Canal Museum

June 26, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Posted in General, London, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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Close to Kings Cross in London is the Canal Museum, which provides a history of  London’s canals within a broader national context.

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Before we move onto the content and display I wanted to offer some praise to the museum. While I did find the website a little clunky I was pleasantly surprised to find they had a downloadable audio tour available and are on twitter.

Now onto the museum.

The museum is split over two floors. The ground floor covers the history of the canals, the boats and their functions while the second floor details the changing shape of the waterways from their heyday, demise and resurgence as well as a temporary display space.

So what did I learn? I think I was most surprised by how manual the boating process was with the use of horses walking along them to get them moving or men nestled along the sides to nudge them through the narrow tunnels. Motorisation clearly came late to this area. Even so the boats didn’t fall completely out of favour as a means of shipping until the 60s when a severe freeze stopped traffic. Speaking of the cold, the canals were originally used to transport ice around London thus providing the first widespread access to ice cream.

It’s £3 and on the one hand the floor space and volume of content is perhaps a bit small but on the hand it is fairly interesting and frankly when entry is less than a £5 note I’m willing to overlook it.

After the canal museum I took the opportunity to walk along the canals up to Camden.
Canals (24) Canals (3)

It was a bit of a walk with less than spectacular scenery but pleasant enough with the opportunity to view the canal boats in action.
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Though the semi industrial edges were a bit of a let down (although what do you expect given the original nature of the canals).
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Some more photos at Flickr!

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