A Fascinating Canal Museum that tells of the Role that London Canals Once Played:
Before the arrival of railways, London’s canals played an important role as commercial waterways where all types of cargoes were transported and trade carried out. The people who worked on the London canals, their boats and their cargoes and trade may well be forgotten over time if not for the interesting London Canal Museum in King’s Cross.
The London Canal Museum is a small London museum that’s housed in a former ice warehouse that was built in the 1860s. The building itself reveals a fascinating commodity that used to be transported on the canals. During Victorian times, before refrigerators, natural ice was imported from Norway to keep London cool and at the Museum you can see for yourself the huge ice wells. Who would have imagined that London needed cooling down!
At the London Canal Museum visitors can learn about the other cargoes that used to be transported on the London canal network. The Museum tells the colourful story of the canals, the boatmen, the cargoes and the boats and the horses that pulled the canal boats and carts on the streets. Life was tough for the boatmen and their families. Going inside a boatman’s floating home, visitors will be amazed at the cramped conditions in which generations of canal families lived until around 1960.
The arrival of the railway led to the decline of the canals as commercial waterways, but after the second world war it found a new lease of life as a resource for leisure pursuits. Canal holidays is gaining popularity and the London Canal Museum also provides added historical background for that cruise down the canals.
The Museum conducts monthly talks for those interested in London canals and their industrial heritage. There’s an Activity Zone for kids as well. During spring, summer and autumn there is also a program of towpath walks and summer boat trips through the Islington Tunnel.
The museum is a short walk from St. Pancras International and King’s Cross mainline and underground stations. A number of buses also serve the King’s Cross area.
London Canal Museum
12-13 New Wharf Road
King’s Cross, London N1 9RT