02.04.2015
13:48

London Canal Museum

Address:

12–13 New Wharf Road, King’s Cross, N1 9RT

Phone:

020-7713 0836

Website:

www.canalmuseum.org.uk
www.canalmuseum.mobi (mobiles)

Opening times:

Daily 10:00–16:30
Late opening to 19:30 on the first Thursday of each month

How to get there:

Tube: King’s Cross

Entry fee:

Admission charge

Additional information:

Fully accessible to disabled visitors. Shop

Located in a former ice warehouse on the Battlebridge Basin of the Regent’s Canal, the museum illustrates the story of the building and its unusual purpose as well as the London canal system in general. Built in 1860, the warehouse was adapted to receive and store natural ice imported from Norway by Carlo Gatti. By 1901, United Carlo Gatti Stevens Ltd was the largest ice merchant in London. On the ground floor, two ice wells dug in the 1860s can be seen, along with pairs of ice dogs (large tongs designed to assist in handling the frozen blocks), and some mid-19th-century zinc-lined ice boxes, forerunners of the fridge. Also here is a walk-in narrowboat, Coronis, the unpowered ‘butty’ of the Corona, enlivened by a recorded dramatisation of a bargeman’s homecoming to his wife at the end of the working day.

On the first floor, the building’s other use as a wagon depot is illustrated by a pair of reconstructed stables complete with model horses. Colourful information boards sketch the early history of canals in the mid-18th century, their decline after the development of road and rail, and their recent revival at the hands of enthusiasts and pleasure boaters. An illuminated push-button map of England charts the course of the country’s canals, revealing Brindley’s ‘Grand Cross’, which by the end of the 18th century had connected the four great river basins of Trent, Mersey, Severn and Thames. James Brindley (1716–77) built his first canal for the Duke of Bridgwater, to facilitate the transport of coal from the ducal mines to the factories of Manchester. The project was so successful that he was soon employed to build canals across the Midlands. He died whilst surveying a canal on Merseyside, of a diabetic attack.

Outside, in Battlebridge Basin, is the Bantam IV, a pusher tug built in 1949–50, designed to push a barge rigidly coupled to the tug, around 40% more effective than pulling it.

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Gravatar: MuseumMuseum
14.04.2015
13:08
Update from London Canal Museum

Located in a former ice warehouse on the Battlebridge Basin of The Regent’s Canal, the museum illustrates the story of the building and its unusual purpose as well as the London canal system in general. Built in the 1860s, the warehouse was originally designed to receive and store natural ice imported from Norway by Carlo Gatti. By 1901, United Carlo Gatti Stevens Ltd was the largest ice merchant in London. On the ground floor, two ice wells dug in the 1860s can be seen, along with pairs of ice dogs (large tongs designed to assist in handling the frozen blocks), and some mid-19th-century zinc-lined ice boxes, forerunners of the fridge. A cut-through model of the building as it was at the height of the trade in the 1890s illustrates the building’s past. Also here is a walk-in narrowboat, Coronis, the unpowered ‘butty’ of the Corona, enlivened by a recorded dramatisation of a boatman’s homecoming to his wife at the end of the working day.

On the first floor, the building’s later use as a cart depot is illustrated by a reconstructed stable complete with a full-sized model horses. Colourful information boards sketch the early history of canals in the mid-18th century, their decline after the development of road and rail, and their recent revival at the hands of enthusiasts and pleasure boaters.

A large and detailed historical map of London’s waterways shows the details of the canals that were built, as well as those plans that never came to fruition, and the canalside industries that kept them busy.

James Brindley (1716–77) built his first canal for the Duke of Bridgwater, to facilitate the transport of coal from the ducal mines to the factories of Manchester. The project was so successful that he was soon employed to build canals across the Midlands. He died whilst surveying a canal on Merseyside, of a diabetic attack.

Outside, in Battlebridge Basin, is the Bantam IV, a pusher tug built in 1949–50, designed to push a barge rigidly coupled to the tug, around 40% more effective than pulling it.

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MUSEUMS & GALLERIES OF LONDON

Details below are taken from our Blue Guide Museums and Galleries of London.  This is a 2005 title, here generally updated for website address and opening times, with useful comments from some of the museums themselves.  More recent information is given in Emily Barber's magisterial new Blue Guide London, "Exceptional update to a classic and useful guide to this amazing city" (Amazon reader review).

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