Friends of The Canal Museum


Built in 1935 by W J Yarwood & Sons of Northwich, SCULPTOR is a composite motor narrowboat with a Lister HA2 diesel engine, used by the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company for general cargo between the Midlands and London. During World War II she was commissioned by the Ministry of War Transport as a fire fighting facility, based on the Grand Union Canal at Greenford. By 1964 she was being used as a canal maintenance boat at Northwich. In 1985 she was withdrawn from the fleet and restored at the museum at Ellesmere Port and in 1986 she was moved to The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne.


Sculptor is an important exhibit on display outside the Canal Museum and is maintained by a team of Friends volunteers. In 2011/12 she was completely re-bottomed thanks to fundraising and volunteer work carried out by the Friends, a £1,000 grant from the Strategic Development Fund of National Historic Ships, work carried out by apprentices based at the Heritage Boatyard at Ellemere Port  and donations received from Braunston Marina and raised at their Annual Historic Narrowboat Rally which is held at the end of June each year.

Learn all about the work currently being carried out by the volunteer team by reading Kathryn Dodington's Sculptor Blogspot

In June and July 2012, immediately following her re-bottoming, Sculptor took part in a co-operative venture between FOCM, the Boat Museum Society, The Rickmansworth Canal Trust and the London Canal Museum., picking up butty Ilkeston at Braunston Marina and taking her part-way to London.


You can read all about the trip here.


The Friends received a Commendation in the Historic Environment Category of the 2013 Waterway Renaissance Awards for the restoration of NB Sculptor

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In 2012 at Trinity House in London, Transport Trust Patron, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, presented a Highly Commended Award to the Friends of The Canal Museum for the high standards applied to the restoration of Sculptor. The Award was collected on behalf of the Friends by Richard Cox, a member of the volunteer team assisting with Sculptor’s restoration and who helped crew her back to Stoke Bruerne from Brinklow along with Ryan Dimmock on Southern Cross.

Sculptor in the news - ITV Anglia

If you click here you can see the news item - apologies for the startled faces of the crew in the tunnel but television lights in the darkness, when trying to see where you are going, is quite a challenge!

Steve Dean and Kathryn Dodington took Sculptor through Blisworth tunnel on behalf of the Canal & River Trust in order that ITV Anglia could produce a news item; this was following Dr Nigel Crowe's (CRT Head of Heritage) interview on Radio Northampton in which he was interviewed about the unveiling of a Red Wheel plaque awarded to Blisworth Tunnel by the Transport Trust.

DSC_1355e DSC_1406e DSC_0004 Sculptor cheque presentation 2016 (WATERWAY IMAGES DSC_7003

[L to R] Tim Coghlan, Braunston Marina; John Bannister, Sculptor Team; Les Etheridge, IWA Chairman and Rob Westlake, Sculptor Team receiving a cheque for £1,000

photo: Harry Arnold, Waterway Images

A Sculptor's eye view of the boat parade at the 2016 Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally


See video of Sculptor in action at Braunston on You Tube

A total of 67 historic narrowboats including NB Sculptor  attended the  14th Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally, crewed by a volunteer team led by Rob Westlake.


Tim Coghlan, proprietor of Braunston Marina kindly presented a cheque for £1,000 to the Friends of the Canal Museum from the proceeds of the event towards the maintenance and upkeep of NB Sculptor. Tim has generously supported the work of the Friends for a number of years on condition that Sculptor attends the Rally which she is delighted to do!


Braunston Marina was our No.1 Corporate Member signing up right at the beginning of the formation of the Friends in 2006.

Sculptor at 2016 Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally

Transport Trust Award

Waterway Renaissance Award

Sculptor tows butty Ilkeston