Community Narrowboats

Charitable community boats in central London


London Canal Museum works with local community narrowboats which are often used to enable groups of children, disabled people, or retired people, and others, a combined day out involving a visit to the Museum and a trip on the canal, perhaps including the navigation of Islington Tunnel. Community Narrowboats are important partners in the museum's education work and often introduce young people to the canals.

Angel II (front) and Tarporley (rear) in fromt of the Porters Building in Battlebridge Basin

The Angel 2 leaves the museum with another human cargo of schoolchildren. Behind it is the Tarporley, moored beside the former Porters building, now used as offices.

The Angel II of Islington

The Angel of Islington outside London Canal Museum

The Angel II of Islington is a 70 foot steel narrowboat owned and operated by the Angel Community Canal Boat Trust, a Registered Charity, No 1103542. It can comfortably accommodate 12 people. It has facilities for overnight trips, with foam mattress bunks, two washrooms/toilets and a shower. The galley is equipped with a gas cooker, fridge, and utensils.

For more information contact Phil Gavigan: E-mail: or see the Angel Boat website

Telephone 07970 175488 or alternatively you can leave a message on 020 7490 5125. The postal address is Islington Community Canal Boat Trust, 16-34 Graham Street, London N1 8JX

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The Floating Classroom

The floating classroom is the first of a new generation of electrically powered canal boats. It provided KS1 and 2 Educational trips on London's canals all year round. It is also available for hire by community groups. The boat is fully equipped and has full access, and toilets, for disabled people. There is a plasma screen with a full audio visual suite, and computer connection. It has central heating, and large panoramic windows. There are charging facilities at London Canal Museum.

The Beauchamp Lodge Settlement, operating as The Floating Classroom, 453 Harrow Road London W10 4RG Tel: 020 8960 4321 Website: The Floating Classroom

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Deconrated boat in basin, buildings behind

Tarporley is an historic, 1937 Large Northwich Town Class narrowboat which has been converted from a working goods boat and recently refitted, to meet the demands and safety requirements of the present day. She is owned and operated by Camden Canals and Narrowboat Association, a registered charity run entirely by dedicated volunteers. The boat is based at Kings Place, a new development at Battlebridge Basin, Kings Cross. Tarporley is available to hire with crew provided on day or residential trips for use by communty groups and also private and business groups. (max 12 persons) See the Camden Canals and Narrowboat Association website for more information and bookings or contact 0800 772 3898 or

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The Pirate Castle

A bit of history.

The Pirate Castle was founded in 1966 by Viscount St David's as a canalside youth club. It was called the Pirate Club by its early members who were famous for their raids on passing canal boats to help raise funds to build themselves a clubhouse. The Pirate Castle in Camden was opened in 1977 and is now the Pirates permanent home. It is believed to be the last fortified building built in the U.K. The Pirate Castle is a fun and quirky place to be.

Canal Boating

The Pirate Castle first became canal boat operators in 1982 with the launch of 'Pirate Princess' by HRH Prince Charles. Nowadays the castle has a wide beam boat called 'Pirate Prince' specially designed to enable disabled users to get on the water as well as a traditional narrowboat called 'Pirate Viscount'.

Safety First.

Both boats go out with a skipper to look after the safety of the groups on board. There is always a safety talk before the boat sets off. The Castle's Canal Boat Manager, Andrew Carpenter, has been skippering canal boats since 1999. He holds a Boatmasters Licence and is also a trainer for the National Community Boats Association and the Royal Yachting Association. All Pirate Castle skippers have qualified with the Certificate in Community Boat Management. The safety of every group that comes on board is their prime concern.

On the Boats

Canal boating is great fun and the groups enjoy themselves! It is not the Pirate Castle's aim to offer chauffeur driven cruises, but to involve the group in as many boating activities as possible - steering, using the ropes and working the locks. However, group members are free to do as much or as little as they choose. The Castle always tries to tailor each trip to the needs of the group, so the more planning and discussion there is in advance the better. A trip on the Pirate Castle's canal boats can be a memorable and fun experience and many groups come back to the Castle time and time again.

Who can use the boats?

The Pirate Castle canal boats are available for use by all kinds of community and charity groups such as youth groups, church groups, hostels, homes and pensioner groups. The hire charge for charitable groups is kept as low as possible with the Pirate Castle subsidising about half of the true costs. However, a full hire rate is charged to all private and business groups. The Pirate Castle will be pleased to hear from you and happy to advise you on routes and prices.

The Pirate Club
Gilbeys Wharf
Oval Road
London NW1 7EA
Tel: 020 7267 6605

For more information see The Pirate Club website

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Laburnum Boat Club

This boat operates throughout the year and offers half day, full day and residential trips. They are based in east London. One of their boats, the Lady Mildmay is in heavy demand as it is specially equipped for passengers who use wheelchairs. For more information see the Laburnum Boat Club website or contact Jim Armstrong on 020 7729 2915. Email:

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London Narrowboat Project

London Narrowboat Project operates its boats in the midlands but serves children and young people in the London area in particular. Modern boats offer low cost holidays which introduce young people to the canals.

LNBP Bookings Officer PO Box 170 Gravesend, DA13T 0WE, Kent Phone: 07967 406875 E-mail: For more information see the London Narrowboat Project Website.

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See the National Community Boats Association website for more general information about community boats