Friends of The Canal Museum


Andrea Leadsom, MP

Lord Boswell of Aynho


Lynda Payton


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 

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Latest Museum Matters - December 2019

Editor Kathryn Dodington has published the latest newsletter from the Museum Community at Stoke Bruerne jam packed with all the latest news and details of up coming events. Go to our Newsletter page to download a PDF version or click on the image below to read it on-line.

Village at War a resounding success

Our 12th annual Village at War Weekend was a resounding success, probably helped by good weather and excellent radio and TV coverage which ensured a good footfall across the weekend.


It's far too early to know what was raised, but we anticipate good results. A full report, including a summary of how we, other village organisations and charitable causes fared will be posted on our Village at War page as soon the information comes in.


Meanwhile we want to thank all our volunteers, especially the Northampton Branch of the Inland Waterways Association who did a stirling job assisting with the set up - and we hope, taking down; the Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership Adoption Group for site preparation; the Milton Malsor & Collingtree Scouts for manning the car parks; Stoke Bruerne Primary School for village signage; the Cricket Club for parking and camping; the Church for the Fashion Parade and all the individual volunteers who came forward to 'man' sentry boxes, manage moorings, maintain the Portaloos, put up road signage, do the PA and all the other important jobs which ensured the weekend ran smoothly. You are too numerous to name but we are grateful to you all.


Last, but definitely not least, we want to thank the army of re-enactors and entertainers who came from all corners of the country and without whom the event could not happen.

Adopt-an-Object launched

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Adopt one of our unique museum artefacts from an engine to a boatman's spider belt, each with its own fascinating history. Become responsible for its care and cleaning, and even get involved in telling its story to our visitors!


Which one will you choose?


The Museum is starting an 'Adopt an Object' scheme where volunteers can come in once a month to care for a chosen object, cabinet or exhibit. It could be any day or time to suit, come on your own or bring a friend or in a group.  By adopting an object, you will be supporting activities in the museum, ensuring that our museum continues to be an inspiring place for everyone.


The museum will provide the training needed to clean and handle the objects. So why not come along, meet likeminded people, have a chat with visitors and help the museum look after its objects and the people who visit us.


Interested? Ring the museum team on 01604 862229 or email stokebruerne@canlrivertrust.org.uk and then meet up for a chat.

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Double cheque presentation to CRT

We are delighted to be able to help with funding for replacement gunwales for historic narrowboat Sculptor jointly with IWA Northampton Branch. Cheques were presented by our Chairman, Mick Butler and Bernard Morton, IWA Northampton Branch Chairman to Margaret Harrison, Collections Manager and Phil Mulligan, Regional director, East Midlands Region, Canal & River Trust on 7th May at Stoke Bruerne. The total donations of £5,500.

L to R: Phil Mulligan (CRT East Mids), Rob Westlake (Lead Volunteer, Sculptor), Mick Butler (Chair, Friends of The Canal Museum and IWA Northampton Branch), Margaret Harrison (CRT Collections Manager), Paul Lynham (IWA Northampton & Friends of Canal Museum),Dan Whyment (CRT East Mids) and Bernard Morton (Chair, IWA Northampton Branch)

L to R: Bernard Morton (Chair, IWA Northampton Branch), Phil Mulligan (CRT East Mids), Rob Westlake (Lead Volunteer, Sculptor), Mick Butler (Chair, Friends of The Canal Museum and IWA Northampton Branch), Margaret Harrison (CRT Collections Manager), Paul Lynham (IWA Northampton & Friends of Canal Museum) and Dan Whyment (CRT East Mids)

Tim's generous donation....


Once again we are delighted to be able to extend our grateful thanks to Tim Coghlan and Braunston Marina for making a generous donation of £1,000 at their successful annual Historic Narrowboat Rally at Braunston at the end of June. The monies are ring fenced for the use of the Friends in carrying out maintenance work to the Museum's historic working narrowboat Sculptor which attends the Rally each year.


Pictured above left to right are Lorna York, Vice-Chairman of FoCM, Tim Coghlan, Proprietor and Manager of Braunston Marina and Sculptor Volunteer Team members Rob Westlake and Kathryn Dodington.

Good weather ensured a good turnout


A warm FoCM welcome to our new Membership Secretary

DGR 2019 Me

Please extend a warm welcome to our new Membership Secretary, Chris Durham, a long standing member of the Friends and a stalwart of Lionhearts Cruising Club at Great Linford on the Grand Union Canal. Look out for a full biography and more information on Chris's interests in the next edition of Museum Matters which will be coming out after our AGM.

A change of leadership...

At September's meeting of the Committee, founder member Lynda Payton took over the reins as Friends Chairman from Mick Butler who has ably guided us through three years of change since taking over from David Blagrove when he sadly passed away in 2016.


Mick won't be resting on his laurels. He has agreed to step into Kathryn's shoes and take over the running of our award winning annual Village at War event for 2020. No mean task, but something Mick has demonstrated he can do standing on his head.


Thank you to Mick and his Team for ensuring Village at War continues to delight

the many visitors who come to Stoke Bruerne to be part of it.


Corporate Member

Friends welcome Trust plans for

redevelopment of Museum and wider site at Stoke Bruerne

The Friends and other local stakeholders such as Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership, Stoke Bruerne Parish Council and South Northamptonshire Council, have been working closely with staff at The Canal & River Trust's East Midlands Region towards establishing a redevelopment plan for the Museum and wider site at Stoke Bruerne.


The project will see major investment from both the Trust and the Friends for  enhanced visitor facilities at the Museum, revamped displays, improved accessibility and car parking, and...hopefully, subject to a successful HLF bid, new uses and much improved interpretation of the built heritage to be found on and along the canal corridor at Stoke Bruerne such as the Stables, Legger's Hut, Quarry Field, Dry Top Lock and other important canal features.


The scheme which is yet to be finalised will be implemented over the next few years and will build on the HLF funded interpretation installed by Stoke Bruerne Canal Partnership which won a Commended Award in the Art & Interpretation category at the 2016 Living Waterways Awards.


Covid-19 Measures

To support the national effort to keep people safe, we’re following the Government’s advice on Coronavirus (CV19).


Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum will be closed from Friday 20 March until further notice and all volunteer activities have been suspended for the time being.


A decision on whether our annual fundraising event Village at War will go ahead will be made at a much later date to reflect Government Advice at the time.


Trustee Meetings will move on-line for the time being.


If you require any further information please email us at chairman@friendsofcanalmuseum.org.uk