HRH The Princess Royal celebrates 25 years of the London Canal Museum

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The London Canal Museum is celebrating its opening 25 years ago by launching its largest ever development programme. Major new exhibitions on 'Boats and Cargoes' and 'London’s Living Waterways' have been opened today by HRH Princess Anne, which also includes a major facilities upgrade.

HRH The Princess Royal talking to Charlie Forman of the London Canal Museum

HRH The Princess Royal at the London Canal Museum on 10th March 2017

"It was lovely to see the Princess engaging with our volunteers on her visit today" Martin Sach Chairman

The London Canal Museum is celebrating its opening 25 years ago by launching its largest ever development programme. Major new exhibitions on 'Boats and Cargoes' and 'London’s Living Waterways' have been opened today by HRH Princess Anne, which also includes a major facilities upgrade.

The museum was first opened on the 9th March 1992 by HRH The Princess Royal as Patron of the museum. Martin Sach, Chair of the Canal Museum Trust said “We are delighted that HRH Princess Anne has continued her interest and support of the museum with her eighth visit over a quarter of a century and seen how the museum has developed strongly since its early days. We are also grateful to the original Trustees who purchased our Victorian ice warehouse building which has given us such a wonderful place to use as a museum, and opportunity to tell the story of the Ice Trade.”

The Boats and Cargoes exhibition is the result of painstaking research into the craft and cargoes that operated on London’s canals and the River Thames from earliest times. “We think visitors will be surprised to see the huge range of boats that have plied their trade” says Celia Halsey, Project Manager. “The museum commissioned seven new model boats including the famous steam tug that operated through the Islington Tunnel and was called ‘the ugliest boat on England’s canals’”. The exhibition also shows visitors the cargoes that were carried. “Visitors may expect coal and grain to have been carried, but perhaps don’t know about esparto grass, arsenic and the aptly named ‘nightsoil’”, says Celia.

The museum has also been investing in its facilities to ensure that visitors – both to the museum and to its thriving use for functions are well catered for. The toilets have been fully refurbished and the number increased, and have a unique canal themed artwork on the wall. Trish Parrott, a well-known canal artist and one of the museum’s longstanding volunteers has produced an original ‘roses and castles’ painting that has been scanned and printed onto tiles. The museum has also installed air conditioning throughout.

Finally, there are new additions to the London’s Living Waterways exhibition where the museum’s team of researchers explore the human interest stories of the waterways which still shape and influence the capital today.
The new exhibition and facilities opened on Friday March 10th.

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Martin Sach

Wendy Davidson
@canalmuseum
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