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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.

The club's AGM will be held by Zoom on Saturday 13 March 2021 at 2pm

Details on how to request a place are here

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



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.

Read "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?

Newsletter 2021/1

Find historic boats...

Events   view all

Sat 15 May

"Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have cancelled the 2020 and the 2021 Rickmansworth Festival but we plan to be back on the 21st and 22nd May 2022."

More details on their website

Fri 28 May

Despite our earlier optimism that a club gathering would be possible in May 2021 (see below), it is now looking extremely unlikely to take place due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

As of November 2020, the uncertainty of being able to hold a gathering, together with the planning timeframe and financial risk to the club, means that the club committee has decided to postpone this event until a future date when circumstances are more settled.


Earlier in 2020, Ray Butler wrote some lines about the now-postponed event:

Wed 16 June

A post of the Middlewich FAB Facebook page dated 12 March 2021 states: 

Club shop

Have you bought your copy yet?


Following on from the successful first volume of Mr Weaver’s photographs of the Birmingham Canal Navigations, HNBC has now published the promised second book.

This perfect-bound, soft back volume of 136 pages covers most of the other waterways of England and Wales, with 220 photographs taken by Mr Weaver between 1950 and 1982.


£16.00  plus p&p




Our Club Shop always has an range of interesting products available through our mail order service. Please browse the various categories using the links below

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

Navigation issues

It is so important to tell C&RT, and us, if you get stuck on the waterways.

C&RT's general contact phone number is 03030 40 40 40, their emergencies number is 0800 479 9947, or you can use their Contact Form

C&RT Region by Region - a list of email contacts, and a map of 2019 Regions, is here.

Please let us know too so that we can chase it up. 

Here is our pinchpoints form, or you can email


Thank you!

Latest stories   view all

The club's AGM was conducted by Zoom software on Saturday 13 March 2021.

Members submitted a series of questions in advance to guest speaker Stuart Mills, the Chief Investment Officer of the Canal and River Trust. Stuart addressed the questions that fell within his remit during his presentation. Answers and comments on the remaining questions were provided afterwards by other Trust staff and can be found here (HNBC member's pages, you will need to log in to see them).

The government published its response on 3 March 2021 to its consultation on the use of red diesel. The good news for boaters in mainland UK waters is contained in paragraphs 4.6 and 4.7, different rules apply for Northern Ireland:

4.6 Following consultation, the government has decided to maintain the entitlement to use red diesel beyond April 2022 for all commercial boat operating industries, including but not limited to the fishing and inland water freight industries. 

Canal & River Trust has confirmed in a notice dated 11 February 2021 that wide beamed boats may only use parts of the north Oxford canal if they are booked to do so.

"The north Oxford Canal between Braunston Junction and Hillmorton Locks is a narrow canal, not suitable for wide-beam craft. 

Access to the marinas on the north Oxford is permitted but only at pre-agreed times and must be done in a single journey (i.e. not stopping between the marina and the destination)."

It is really important that owners of historic narrow boats register them with National Historic Ships.

Registration criteria are here.

To register, complete the form on this page.