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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New patron - Andrea Leadsom MP


Andrea Leadsom, MP opens one of our earlier Village at War Weekends

We are delighted to announce that after attending our Village at War Weekend in September, The Rt Hon. Andrea Leadsom MP, Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire, has accepted our offer to become a patron of The Friends.


Ms Leadsom said: "I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for inviting me to the Village at War event this year. I thoroughly enjoyed the visit and am proud to support such a fantastic weekend which has gone from strength to strength each year."

Latest edition of Museum Matters

Editor Kathryn Dodington has published the latest (January 2018 edition) of the newsletter of the Friends of The Canal Museum packed with all the . news and stories from the museum community in Stoke Bruerne.


A PDF copy is available for download on the Newsletter page for those who prefer to print off a copy or read it off-line.

Crafts on the Canal - Sunday 8th July

We will be welcoming back some familiar faces to the Canal Museum who will be demonstrating their craft skills and selling their wares. Expect to see Gerald, the wood turner and Brian demonstrating traditional painting of canal ware. Have a go at bookbinding with Laura or try your hand at a variety of mainly textile based crafts such as weaving, lace making, quilting, rag rug making, knitting, embroidery and crochet.


It's very much a 'hands on' affair! Come along and have a go.


Towcester Country Market will be selling scrumptious cakes, jams and other handmade crafts. It all happens on the Green outside the Museum alongside the Canal Museum.


While you are there, why not pop into the Museum at the same time and take a boat trip to the tunnel and back. There is also a Glassmaking Studio and Blacksmith's Forge, both open to the public.


If you are a crafter and would like to be involved, please email membership@friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk for more details.


Ladies from Gloucester Waterways Museum in 'traditional' canal costume at the 2015 Family Festival

Have you seen the new Ropemaking Exhibit?

Did you know there was once a ropewalk at Stoke Bruerne? It was located behind the Museum and was in operation until the 1930s.


There is now a brand new exhibit which tells the story of the ropewalk,  Thomas Amos and his family who operated it, and who ran a shop selling rope and associated products for boatmen  at Stoke Bruerne.


You can also learn how rope is made and what it is used for on boats. If you think you know how, why not have a go at tying some useful knots often used by the boatmen. Don't worry if you don't, there are instructions on how to do it.


The display was researched, designed by volunteers and funded by the Friends of the Canal Museum


Craftspersons attending include:



Card Maker



Fender Maker


Lace Maker


Rag Rug Maker

Roses & Castles Traditional Painter


Wood Turner