martin Sach, Chair of the Trust says "We are fortunate to be able to welcome visitors to such a diverse and eclectic series of events. We know that the museum provides a unique backdrop, as it is the only remaining commercial ice warehouse open to the public. The popularity of canals and canal boats is also timeless and enduring."

Note: For more information on Catrin Finch and Wateraid please visit www.wateraid.org, or contact Suzy Vickers on 020 7793 4995 / suzyvickers@wateraid.org

Waterways on the Western Front - The Untold Stories of WW1

21st August 2014

Canals were a vital lifeline on the Western Front during the First World War, saving millions from starvation, carrying tens of thousands of wounded to safety and even taking injured war horses in the holds of barges for hospital treatment.

This untold story of human endeavour on a vast scale on the waterways of France and Belgium will unfold in a fascinating new exhibition opening at the London Canal Museum near King's Cross on 10 October.

Using unseen archive film and photos, recordings, first hand testimonies and rare objects, the exhibition charts how the vital part played by canals in contributing to the war effort. The scale is hard to grasp. Many hundreds of barges took five million tons of food to the flour mills of Belgium and across the front line, transported thousands of tons of munitions each day to Ypres.

The exhibition also highlights the unexpected - how troops were billeted in empty lock chambers, how barges were used as hospitals for horses, and how canal water was served up to troops to drink on the front line.

Personal stories will also be told, including that of Henrick Geeraert, a tug boat owner who stopped the Germans taking the channel ports and Millicent Peterkin, one of two nursing sisters who worked tirelessly on a hospital barge carrying the wounded to safety.

The great grandfather of Celia Halsey, the Museum's Volunteering and Training Manager will also feature. He was responsible for some of the 100,000 Chinese labourers working in France during the war to release men to fight. Many were based at grain depots on the canal at Fontinettes outside Calais.

The exhibition also highlights the importance of the Royal Engineers who blew up bridges behind British retreats and built the bridges that took tanks into the final offensive.

"Waterways on the Western Front" runs from Saturday 10 October 2014 until 12 April 2015. Admission is £4 for adults, £3 concessions and £2 for children. Open Tuesdays to Sundays 10am to 4.30pm. Admission to the exhibition only is free on the first Thursday of the month between 4.30pm and 7pm.

Last Chance to See Underground Art Exhibition

October 2013

There's still time to see the magical artwork installed in a Victorian ice well, deep beneath the London Canal Museum near King's Cross Station before it closes on October 20th. This has been amazing visitors who have enjoyed the unusual experience of donning a hard hat and descending two ladders to be able to view. The ice well was chosen as a unique location for this sparkling subterranean art installation which was inspired by particle detectors, and is a collaboration between an artist and a physicist.

"We have been absolutely blown away by the reaction" says Ben Still, a particle physicist at Queen Mary, University of London. "Visitors have literally seen nothing like it before". Lyndall Phelps the artist has been delighted at how the massive scale of the installation works so well in the intimate space of the Ice Well. "We have explainers to help visitors down into the well, and tell them more about the ideas behind the art installation"

Commissioned by the Institute of Physics (IOP), the massive hand made installation - which took months to build - has been constructed from nearly a kilometer of brass rods, hundreds of acrylic discs, over 28,000 glass beads and 36,000 twinkling diamantes. The work is magically lit and reflects the visual aesthetic and function of particle detectors along with the complex and labour intensive process of gathering, deciphering and presenting particle research data.

Housed in a warehouse that once supplied Londoners with ice, the well was built in around 1863 for Carlo Gatti (1817-1878), who popularised ice cream for the masses. He built up a thriving commercial ice business at the museum's premises, conveniently located alongside the Regent's Canal - where the ice was delivered by barge, shipped from Norway's frozen mountain lakes.

Fit, able, and suitably shod visitors are able to descend the ladders to view Superposition on pre-booked guided tours, on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays until the 20 October 2013 only. The museum recommends advance booking which can be made via the Museum's website www.canalmuseum.org.uk/book.

Scientific Artwork to Sparkle in Subterranean ice Well at London Canal Museum

A cavernous Victorian ice well, deep beneath the London Canal Museum near King's Cross Station, has been chosen as a unique location for a sparkling subterranean 'particle detector' inspired art installation, which opens to the public in August.

Commissioned by the Institute of Physics (IOP), the massive hand made installation - which has taken months to build - has been constructed from nearly a mile of brass rods, hundreds of acrylic discs, over 28,000 glass beads and 36,000 twinkling diamantes.

Magically lit with floodlighting, the unique work - resulting from a collaboration between physicist Ben Still, a particle physicist at Queen Mary, University of London and installation artist Lyndall Phelps - reflects the visual aesthetic and function of particle detectors along with the complex and labour intensive process of gathering, deciphering and presenting particle research data.

Two rare, giant underground commercial ice wells at the London Canal Museum, have just undergone a six month conservation project (part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund), enabling one of the wells to be used for the physics-inspired art project. It replicates how particle detectors are sited under the ground, sea or ice to shield them from particles that constantly bombard Earth from space.

Housed in a warehouse that once supplied Londoners with ice, the well was built in around 1863 for Carlo Gatti (1817-1878), who popularised ice cream for the masses. He built up a thriving commercial ice business at the museum's premises, conveniently located alongside the Regent's Canal - where the ice was delivered by barge, shipped from Norway's frozen mountain lakes.

Martin Sach, Chair of the Canal Museum Trust said: "We are delighted to be selected by the IOP to host this exciting project, the like of which has never been placed in an ice well before! It also gives us the opportunity to bring the little-known story of the commercial ice trade to a new audience."

Fit, able, and suitably shod visitors will be able to descend a ladder into the cool depths of the ice wells to view Superposition on pre-booked guided tours, on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 24 August to 20 October 2013. The installation will also soon be viewed on a camera image via a screen inside the museum or the museum website via the Internet.

For further press information or images, please contact: Jane Lawrence or Gill Buttwell at Direct Public Relations Tel: 020 7407 6882 or email: directpr@btconnect.com

For more about the Superposition project and progress towards the finished artwork, visit the blog at www.physics.org/superposition

Lyndall Phelps

Lyndall Phelps is an installation artist whose work is often site/context specific and strongly process based, relying on research and collaboration with a range of individuals and organisations, whose interest reflect her own.

She is drawn to an eclectic mix of subjects including history, flora, fauna, the military, flight horticulture and architecture. Even though many of these are strongly embedded in the scientific, she aims to uncover the highly personal and emotive within their academic framework.

Recent solo exhibitions include Softkill at University of Hertfordshire Galleries; Touch at Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum; The Pigeon Archive at Milton Keynes Gallery and knit one purl one at One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London. She has created public art commissions for Arts Co, London; the Elliott Chappell Health Centre, Hull; King's Lynn, Norfolk; the Great Eastern Hotel, London; the University of Hertfordshire and the Wilberforce Heath Centre, Hull.

Lyndall has undertaken residences at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; the Natural History Museum, London and Tring; and Barrington Court, Somerset. Her work is represented in Arts Council England, East's Art Collection, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum's Medicate Collection and the University of Hertfordshire Art Collection.

Lyndall is represented by Gina Agnew, London. Find out more about Lyndall on www.lyndallphelps.com

Ben Still

Ben is a research associate at Queen Mary, University of London working on the international T2K experiment. He is interested in taking nature apart and stripping it down to its indivisible components, the fundamental particles, to figure out how our Universe today was created and what it is made from.

He was awarded the IOP Physics Communications Group's 2012 Physics Communicators Award and the IOP's High Energy Particle Physics Group's 2012 Science in Society Award. These outreach prizes were for a wide range for projects engaging a wide range of audience; from school students with LEGO Physics through to adults and art enthusiasts with Jiggling Atoms and Super-K Sonic Booooum!

As part of the T2K experiment on which he works, he has a management role in the experiment's computing and data distribution, while also using various statistical techniques to develop new analysis methods for squeezing more physics out of the experiment's data. Find out more about Ben at www.benstill.com

Calling for People with Memories of the Ice Trade

The little known story of London's commercial ice trade will be re-told at the London Canal Museum with help from a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund of almost £100,000.

As part of this major project, the museum is carrying out new research. An element of this is oral history interviews with people who have worked or are still working in the ice trade, and their relatives. The museum is looking for anyone with stories to tell of what is was like to work manufacturing or delivering ice.

The interviews will become part of the museum collection and be used to pinpoint future research; feature on the museum website, and in exhibitions, publications and educational work.

"If you have memories of the ice trade that you would like to share we would love you to get in touch" says Jane Wilson, Co-ordinator of Oral History for the London Canal Museum. She can be reached at jane@canalmuseum.org.uk. "In particular, do you know who either of the men are in this image?".

Once a warehouse supplying Londoners with ice - for medicine and food preservation as well as for ice cream - the museum will now be able to develop exciting new interpretation and visitor initiatives to graphically bring this aspect of its history to life.

Carlo Gatti (1817-1878) not only popularised ice cream for the masses, he also built a thriving commercial ice business at the museum's premises conveniently located alongside the Regent's Canal - where the ice was delivered by barge. The first of the two wells is believed to have been built to house Gatti's initial consignment of 400 tons of Norwegian ice, shipped over in 1857 - in the second half of the 1900s, Norway's frozen lakes supplied most of the capital's ice.

The ICE Project has included structural work to supporting pillars and the floor above two giant underground commercial ice wells - the only ones which can be seen by the public in London today - where the ice was once stored. New lighting and CCTV has also been installed.

Work on researching the history of the building and the ice trade is an important part of the project and the results are being shared and celebrated through a series of events as well as added to the museum's archive and interpretation. The oral history recordings form part of this work to increase public knowledge and appreciation.

August 5th 2013

Cool Off with "Celebrtate ICE! at London Canal Museum

Celebrating the completion of a year-long project of improvements, including work to stabilise two giant underground ice wells, the London Canal Museum's 'Celebrate Ice' on Saturday August 10, treats families to a super-cool range of chilly activities which bring the story of the flourishing Victorian trade - once centred at the museum - to life.

From 10am to 4pm, families can enjoy a host of ice-related activities in the museum exploring the fun, science art and the history of ice. The museum was once a warehouse supplying Londoners with ice for medicine and food preservation as well as for ice cream, which was popularised by Carlo Gatti. He built up London's largest ice importing business on the site located next to the Regent's Canal, where the ice was delivered by barge from Norway's frozen lakes.

Gatti also operated several music halls and visitors will hear some of the melodies of the era performed by the Bayswater Brass Quartet from the depths of the ice wells which once stored tons of ice - the only ones in London which can still be seen by the public today.

Children can take part in hands-on workshops to help discover the science behind an ice molecule - and help make a giant version. Victorian cook and author Agnes Marshall, who wrote a book on the making of ice cream, will demonstrate her techniques with a replica of her patent ice cream maker and help youngsters make - and taste - their own.

And they can even help make a work of art from ice, based on nature and the properties of ice - which will last just a day before it melts away.

This special day marks the completion of a project to bring the little known story of London's commercial ice trade to life with the introduction of new interpretation and visitor initiatives, thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund of almost £100,000.

The project also included structural work to supporting pillars and the floor above the two giant ice wells, which are now dramatically lit from above. Escorted tours on selected dates allow visitors to descend into the underground chambers

Normal admission prices apply to 'Celebrate Ice' on August 10: £4 for adults, £2 for children and £3 for concessions, family ticket £10. A series of ice related events continue with 'All About Ice' activity days for children - which include a boat trip on the canal on 13, 20 and 27 August - visit www.canalmuseum.org.uk for more details

About the Heritage Lottery Fund Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) sustains and transforms a wide range of heritage for present and future generations to take part in, learn from and enjoy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 33,000 projects, allocating £5 billion across the UK. Website: www.hlf.org.uk

London Canal Museum to Showcase Rare Towpath Tractor At The Waterways Festival 2013

(Note: This press release was issued by the Inland Waterways Association in consultation with the museum)

The London Canal Museum is delighted to be showcasing one of the UK's last surviving Towpath Tractors at The Waterways Festival 2013 in Watford, from 19th to 21st July. Built in 1960 by Wickhams of Ware, Hertfordshire, the Towpath Tractor was used to replace horses on the river Lee Navigation and on the Regent's and Grand Union Canals in London for approximately 20 years, prior to the decline of industrial canal traffic. Very few of these mechanical horses have survived so the IWA is extremely pleased to be able to offer the opportunity festival goers the chance to see a fully working Towpath Tractor close-up. Martin Sach from the London Canal Museum said: "We are delighted to be displaying this rare towpath tractor at the festival in its own marquee, to accommodate the tractor and a photographic journey of its working life. We are very pleased to have recently secured the future of this important piece of London's canal heritage for the benefit of generations to come, as we believe there are possibly only three still in existence." Staged at Cassiobury Park and alongside the banks of the Grand Union Canal, The Waterways Festival is an exciting and colourful extravaganza with an array of attractions to provide an educational and fun day out for all the family. At the festival, around 400 boats, many decorated, are expected to line up along the water's edge, each captained by cheerful waterway enthusiasts. Heritage craft will also feature strongly, with historic working boats on display. The event is also renowned for its high quality entertainment and there is always something to keep everyone amused. ENDS

For further information please contact: The Waterways Festival Press Office on 01283 565285/ 07789 004708 or karen@fcm-associates.co.uk / tracey@fcm-associates.co.uk

Notes to Editors: The Waterways Festival is being held in Watford from Friday 19th to Sunday 11st July 2013 and will be staged at Cassiobury Park alongside the Grand Union Canal. 21st June 2013

Scientific Artwork to Sparkle in Subterranean Ice Well at London Canal Museum

A cavernous Victorian ice well, deep beneath the London Canal Museum near King's Cross Station, has been chosen as a unique location for a sparkling subterranean 'particle detector' inspired art installation, which opens to the public in August.

Commissioned by the Institute of Physics (IOP), the massive hand made installation - which has taken months to build - has been constructed from nearly a mile of brass rods, hundreds of acrylic discs, over 28,000 glass beads and 36,000 twinkling diamantes.

Magically lit with floodlighting, the unique work - resulting from a collaboration between physicist Ben Still, a particle physicist at Queen Mary, University of London and installation artist Lyndall Phelps - reflects the visual aesthetic and function of particle detectors along with the complex and labour intensive process of gathering, deciphering and presenting particle research data.

Two rare, giant underground commercial ice wells at the London Canal Museum, have just undergone a six month conservation project (part funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund), enabling one of the wells to be used for the physics-inspired art project. It replicates how particle detectors are sited under the ground, sea or ice to shield them from particles that constantly bombard Earth from space.

Housed in a warehouse that once supplied Londoners with ice, the well was built in around 1863 for Carlo Gatti (1817-1878), who popularised ice cream for the masses. He built up a thriving commercial ice business at the museum's premises, conveniently located alongside the Regent's Canal - where the ice was delivered by barge, shipped from Norway's frozen mountain lakes.

Martin Sach, Chair of the Canal Museum Trust said: "We are delighted to be selected by the IOP to host this exciting project, the like of which has never been placed in an ice well before! It also gives us the opportunity to bring the little-known story of the commercial ice trade to a new audience." Fit, able, and suitably shod visitors will be able to descend a ladder into the cool depths of the ice wells to view Superposition on pre-booked guided tours, on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 24 August to 20 October 2013. The installation can also be viewed on a camera image via a screen inside the museum or the museum website via the internet.

To book a visit go to www.canalmuseum.org.uk/book

Eastern ice well under London Canal Museum For further press information or images, please contact: Jane Lawrence or Gill Buttwell at Direct Public Relations Tel: 020 7407 6882 or email: directpr@btconnect.com For further IOP information, contact IOP's Head of Media Joe Winters Tel: 020 7470 4815 Mob: 07946 321473 E-mail: joseph.winters@iop.org Click the link to download a high resolution image of the ice well where Superposition is to be installed.

Notes to Editors

  1. For more about the Superposition project and progress towards the finished artwork, visit the Superposition Blog at www.physics.org/superposition and see also www.canalmuseum.org.uk/superposition
  2. Lyndall Phelps Lyndall Phelps is an installation artist whose work is often site/context specific and strongly process based, relying on research and collaboration with a range of individuals and organisations, whose interest reflect her own. She is drawn to an eclectic mix of subjects including history, flora, fauna, the military, flight horticulture and architecture. Even though many of these are strongly embedded in the scientific, she aims to uncover the highly personal and emotive within their academic framework. Recent solo exhibitions include Softkill at University of Hertfordshire Galleries; Touch at Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum; The Pigeon Archive at Milton Keynes Gallery and knit one purl one at One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London. She has created public art commissions for Arts Co, London; the Elliott Chappell Health Centre, Hull; King's Lynn, Norfolk; the Great Eastern Hotel, London; the University of Hertfordshire and the Wilberforce Heath Centre, Hull. Lyndall has undertaken residences at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; the Natural History Museum, London and Tring; and Barrington Court, Somerset. Her work is represented in Arts Council England, East's Art Collection, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum's Medicate Collection and the University of Hertfordshire Art Collection. Lyndall is represented by Gina Agnew, London. Find out more about Lyndall on www.lyndallphelps.com
  3. Dr. Ben Still Ben is a research associate at Queen Mary, University of London working on the international T2K experiment. He is interested in taking nature apart and stripping it down to its indivisible components, the fundamental particles, to figure out how our Universe today was created and what it is made from. He was awarded the IOP Physics Communications Group's 2012 Physics Communicators Award and the IOP's High Energy Particle Physics Group's 2012 Science in Society Award. These outreach prizes were for a wide range for projects engaging a wide range of audience; from school students with LEGO Physics through to adults and art enthusiasts with Jiggling Atoms and Super-K Sonic Booooum! As part of the T2K experiment on which he works, he has a management role in the experiment's computing and data distribution, while also using various statistical techniques to develop new analysis methods for squeezing more physics out of the experiment's data. Find out more about Ben at www.benstille.com
  4. The London Canal Museum's main story is that of the waterways, but one unusual canal cargo - imported Norwegian ice - features strongly. The building is a uniquely preserved Victorian ice warehouse and two huge brick ice wells survive underground. The fascinating story of the ice trade that once kept London's food cool is the museum's second theme. Find out more about The London Canal Museum at www.canalmuseum.org.uk and at: Facebook, Google+, and Twitter
  5. The Institute of Physics Is a leading scientific society, a charitable organisation with a worldwide membership of around 50,000, working together to advance physics education, research and application.

Cool! Two ice inspired events at the London Canal Museum

Another great evening planned for Museums at Night 2013

Arts on Ice - Saturday 18 May 5.30pm-11.00pm

Focusing on the Victorian ice trade that operated within the museum building in the 19th-century, the London Canal Museum will become an 'Ice Palace to the Arts' as part of Museums at Night on 18 May, with a packed programme of entertainment including art exhibits, poetry readings, film installations and ice sculpture. A range of artists will be exhibiting works, including an installation exploring climate change, paintings capturing the speed and chill breeze of skaters, plus an ice sculpture created down inside the museum's ice well. Visitors can set off a virtual snow flurry as their movements are tracked by a sensor to create snowflakes that fall and repeatedly melt, freeze and re-melt before their eyes. At 8pm and 10pm poet Simon Barraclough will present excerpts from The Debris Field - a multi-sensory work created for the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic - capturing the icebergs, hypothermia and cold glistening stars as a mighty ship slips beneath the waves. Throughout the evening Alan Ward will perform a series of his poems inspired by the ice wells and the people who worked in them. Fit, able, and suitably shod visitors can descend the ladder into the cool depths of the ice wells from 5.30pm-7.30pm. Bookable on the night (over 10s only). The evening also offers visitors the chance to take a look around the museum and learn about the fascinating history of London's canals, the cargoes they carried, the people who lived and worked on the waterways, and the horses that pulled their boats. A licenced bar will be open from 7.30pm and delicious Italian ice cream will be on sale throughout the evening. Admission £5.

Climate change and the ice trade:

David Baldwin (London Metropolitan Archive) and Lester Hillman Monday 20 May 1330-1630

As part of the ICE project currently underway at The London Canal Museum (part funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund) the museum presents the first of three study afternoons digging deep into the history of all things icy. When Carlo Gatti began importing natural ice to London, harvested from Norwegian Glaciers, London was itself in the grip of a 'Little Ice Age'. David Baldwin Archivist at London Metropolitan Archives traces the experiences of the city winters from the 17th Century, its frost fairs and hardships, in images and personal accounts of life in 'Frozen London'. Lester Hillman explores the history of the changing climate and its impact on London's infrastructure, local influences and the ice trade. Between talks there will be an opportunity to descend Gatti's ice wells - giving a clearer understanding of the magnitude of the operation and a unique experience of our industrial past. ADMISSION: £10 per person, including refreshments. Book in advance at www.canalmuseum.org.uk. Part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

7th May 2013.

Major new project begins at London Canal Museum to tell the story of the capital's forgotten ice trade

18th January 2013

The little known story of London's commercial ice trade will be re-told at the London Canal Museum thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund of almost £100,000. Once a warehouse supplying Londoners with ice - for medicine and food preservation as well as for ice cream - the museum will now be able to develop exciting new interpretation and visitor initiatives to graphically bring this aspect of its history to life. The project will also include structural work to supporting pillars and the floor above two giant underground commercial ice wells - the only ones which can be seen by the public in London today - where the ice was once stored.

Carlo Gatti (1817-1878) not only popularised ice cream for the masses, he also built a thriving commercial ice business at the museum's premises conveniently located alongside the Regent's Canal - where the ice was delivered by barge. The first of the two wells is believed to have been built to house Gatti's initial consignment of 400 tons of Norwegian ice, shipped over in 1857 - in the second half of the 1900's, Norway's frozen lakes supplied most of the capital's ice.

Structural repairs will be completed in March with the full project coming to fruition by November. Highlights will include:

During the project it will be business as usual for the museum, which will continue to open to visitors from Tuesdays to Sundays each week while work is underway. Thanks to a buoyant year in 2012 - despite the effects of the recession and Olympic Games which saw many other visitor attractions suffer - the London Canal Museum has been able to supply the additional £40,000 required for the project to go ahead. Martin Sach, Chair of the Canal Museum Trust commented: "We are delighted to have received the Heritage Lottery Fund grant. It gives us the opportunity to bring the story of the commercial ice trade to life, both as an integral part of the history of this amazing building and of London's once-busy waterways as a vital transport system."

The London Canal Museum is open from 10am to 4.30pm, every day except Mondays (open on bank holiday Mondays). Admission is just £4 for adults, £2 for children and £3 for concessions, family ticket £10. The Museum is on New Wharf Road, close to King's Cross station, London. .