This page covers the topics people most often ask about in respect of venue hire at London Canal Museum. If you can't find the answer to your question please use the enquiry form to ask us - and suggest your topic for this section.
We do not recommend any catering company, nor do we restrict your choice. (We reserve the right to "blacklist" a caterer who leaves behind a serious mess or otherwise causes problems but this has not yet been necessary). For the convenience of customers a list of suitable firms is maintained and most of these firms have provided catering at the museum before, some of them many times. They are all familiar with the building. Click the link for the list of catering firms. Many of these firms are versatile, and will be happy to quote for a sandwich lunch for a small meeting, or for a much larger function. At larger functions it is usual although not obligatory, for the caterer to organise waiting and bar staff, furniture hire if needed, as well as all the cutlery, crockery, table linen and catering equipment.
A bar can be operated by your caterer provided that the host is paying for all the alcohol and cash is not paid for drinks. We can provide tables to enable your caterer to set this up. We can provide tubs for use as large ice baths and your caterer can arrange a supply of ice. If you want a cash bar then a licence must be obtained from the magistrates or a Temporary Event Notice issued. See our Cash Bar page.
We allow decoration of the museum with very few restrictions. We ask you not to nail screw or pin things to the building, and not to attach anything whatsoever to the lighting track. If you want to hang things from the beams on the first floor you can do so by looping string around them. In the interests of safety please don't climb ladders unless under the supervision of a senior member of the museum staff. People can get excited on a big day and forget safety precautions! Flowers, balloons, streamers, drapes, creative lighting are all allowed. Decorations have to be taken down at the end of the event, not the next day. Candles are allowed at our discretion. They must be stable and not positioned where they might fall out of sight.
Our advice is to be prepared, don't be alarmed, but also don't take chances. We have prepared a food hygiene advice sheet for your guidance. It is especially important to read this and take extra care if you are doing your own catering and are not experienced at catering for a large number. You can also look at the Food Standards Agency Website for advice.
See our page on furniture for more information. You can hire furniture from us or externally. Catering equipment is usually hired by the caterer but can also be hired by the client. Suggested firms are listed on the furniture page.
We offer wine, flute, and soft drink glass hire at £3 per dozen, plus VAT, including washing. Our wine glasses are Paris goblets and we maintain a stock of 168 glasses. In addition we have small numbers of other types of glasses. We don't charge a premium charge for broken glasses. We charge at cost for this, generally about 35p per glass.
There is always a museum duty manager on the premises during larger scale events held in the museum galleries. The duty manager has a number of responsibilities:
We can provide other staff by prior arrangement at extra cost, for example coat storage, reception, or bar staff. We never provide staff to handle food.
Live music is welcome provided that it is compliant with our noise control policy. For example, we do not permit electric guitars to be played. At events with background music only, quiet live instruments are permitted but you cannot have amplified singing or a cabaret performance of music
Only if you book a storage facility at extra cost. The museum's conference room can be hired for storage outside the times of your event stated on the hire agreement. This is useful if you need to have things delivered before the start time, such as furniture, catering equipment, wine, decorations, ice, etc. Please make sure that nothing is delivered before the start time of the event unless you have booked a storage facility. The same arrangement is possible after the event, you can book the conference room for storage after the end of the event, often overnight. This saves the inconvenience of having to take boxes of unused drinks, decorations, catering equipment or furniture away at the end of the function. Where furniture is hired, it is usually essential as only a few furniture hire companies collect late at night. Please note that nothing can be left before or after the event in the main galleries. (An exception may be made on Sunday nights). Property can only be left in the museum before and after events if accommodation for it has been booked.
The museum has plenty of power points. You should consult us if you have any plans for equipment which requires a high capacity supply.
For functions in the main part of the museum we provide coatrails and hangars free of charge. This is an unstaffed facility. Normally this is situated on the ground floor. Coats etc. are left at owners risk, but experience has shown that problems are few and far between. Lost property found in the museum is kept by us for a reasonable period, depending on the item, and can be collected during normal opening hours. For small meetings coat hoots are provided in the anti-room of the small conference room.
We maintain a list of DJs and musicians whom you may wish to contact. Some clients prefer to do their own music and we have a sound system available for hire.
We have audio-visual equipment available, at an additional charge, including a sound system for discos. Please see our equipment page for details. If your needs are more complex or you need a technical support service or more equipment we reccommend nearby firm AV2Hire. As well as good prices they offer excellent service and normally deliver without pollution by tricycle!
The venue is in a residential area and there is a paragraph in your hire agreement that commits you to not annoying the neighbours by noise. Your guests must also stay indoors after 2300 except when leaving for the night. Please see our page on noise policy.
We are developing a list of entertainers who might be useful to you.
New Wharf Road has a single yellow line, on the west side, so you can park free of charge there after 1830 Mondays to Friday, after 1330 Saturdays, and all day on Sundays. The opposite side of the road is for residents only during the day. Please don't block any entrance! There is parking available in other nearby streets as well, with similar conditions. When the parking restrictions are in force a short period for unloading is allowed. There are a few parking meters in streets nearby. These are expensive and we suggest use of the excellent public transport in the area.
A list of several local minicab firms is made available to guests and delegates leaving events. Guests may call a cab or minicab themselves from a telephone in the museum. We can also provide numbers for black cabs and some local knowledge about the best places to hail a black cab. We have information available about day and night bus services and about rail services. We can even advise about local hotels! We don't call cars for guests (unless disabled) - please do this yourself. We suggest Green Tomato Cars as London's green private hire company using the most environment-friendly vehicles available. The minicab information sheet that is displayed at reception during larger private functions is also available from the downloads page.
Both floors are fully accessible to wheelchair users via lifts. The stairs have handrails. For full details about accessibility please see our Disabled Visitor Access page.
Our kitchen is small, and offers a double stainless steel sink with two drainers, a moderate size stainless steel work surface, and a handwashing basin. There is a hot and cold water supply but please note that the hot water system is not designed for large scale washing up. There is no cooking equipment - caterers should bring what they need. Clients and their catererers are asked to leave the kitchen clean.
Smoking is prohibited, by law, inside the building at all times. Guests may smoke outside:
Please note that guests are not allowed to go outside the building to smoke after 2300 at night as this can lead to noise irritation for our neighbours. After 2300, guests must either refrain from smoking completely, or go home.
Under the hire agreement clients are responsible for taking away what they bring in. However we are generally willing to deal with a reasonable amount of refuse arising from the event. We do require that recyclable things (glass, plastic bottles, clean cardboard and paper, cans) are separated from all other rubbish. Please don't let cardboard boxes get wet, or break up empty boxes in usable condition. The boxes are used for bottle storage, sometimes, prior to recycling. Other rubbish should be bagged. We don't expect clients to do any cleaning. However please note that you should clear everything from all tables at the end of the event. Rubbish can be left for us but everything else should be taken off the premises, or, if a storage facility has been booked, placed in the storage location. Most quotations are inclusive of the putting-away of furniture at the end of the event, but do not include setting it up at the beginning.
A deposit of £100 to £150 is payable on booking. The booking is provisional until this has been paid (and the agreement signed and returned to us). We sometimes make different arrangements for public sector clients. For established organisations we invoice the balance after the event. Payment is due within 14 days. For private clients we should receive full payment by the day of the function. If paying with a personal cheque you should make sure we receive the cheque at least 7 days prior to the event to enable it to clear. We can accept a building society cheque, or a bankers draft, later. Cheques should be payable to "Canal Museum Trust" or "London Canal Museum". We accept all major credit or charge cards except American Express. Payment instructions can be given by telephone or online. Go to: Pay your invoice for museum or room hire. You can also fax us a credit card authority on 020 7689 6679. Whilst we will accept payment on the day of the function, this has to be be before it starts. We strongly advise against leaving payment to the very last minute. All our charges exclude VAT - this has to be added to invoices.