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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.

Good news! Canal & River Trust are keeping Braunston Stop House.

If you fancy taking on the lease, details 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 19 June

The Water Fest is on at the same time as the celebrations for the 900th anniversary of the founding of Reading Abbey by Henry I in 1121.

Fri 25 June

The official Historic Transport Day is Sunday 27 June 2021, but there will be historic boats tying up there from the Friday onwards for the weekend.

Keep an eye on their website for details

Sat 26 June

Braunston Marina has taken the decision to cancel this year’s event.  The main reason being the Stage 4 lifting of lockdown on 21 June is too close to the event as even a small movement of this date would throw everything out.

Further details will be on Braunston Marina's website under "Events" - please keep checking for latest updates!

Sat 3 July

BCLM is hoping that it may be possible to organise an event called "Marvellous Machines", it will include steam traction engines and vintage vehicles as well as tugs on the cut.  Entry forms have gone out to tug owners. If you have an historic tug and would like details, please contact Steve Bingham.

So ... wait and see is the message from BCLM - they say it'll be a close run thing (and will have to include social distancing) but are crossing everything that they will be able to go ahead.

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.

What the NHS does, and why it does it, is here.

Registration criteria are here.

To register, complete the form on this page.