Friends of The Canal Museum


Andrea Leadsom, MP

Lord Boswell of Aynho


Michael Butler


Lorna York 


Paul Lynam


Registered Charity No:


If you would like to join the Friends please see our Membership page, or if you would like to contact us please write to:

The Friends of The Canal Museum, c/o The Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne, Towcester NN12 7SE

or, e-mail us here 



Our popular annual events which raise money for a number of worthwhile charities and local good causes as well as the Friends are organised by a small dedicated group of volunteers who have given their time freely over the last ten years and we are immensely grateful for their hard work and continuing support.


This year, after many years of service, some of our volunteers have decided to retire and we are seeking new team members to make sure Village at War and other events continue into the future.


Informal meetings take place once a month (in the pub), normally for up to six months before each event,  and it is up to team members how much or little they do, or how much they get involved, and it's fun.


If you'd like to come along and find out what's involved, or just want to have a chat - please

e-mail our Chairman who will be only too happy to help.


Curatorial volunteers praised by Arts Council

The Canal Museum has recently been awarded Accredited Museum Status by Arts Council England. The same set of standards as applied to the Natural History and the British Museum. The accreditation given to 1,800 museums in the UK indicates that a museum has achieved a nationally approved standard in management, collections care and delivery of information and visitor services.


Particularly pleasing was a message received from the Arts Council assessor after she visited all three Museums, saying "I want to thank all the volunteers I have met along the way, particularly the good-humoured Friends’ Group volunteers at the Canal Museum. I only realised after I left how much effort they had put in prior to my visit and so I want to acknowledge and appreciate it."


As part of the award the museum was judged on a number of different categories from how the objects entrusted in the museum’s care are displayed and stored to the health and safety of staff, volunteers and visiting public.


Vicky Martin, waterways manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “Staff and volunteers from the Canal & River Trust worked tirelessly throughout the year towards gaining this accreditation so we are delighted that all that hard work has paid off and the Canal Museum has been recognised with this fantastic award.

Council shows support for Museum expansion

South Northamptonshire Council has published it's Tourism Review 2017 and has identified Stoke Bruerne as a key site in South Northamptonshire.


The report states that SNC can help to support the implementation of CRT's  Stoke Bruerne Destination Management Plan in terms of granting planning permission for additional car parking, seasonal camping/glamping, and planning and listed building consent for the proposed extension of The Canal Museum. The Council  also says it can assist in helping to secure permission for white on brown tourism signs, and in the medium term, help with match funding for the prospective HLF bid to carry out improvements to the Museum.


SNC has also given a commitment to help support the development of events and festivals at Stoke Bruerne and with marketing and promotion.


SNC has given these initiatives it's highest priority rating.

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Crafts on the Canal - Sunday 8th July

The sun shone and we had a wonderful day with a lot of interest and new skills learnt. A big thank you to all our crafters who helped make the event such a huge success.


We want to make this an annual event, so if you'd like to be part of it next year, please contact our organiser Laura by email to membership@friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk

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Village at War Weekend

8th-9th September 2018

Our annual 40s weekend continues to grow in size year on year supported by an army of re-enactors who flock in to enjoy Stoke Bruerne's unique and historic waterway setting.


This year's event, the eleventh Village at War, was no exception. Despite mixed weather, thousands of visitors came to enjoy two days of vintage music, dance, memorabilia displays, wartime dioramas, fashion parades, a spitfire flypast or just to soak up the ambiance afforded by costumed living history enthusiasts going about their business alongside the canal and throughout the village.


As usual, the occasion was also an opportunity for a gathering of historic boats and this year, in memory of the late Trevor Maggs who attended for many years, there was an award up for grabs - a mounted cup & saucer, for the best turned out historic working boat. Most appropriately - it was won by NB Corona, Trevor's old boat! It is intended the award will be an annual feature, to be passed on to successive winners each year.


All in all, the weekend went with a proverbial bang and a respectable surplus is expected.



Support from Braunston Marina

Sculptor attends Historic Boat Show

Sculptor attended the annual two day historic boat rally at Braunston over the weekend of 23rd-24th June thanks to her volunteer crew. A great time was had by all as well as it being a super opportunity to promote the Canal Museum and the Trust.


Once again, Tim Coghlan kindly donated £1,000 to the Friends of The Canal Museum. Tim has been incredibly generous over the years so a big thank you to him and to Braunston Marina. This money is ring fenced to be spent on the maintenance of Sculptor.

Sculptor goes to Crick


NWM/CRT's historic narrowboat Sculptor - in Nursers Arm at Braunston Marina - alongside other GUCCCo Ltd narrowboats, ready for the weekends 16th Annual Historic Boat Rally. A great days boating by the volunteers - thanks to Kathryn Dodington, John Wetherell and Steve Wright


photo: Robert Westlake


A very soggy trip to the Crick Boat Show for Sculptor's volunteer  crew, but a worthwhile opportunity to be able to promote what we do at Stoke Bruerne and to champion the Canal Museum and Trust.


Crick Boat Show was held on Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th May.


Above is Sculptor setting off from Stoke Bruerne for the journey to Crick.


photo: Robert Westlake

Bonnet & Belt Theatre enthralls audiences


Sponsored by the Friends, Bonnet & Belt Theatre's two performances of The Canals of England on Sunday 20th May was a wow with Stoke Bruerne audiences.


Performed by Phil Underwood and Nancy Potts, The Canals of Old England proved to be a celebration of our canal heritage in an exciting mix of poetry and song.

photo: Lynda Payton


The crew had the pleasure of the company of Sue and David Daines on Cyprus for the return trip together with our curatorial person Steve Bagley – it was Steve’s first time through BlisworthTunnel which he thoroughly enjoyed.

L to R - Rob Westlake, Matthew Harris (CRT), David Suchet, Sheila Ferris (David’s wife) and Tim Coghlan.

Latest Museum Matters

Editor Kathryn Dodington has released the latest newsletter from the Museum Community at Stoke Bruerne jam packed with all the latest news and details of up coming events. Read it here or go to our Newsletter page to download a PDF version.


See more photos, videos and the full story on our Village at War page.

Date announced for 2019 Village at War Weekend

We are delighted to report a new Village at War Team is in place comprising a combination of old hands and a number of new faces and the dates for the 2019 Village at War weekend has been announced as 7th & 8th September.


That's not to say all the vacancies are filled - we still have a few roles seeking willing volunteers.


If you would like the opportunity to join the team and help shape this years event, then email Kathryn who will be heading up this years Village at War. She will be delighted to hear from you.


For a boat entry form please click here.