London Canal Museum History
London Museum of canals is quite young. It was opened in 1992. Closely connected to its name, the museum is located on the bank of Regent’s Canal. It is the largest waterway of the capital, that spreads to the north of the Thames.
The main goal of the founders of the museum is to show the history of creating and development if canals, that tangled the whole territory of England in the 19th century. To carry goods and heating materials through canals was the cheapest and the shortest ways for manufactories of those times.
The profession of a boatmen became popular and prestigious, but not for long. When new railway stations started to develop, canals lost its popularity. To carry the burden on boat was too slow for businessmen of the former century and they preferred fast trains to solid and noble, but too sluggish boats. The frosty winter in 1963 was the last hit to the system of canals in Britain. The water was frozen and boats stood there during three months.
The system of canals lost its business meaning in 1963, but it wasn’t destroyed and was turned into the system of entertainment. Tourists and Londoners like to take a boat trip across one of London canals in summer. The water is not so clean here, but picturesque view of London and its suburbs can impress anyone.
The idea to create a museum, devoted to water system of the city, became popular, and many visitors from different countries pop into the huge building of the museum all the time. By the way, the museum occupies two-storey dwelling that was founded in 1857 and it is the sample of Victorian epoch architecture. Its owner used to be the Swiss entrepreneur Carlo Gatti. He started his business from a small stall, where waffles used to be sold. Later he created the huge empire of ice cream. It was made here from morning till night and Carlo needed a lot of ice for it. It was imported to him through canals and was kept just here, in giant glaciers. They are a part of exhibitions just now.
Permanent and temporary exhibitions are held here. The permanent exhibitions are the following:
1. British Waterways (tour)
2. The work of the canal (social history)
3. Canal decorations
3. Cargo operations
4. Ice trade of Carlo Gatti
5. Models of ships for navigation through the canal
6. Horses that worked on the canals and in the streets
7. Regent’s Canal (and the film about it)
8. A large-scale map of the historic canals of London
…and many other interesting exhibitions.
Many temporary exhibitions are arraigned here too. They change from time to time. The building of the museum is closed sometimes for locals and tourists and is rented for different kinds of great events.
The museum is popular not only by its expositions, but also by its educative programs. So, any child, starting from 5 years old can come here in summer and take part in one of these programs.
The administration of this museum is known by its innovations. Thus, it was the first museum in London, which offered free Wi Fi to its visitors. They were the first, who created audio tours for visitors and sold it for a very low price.
So, come here, if you plan to spend your vacation in London to see boats and barges of all types and sizes.
London Canal Museum Opening Hours
The museum is opened from Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 till 16:30. Sometimes the museum can be opened on Mondays – for example, if it is a holiday and most of people are free and can come here. Check this option, if you have an idea to come here on Monday.
The admission is not free there, but it is very cheap. The ticket for adults is £4. 00. If you have a child from 5 to 15, you can take him here too and it will cost you £2.00. The children under 5 can come here for free. The parents of children up to 15 should keep in mind, that they must be supervising, it is not allowed for a child or group of children without adults come here themselves.
If you have senior members in your family, who want to visit London Canal Museum, invite them for £3 per ticket. And get the ticket only for £10.00 for the whole family. It is possible to pay cash for tickets or use your bank card – they are accepted here too!
The address of the London Canal Museum is 12-13 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RT.
It is possible to come here on foot, if you are walking around London, enjoying its sites. Come here from the side of Regent’s Canal.
If you use underground to get here, be sure to get off at the following tube stations:
1. Euston Road
2. Pentonville Road
For the lovers of car tours, they can leave the vehicle at one of the car parks nearby and walk here by themselves – it will take about 5-10 minutes.
London Canal Museum Shops and Restaurants
The visit to the museum will be an interesting experience to anyone, and although it is very small, still you can spend two or three hours here, just watching the videos and admiring the items from its collections. Of course, the idea to have a cup of coffee or to eat a big dinner can occur in your mind after it.
In the building of the museum there are machines that cell coffee, tea, hot chocolate or soup. For lovers of sweet things, ice cream can be bought here.
There’s no café or restaurant in the building of the museum, but there are many restaurants, cafes and takeaways in 3 minutes walk from it. Some of cafes are closed at weekends, but most of them are available and can be visited all the time. If you need any recommendations as for restaurants and cafes, the personnel of the museum are ready to help you!
The gist shop is located in the building of the museum, where it is possible to get different souvenirs for children and adults. You can get here models of barges and boats, small toys, different post cards and pictures. If you are the lover of London history or you are the guest from another country, it will be interesting for you to buy the DVD with the film about London canal history.
The prices are low here, so visiting this shop is affordable even for people, who plan their budget thoroughly.
London Canal Museum is young and quite small, nevertheless, it is one of the most interesting institution s in London, so its visiting is strongly recommended to adults, children and people of senior age!