London Canal Museum

On a trip to the theatre in London I found myself with a few hours to spare and decided to head to the London Canal Museum which is only a short walk from King’s Cross Station. As to be expected for such a niche museum it is quite small, consisting of just two floors, but at just £4 it was a reasonably priced way to spend an hour.

001

The building itself was built around 1863 for use as an ice warehouse for Carlo Gatti an (apparently) famous ice cream maker. Indeed, there are displays inside which explore the connection between the ice cream trade and the canal. I was particularly fascinated by the huge well which would originally have stored ice imported from Norway.

014

And this excellent model shows just what it would have looked like in the 19th century.

042

The ice would have been brought along by canal barges to just outside the building and then lowered into the wells – you can see just how close the canal is by these pictures taken just inside the museum.

020

022

The exhibition about the ice and ice cream trade includes examples of a lovely model of an ice cart from the 1890s as well as examples of ice cream scoops and packaging and a picture of Carlo Gatti.

045

046

Aside from the ice trade the museum of course focuses on canals and the waterways themselves. One nice feature is the Coronis narrow boat which you can go inside – personally I don’t think I’d cope with such cramped quarters.

013

Other displays reveal how the design of canal boats has evolved over time and the sorts of materials they would carry (such as coal).

063

Upstairs the museum concentrates on horses and the recreation of a stable stall from 1906 was particularly amusing given it played sounds to mimic those of a real horse. (A bit of a shock when you first get up there!)

068

I hadn’t realised how often horses in London had to live on first floors such as this, with their own ramp to get upstairs; the ice company converted the building to stables in the early 1900s. I also enjoyed the exhibitions on taking care of the horses.

078

077

It was an interesting place to visit and it certainly inspired me to further explore London’s canals.

You can find more photos here.

Categories: England, London | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: