Welcome to The Narrow Boat Heritage Foundation

In its time, the wooden narrow boat was a revolutionary technology that directly contributed to one of the most important economic and social changes Great Britain has ever seen – the Industrial Revolution.

Sadly, very few of these historic boats still remain in working condition. Some have been reduced to rotting hulks; a few lie underwater, deliberately sunk to preserve their timbers. Time is running out for many of these craft and today there is a dwindling resource of boats that can still be restored.

¬†Breaking News! Our first restoration project, Narrowboat Dane, was successfully craned back into the water on 6th August 2016 at Alvecote Marina, following four years’ work. We believe this is the most complete and authentic rebuild of a wooden narrowboat for more than thirty years. Watch the launch below:


The Narrow Boat Heritage Foundation was set up to find, restore and preserve as many of these Britain’s most historic and captivating river craft as possible – and at the same time develop and sustain the skills needed to maintain them in the future. We aim to bring these precious boats back to life and put them to work as living examples of our rich canal tradition and industrial history.

What benefits will this bring?

  • Industry to connect to their industrial past
  • Students will find out how canals evolved from bulk transport for industry to the recreational use
  • Enthusiasts will help demonstrate and maintain restored craft

We welcome volunteers and donations. For the price of a pint of beer we can buy a cubic pint of the wood needed for one of our current restoration projects.

Your support is vital: please make a donation today. You can do this with a text message or by clicking the Paypal link in the sidebar.

You can find further details about supporting us on our Get Involved page.