London Canal Museum

A traditional warehouse building with pitched roof against a blue sky with modern buildings each side.
London Canal Museum seen from the water

The London Canal Museum is a regional museum, one of only two transport museums in London, telling the story of London’s canals, their boats, cargoes, and horses, and how canals were engineered.

Opened in 1992, the museum is housed in a former ice warehouse built by Carlo Gatti, the famous ice cream maker and ice importer, in 1862-1863. There are two large underground ice wells beneath the floor and visitors can peer down into one of these wells and marvel at the 19th Century system for supplying ice to keep food chilled, and for making ice cream.

Colourful cabin of narrowboat with tiller raised above
The narrowboat Coronis at the London Canal Museum

The canal stories include the social history of the people who worked on board boats and lived in a tiny space that was their only home. You can squeeze into a cabin yourself and be amazed at these living conditions, which lasted for 150 years until the 1950s. There are the arts and crafts of the canals,  and an exhibition devoted to the horses that pulled canal boats and ice carts. Archive film and audio recordings of the memories of people who recall the working days of canals add to the picture.

The museum provides regular boat trips on the canal in season as well as occasional performances and special events. There are temporary exhibitions that change every few months, and there are activities for children and families available. Your age does not matter, the museum is suitable for everyone.

The museum is open from 1000 – 1630 Tuesdays to Sundays, and also on bank holiday Mondays. Closed other Mondays.  Last entry 30 minutes before closing.

12-13 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RT. Tel: 020 7713 0836

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