Friends of The Canal Museum


Andrea Leadsom, MP

Lord Boswell of Aynho


Lynda Payton


Lorna York 


Laura Sturrock


Registered Charity No:


If you would like to join the Friends please see our Membership page, or if you would like to contact us please write to:

The Friends of The Canal Museum, c/o The Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne, Towcester NN12 7SE

or, e-mail us here 

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Latest Museum Matters - May 2021

Editor Kathryn Dodington has published the latest newsletter from the Museum Community at Stoke Bruerne with as much of the latest news as we can muster. Go to our Newsletter page to download a PDF version or click on the image below to read it on-line.


Corporate Member

A Stage Development 2 Project to carry out further work at the Museum and to the whole site at Stoke Bruerne is in preparation by the Trust and an Expression of Interest will be submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund very shortly.


More details are expected shortly but is expected to include the refurbishment of the Learning Centre and the installation on a lift to the rear of the Museum, as well as exciting new initiatives along the canal corridor. More details will be posted here as they become known.

Pop-up Museum

Sadly due to CV-19 our Village at War Weekend, which is usually held in September, couldn't happen in 2020 and was cancelled.


Due to continued uncertainty about when such large events can be held again and increasing difficulty finding sufficient volunteers to put on the event each year, we have had to take the hard decision to suspend hostilities in Stoke Bruerne for the foreseeable future.


We wish to thank all our Partners, Entertainers, Re-enactors, Traders and, most of all, our army of Volunteers, for all the support we have received over the last thirteen years.


It was great fun while it lasted but all wars come to an end.

Triple Cheque Presentation


Along with The Friends of Raymond and the Narrow Boat Trust, we were absolutely delighted to receive a donation of £1,000 from Tim Coghlan, Braunston Marina at Stoke Bruerne on Friday 30th October. A wonderful gesture in light of of the cancellation of the Historic Narrowboat Rally. We are totally in awe of Tim's continued generosity to the Friends and Sculptor over the entire life of our charity (almost 15 years!).


L to R Nick Lake, Friends of Raymond; Kirk Martin & Alison, Narrow Boat Trust; Rob Westlake, Sculptor Volunteer Team;  Tim Coghlan, Braunston Marina; Roger Goulder, Friends of Raymond; Lynda Payton, Friends of The Canal Museum; Louise Stockwin, The Canal Museum and Steve Bagley, Canal & River Trust.

2020 Award Recognition


Each year we make an award to the Member who has made an outstanding contribution to furthering the aims of our Charity and I am delighted to announce the 2020 award goes to our No.1 Corporate Member - Tim Coghlan.


The award is usually presented at our AGM but because of CV-19 our AGM is moving online this year, so it seemed appropriate to take advantage of Tim being in Stoke Bruerne at the same time as historic working boats Sculptor, Nutfield and Brighton. (See story above)


Well done Tim - very well deserved!

Friends Chairman Lynda Payton with Tim Coghlan

Museum Relaunches after Makeover

On a windy early July afternoon, the Canal Museum re-opened its doors briefly to show off the refurbishment works carried out over the winter months to key stakeholders, volunteers and Executive Board Members of The Canal & River Trust. Numbers attending were heavily restricted due to Covid regulations, but representatives were able to attend from the many organisations who had been involved in the project.


It also provided an opportunity for the Friends to present a cheque for £67,000 representing the contribution of the Friends towards the building work and for  improvements to the galleries. As Lynda Payton, Chairman of The Friends, presented the cheque she expressed the Friends pleasure in being able to support the refurbishment. The fulfillment of 15 years of fundraising and one of the Charities key ambitions.


Phil Mulligan, Regional Director of CRT emphasised how appreciative the Trust is of both the generous donation and of the time, effort expertise and hands-on work put in by the Friends and curatorial volunteers.


The curatorial volunteers led in the production and installation of the new design for interpretation, supported by National Collections Manager Steve Bagley and Destinations & Attractions Manager Jannette Warrener. It features across all three floors of the museum creating a canal experience that will make people want to come back to find out more.


From sourcing archive materials, photographs and artefacts, to writing and designing the graphic panels and interpretative features, the small team of volunteers has worked over the last few months, supported by Steve and Jannette, to revamp the museum for its re-opening.


Steve said: “Handing over the delivery of the interpretation plan to our team of skilled and enthusiastic volunteers has showcased a new way for us to work. Their in-depth local knowledge has influenced and shaped how we tell the stories at Stoke Bruerne for our visitors and we are really keen to roll this approach out across other sites.”


The Museum re-opened to the public in mid July and admission is free.

HLF Bid is in preparation

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Lynda Payton, Chair of The Friends presents a cheque to CRT CEO Richard Parry


One of the revitalised galleries.

Bake-Off Winner

CRT CEO Richard Parry with Bake-Off Winner Kathryn Dodington


A light hearted Bake-Off Competition at the Museum's Reopening Ceremony on 6th July was judged by CRT CEO Richard Parry and Phil Prettyman, CRT Trustee and Chair of HNBC...and the winners were Kathryn Dodington with her incredible pavlova and Runner Up, Emily Thorpe with a delicious plate of Shortbread.

Sculptor at Crick 2021


Sculptor Team Lead Volunteer Rob Westlake at Crick

Sculptor Team  Volunteers took Museum Boat NB Sculptor to the Crick Boat Show over the August Bank Holiday Weekend where it joined other historic working boats on display for visitors.