What's on at the London Canal Museum

Walks, talks, boat trips, and more

What's On

There is plenty going on at London Canal Museum. We have regular monthly illustrated talks in the evening, aimed at adults with an interest in industrial heritage and canals. We have a programme of towpath walks in spring summer and autumn, and summer boat trips through the long Islington Tunnel on certain dates. Each summer we welcome the Mikron Theatre Company for theatrical performances and we have occasional special days of activities for families or adults. We also occasionally offer roses and castles painting courses, and other events.

Temporary Exhibitions

Illustrated Talks

Illustrated talks are held at 7.30 pm, on the first Thursday of each month except August. Most speakers illustrate their presentations with photographs. The museum is open 1000 to 1930 on the first Thursday of each month. Admission to talks and museum is charged at the usual museum admission charges. The programme is given below. In the event of any last minute changes to lectures or other events the site will be updated if sufficient notice is available.

Events coming soon

Narrowboat departing, brick-buildt traditional warehouse to rear

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Full List of Events

Date Event
Until 12th April 2015
  • horses, gathered beside moored barge, being led aboard

    Wounded Horses

    Woulded horses are led aboard a canal barge used as a veterinary hospital

  • Nurses in uniform sit on top of a barge fishing in the canal

    Nurses Fishing

    During a break from tending the wounded, nurses on the British hospital barge fish in the canal

  • A group of men and women in heavy outdoor clothing with a bicycle walk along the towpath

    Towpath Refugees

    Belgian refugees flee along a canal towpath

Images (c) Imperial War Museum

Waterways on the Western Front

is a journey into a First Word War you never knew about.
  • Find out how canals in Belgium saved millions from starving and in France brought tens of thousands of wounded to safety.
  • Salute the tug boat owner who stopped the Germans taking the channel ports.
  • Rediscover the secret munitions port of Richborough, built is just a few months on the Kent coast
  • And remember those who lost their lives crossing the canals in the war’s decisive battles.
Unseen film and photos, first hand testimonies and rare objects allow you to relive the extraordinary events and sheer scale of what happened along the Waterways on the Western Front.

Exhibition Web Page
Exhibition Facebook Event Page

January 2015

1st January Illustrated talk: Waterways of Southern France by Dr. Roger Squires. The Canal Du Midi , opened in 1681, was a masterpiece of waterways engineering, with an amazing water catchment process, flights of locks and even a canal tunnel. Other river navigations in south western France, although built somewhat later, equally have their highlights. This presentation also aims to cover these.
18th January Roses and Castles painting workshop. No experience is needed. Learn to paint in the traditional way with Trish Parrot, a professional signwriter who learned the craft in Braunston boatyard in the early 1970's, and you will learn the true Northamptonshire style. Book Online. £30 per person - limited capacity.

February 2015

5th February Illustrated talk: The North Walsham and Dilham Canal 1826-2026 by Ivan Cane. This unique Broadland canal once served the "wool town" of North Walsham, with grain and flour going to the coast, as well as the "cabbage wherry" that took vegetables from Antingham to Yarmouth. Railway competition brought about its demise by the mid 1880s. It subsequently was sold three times, with the final purchaser, the mill owner at Ebridge, forming the North Walsham Canal Company. The upper section from Swafield Bridge to Antingham closed in 1927, but the public right of navigation still exists below Swafield Bridge even though the locks are derelict. A local restoration society is seeking to bring the canal back to life. Ivan will recount the canal's history and outline the society's plans.

March 2015

5th March Illustrated talk; The Buckingham Canal - Past Present and Future by Terry Cavender. The Buckingham Canal Society has been working hard to raise the profile of its restoration project. They have made considerable progress on the ground. The society's Trustee and Programme Manager will detail their work.

April 2015

2nd April Illustrated talk: The River Beat. by Robert Jefferies. Bob will tell us about the origins and history of England's first police force. This organisation was the precursor to the modern Metropolitan Police force. The River Division today  is responsible for policing the tidal Thames and operates from its HQ on the river Thames at Wapping, where a small museum has been created by volunteers. Bob is the Curator.

May 2015

7th May Illustrated talk: The PLA in the 21st century- opportunities and challenges by James Trimmer. The new London gateway port, capable of dealing with the new super container ships, will bring new traffic to the port. Likewise many construction projects in London offer new traffic opportunities.

June 2015

4th June Illustrated Talk: Fenland Waterways by Alan Faulkner. The remarkable network of waterways that drain into the Wash are very much under-rated and little is published on them. Alan Faulkner, the long serving Secretary of the East Anglian Waterways Association, will aim to fill that knowledge gap.
27th June Theatre performance by the Mikron Theatre Company
28th June Theatre performance by the Mikron Theatre Company

July 2015

2nd July Illustrated talk: Boating Families in the 1940s and 1950s by Roger Wickson. Roger met many of these families and his fully illustrated talk recounts his knowledge of their way of life.

August 2015

6th August Leaving at 1930, a guided towpath walk from the museum to Camden Town along the Regent's Canal towpath.

September 2015

3rd September Illustrated talk: Conserving our Waterway Heritage. by Nigel Crowe. Nigel is the Conservation Adviser to the Canal and River Trust. He undertook a comprehensive survey of the heritage of the waterways when first appointed, and now advises the CRT on its protection .

October 2015

1st October Illustrated talk The Canal and River Trust by John Dodwell. Founding trustee and long standing waterways enthusiast John Dodwell will detail the Trust's progress to date. He will explain the issues they face and the constraints under which they work.

November 2015

5th November Illustrated talk: The work of the Thames Ironworks Heritage Trust by Gavin Redknap. Gavin was one of the founders of the trust that is working to save and restore some of the few surviving craft built at the Thames Ironworks Yard at the mouth of Bow Creek. The Trust plans to use the fleet of restored one-hundred-year-old lifeboats for community projects on the Lower Lee.

December 2015

3rd December 2015 Illustrated talk: The River Thames Society and the River Thames by Peter Finch. Peter, who is Chairman of the River Thames Society, will explain the role and function of the society and then go on to talk about London's river and some of the issues it faces.

January 2016

7th January Illustrated talk: Leonardo's Waterways by Dr. Roger Squires. The history and development of the early waterway network of Milan and Pavia, coupled with a review of the waterways today and plans for their future.

February 2016

4th February Illustrated talk: Industry in the Lee Valley by Jim Lewis. How the Lee Navigation and the River Lea facilitated the development and growth of the industries of the Lea Valley.

March 2016

3rd March Illustrated talk: The Glamorganshire Canal by Stephen Rowson. This waterway was built by Thomas Dadford and son to link the iron works of Merthyr Tydfil to the port of Cardiff. It followed the valley of the River Taff. Tramroads provided important feeders to the canal which rapidly gained traffic and trade. However, with the arrival of the Taff Valley railway in 1859 competition led to a decline. Mining subsidence in the upper reaches closed that section in 1898, and the lower line was finally abandoned in 1943.

April 2016

4th April Illustrated talk: The Stratford Canal. by Clive Henderson. The history and development of the Stratford Canal and the battles that were fought to save it from dereliction. The talk will also illustrate its rebirth as a major cruising route.

May 2016

5th May Illustrated talk: The Lancaster Canal. by Robert Philpotts A resume of the way in which the early canal builders brought the Lancaster Canal to life. Robert looks back on his early studies of the canal which were the focus of his first book.

June 2016

2nd June Illustrated talk: Cutting Edge. by Lester Hillman. Two centuries ago the Regent's Canal Company was rocked by a major fraud as construction was under way. Lester Hillman explores the financial drama of 1815 and beyond, uncovering thieving, scandals and colourful hoaxes on the way.

July 2016

7th July Illustrated talk: Details to be announced.

August 2016


September 2016

1st September Illustrated talk: Details to be announced.

October 2016

6th October Illustrated talk: Details to be announced.

November 2016

3rd November Illustrated talk: Details to be announced.

December 2016

1st December Illustrated talk: Details to be announced.

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Temporary Exhibitions

Until 12th April 2015 Waterways on the Western Front. Canals played a vital role in support of the British Army during the First World War in Belgium. British-made barges were used for hospitals, water purification, and transport. This exhibition from the museum's own exhibition team tells an untold story of the much-related conflict.