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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.

Do you know what a TITCH or a KEB is?

Find out here - Know Your Boats

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

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

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Events   view all

Sat 13 July

Part of the Evesham River Festival, River Avon

Details on RNR website 

Fri 19 July
Our festival is community volunteer organised and we welcome suitable guest stalls free of charge. We do ask that your primary aims for being here are to inform, educate and entertain. We are flexible for you to bring anything from a manned gazebo to an unmanned display in our marquee.

Fri 19 July

Held at Henley-on-Thames, check their website here for further information.

Sat 20 July

Further details on the Buckingham Canal Society webpage here

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.


£6.00  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

Boatman Peter Boyce of Braunston spent four weeks on set with a Hollywood film crew putting together the December 2023 Warner Bros release "Wonka", and will be making an appearance at the Crick Boat Show near Northampton - the UK's largest inland waterway event - over the Spring bank holiday weekend at the end of May. 

London’s Limehouse Cut had a slightly different look to it at the end of May 2022 when 31 historic boats came together for one of the HNBC’s ‘campaigning’ gatherings. Like Brownhills and Hebden Bridge in previous years, the London event had the dual purpose of shining a light on a less frequently boated or lesser appreciated part of the system while showcasing historic boating to the general public

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)."