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Welcome to the HNBC

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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.

Planning some outings to see boats next year?

Our Events Calendar for 2017 is just what you need.

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 Newsletter

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?

 Front cover of newsletter

Find historic boats...

Events   view all

Sat 25 March

The Auction will take place on Saturday 25 March 2017 at Weston Village Hall, Weston, Staffs ST18 0JQ and the catalogue of 181 Lots is available now. There is painted ware by well known names, prized windlasses with pipe marks, horse brasses, bed knobs, swingers, chimney chains and water cans to name but a few items.

Sat 1 April

More details on the BCNS website

Sat 8 April

Check for detils on the BCNS website

Fri 14 April

A gathering of our club members and their boats at Brownhills (WS8 6GB) on the Wyrley and Essington Canal over the Easter weekend, a wander around the canals of the northern BCN and a cruise to Walsall Town Arm on Easter Monday.

Mike Harrison is collecting entries - please let him know if you are coming

Club shop

The Birmingham Canal Navigations 1950-1977, as seen through the lens of Philip Weaver


compiled by Mike Harrison

96 pages of photographs of the BCN taken by Philip Weaver, some in colour, some black and white. The photographs are grouped into colour-coded chapters, each with a beautiful hand-drawn map cross-referenced to the locations of the pictures.

£12.00 plus £1.50 p&p

Buy your copy through our Shop.


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.

CRT have published an updated map showing their regions - click here. There is also a Contact Form for telling them about problems. 

Latest stories   view all

The Auction will take place on Saturday 25 March 2017 at Weston Village Hall, Weston, Staffs ST18 0JQ and the catalogue of 181 Lots is available now. There is painted ware by well known names, prized windlasses with pipe marks, horse brasses, bed knobs, swingers, chimney chains and water cans to name but a few items.

Viewing will be from 9.00am - 11.00am followed by:

Session 1 - 11.00am - 1.00pm
Session 2 - 2.00pm - 4pm
Session 3 - 4.30pm - 6.30pm

Here's a great little video showing the safe way to use lock paddles - only just over 6 minutes long but well worth a watch.

Click here, sit back and enjoy!

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.

Iain MacTavish, the Club's North Wales and Border area rep, has devised a schematic reporting grid that you can download here and mark where on the brickwork your boat sticks.  Please send reports to him on Thank you!