Skip to content Skip to navigation

Welcome to the HNBC

 Random boat image

Welcome to the HNBC

The Historic Narrow Boat Club was formed in 1966 and is a not-for-profit club dedicated to preserving the working heritage of UK canals, from the boats themselves to details of the waterways on which they travel.  We are passionate about working boats, traditional skills, the built heritage, and the practices and courtesies of the working boat people.

We are an active pressure group for navigational and waterway heritage interests and we welcome all who support our aims, whether boat owners or not.  By supporting the Club, you are helping to ensure that the UK’s canals retain their unique heritage value.

We hope you enjoy exploring this website.

Don't just SORT IT - REPORT IT

Phone CRT on 03030 40 40 40 or email their regional offices

Six good reasons to join us

  • Our quarterly newsletter, full of interesting articles.
  • Discount offers on boating equipment and services.
  • Access to the ever increasing wealth of information in our narrow boat register and archive.
  • Help and advice on historic craft maintenance through our members' forum
  • Small, sociable rallies.
  • Twice yearly members’ meetings – the AGM in March and the winter social in November, both with interesting speakers.

How to join

You can join us as an individual, joint or associate member.

Read more about how to join

Our NewsletterNewsletter cover

The Club's Newsletter is published quarterly. This is a high quality and lavishly illustrated colour publication with many fascinating features of interest to enthusiasts of historic boats.

Download "taster" Newsletter articles here. Back issues are available in limited quantities from the Club shop.

Why not join the club and get your copy hot off the press every quarter?

Find historic boats...

Boats are listed under their original company name. Detailed listings may be found by using the Historic Boats menu at the top of the page.

Please contact us if you have photos or more information - all contributions gratefully received.

Events   view all

Sat 15 August

Celebrating Duplicate Anniversaries


225th ANNIVERSARY of the OXFORD CANAL 1790 – 2015

Hillmorton Locks, Rugby CV21 4PP

Sun 16 August

The organisers of Fenny Stratford's first Boat Festival are keen for historic boats to join in and have advised that there are plenty of safe moorings.  

Contact rosemaryasmith AT if you would like to take part.

Fri 28 August

Up to 200 boats, including leisure, trade, heritage and working narrowboats, are expected in the marina and along the river front as well as a wealth of smaller craft such as canoes, rowing boats, sailboats, windsurfers and ribs. There will also be opportunities for visitors to get afloat on board trip boats and water taxis.  The event will be held at Becket's Park on the R Nene over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Further details on the IWA website.

Sat 29 August

If you want to see lots of historic boats, this is the place to be over the Bank Holiday weekend in August - see the Samuel Barlow  or Alvecote Marina Group websites for directions and contact information.

Club shop

A Boat Builders SketchbookA Boat Builder's Sketchbook

by Ken Keay

A reprint of the original 1993 limited edition, with exclusive new material, a new introduction and new high resolution reproductions of Ken Keay's original drawings.

£15.00 plus £1.30 p&p
SPECIAL OFFER - Free p&p to Club Members

Our Club Shop always has an range of interesting products available. As well as running a stall at various events through the year, we offer a mail order service. Please browse the various categories using the links below

Blank Cards  -  Christmas Cards  -  Clothing  -  Club plaques  -  Maps and books

Navigation issues

Has your boat been stuck on the waterways?  Too shallow, too narrow, too short, too low?

It is very difficult to predict where one boat will get through and another will stick, but there are some well known tricky areas, and we're keen to have up-to-date information so we can identify new problems as well as old restrictions that are getting worse.  Please tell us where you've been stuck, with plenty of detail - eg were you going up or down in a lock, did you stick in the middle?  Also whereabouts on your boat - eg the front bends, the engine'ole bulkhead, the skeg. Read our current list here.

Don't just sort it yourself - tell CRT (03030 40 40 40) so that the problem is logged and then let us know so we can chase it up.  Here is our pinchpoints form, or you can email  Many thanks.

Latest stories   view all

The closing date for this annual competition is midnight on 31 August 2015, so get snapping! Further details of categories and prizes (yes, prizes!) here.

The club celebrated its Ruby Anniversary at Bugsworth Basin in 2006, now we're going for Gold on the Basingstoke Canal in 2016. More details later, but here are some links to whet your appetite and to help you start planning Basingstoke Canal SocietyBasingstoke Canal Authority

Ivor Caplan (IWA Trustee and CRT West Midlands Waterways Partnership) has put out a request for photographs and information about the Round House in Birmingham.  There are plans between CRT and the National Trust to develop it as an activity centre.  It is hoped that part of the scheme will be a display depicting the heritage of the building and its commercial use as stables.

Would you like to leave your unconverted historic boat in the dock at Trevor? Contact who will pout you in touch with the relevant people. CRT has done some work on the dry dock at Trevor, not for use as a dock, but as an exhibit area as part of the World Heritage site. Saturn was there to try it out but because of other commitments her stays in Trevor will be limited.