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 

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Latest Museum Matters

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


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.

photo: Louise Stockwin

The image was taken by Ruth Chamberlain, and is her ©, who, with her husband Richard very kindly took Sculptor from the bottom of Buckby to Weedon Boat Yard for a repair by Steve Furniss.  Richard and Ruth own the working pair Mountbatten and Jellicoe. On the way down Buckby we had a 'fair wear and tear' failure of the coupling between the driveshaft and the prop shaft which stopped the propellor from turning. The image shows Mountbatten, Sculptor and Jellicoe approaching the new Flore and Weedon bypass bridge on Wednesdy 3rd July.


Sculptor was expertly repaired by Steve Furniss in double quick time and was returned to Stoke Bruerne on Thursday 4th July.


We are most grateful to Ruth and Richard who, unprompted, rang Kathryn Dodington and offered to move Sculptor for Canal & River Trust - their payment - you'll do it for someone else - what stars they are.


Sculptor in need of help....

Sculptor has a driveshaft issue in Buckby

Saturday Craft Workshops

A series of regular Saturday craft workshops stated on on Saturday 27th April on the Ground Floor of the Canal Museum.


Organised in partnership with the Friends, the workshops cover a range of craft and other activities from book binding, crochet, signwriting, how to research your family history and, hopefully, rag rug making. Other crafts may be added during the summer.


The workshops are free but places will be limited so if you'd like to attend we recommend booking. More information can be found on our Diary page.


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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)

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Lorna York giving advice on family tree research

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.

Say hello to Bonny and Bilbo!


We hope you said hello to Bonny and Bilbo, two temporary residents at Stoke Bruerne who did  a brilliant job at mowing the Quarry Field in readiness for our Village at War Weekend in September and who proved quite an attraction for our our visitors.


Bilbo and Bonny are boat horses belonging to Sue Day of the the Horseboating Society. They were recently in action at the Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally at Braunston at the end of June where they were helping to demonstrate boat horse harnessing.


Good weather ensured a good turnout