Temporary Exhibitions

Changing Displays

What's On

We offer a changing programme of temporary exhibitions. There are usually two or three exhibitions per year on varied subjects relating to canals and the ice trade. In addition we occasionally host art installations or other short-term displays.


The Fabulous Photos of Mr Beal

Girl in bonnet, horse with feeding bowl and man in working clothing, in front of stableTaken in about 1906, this selection of 17 fine photographs was taken by the photograper and lecturer W. N. Beal, who gave "Lantern Lectures" about the river Thames and the life and people of The Regent's Canal. This exhibition concentrates on his photographs of people. Mr. Beal gave two lectures, one about the River Thames, and one called Through London on a Monkey Boat and each of them included over eighty lantern slides. At the time this would still have been relatively high-tech presentation. Unfortunately tjose of the river are believed lost as are some of those of the canal. The museum is fortunate to have 50 of the canal pictures in its collection as a result of a donation in 2012. The images have not, so far as we know, been seen in public since Mr. Beal's day. Little or nothing is known about Mr. Beal but his name crops up in archives of organisations that had guest speakers come to present to them. His photographs are a remarkable portrait of The Regent's Canal in the 1900s. Unusually for the period, ordinary people play a prominent role and we see pictures, some of which are clearly posed, of people going about their work and play. Children are seen swimming, boatwomen are seen wearing their traditional bonnets, canal girls are seen with their horses, and the boatmen and canal workers are seen in their working clothes.

The exhibition focuses onselected images of people - because this is where Beal's photographs excelled. There are also some pine pictures of canal infratructure and boats, to be seen another day.

From 10th May until 7th August 2016