Welcome to The Narrow Boat Heritage Foundation

The Narrow Boat Heritage Foundation was set up to find, restore and preserve as many of 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.

Narrowboat Dane

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.

Click the thumbnail below to watch a video of the launch:


In early 2017, Dane celebrated reaching her 70th birthday year with her first journey since restoration – back to Ellesmere Port. Click the picture for the full story and a gallery of images:

Dane's Trip

In November 2017 the NBHF entered into a partnership agreement with Middleport Pottery, which was formally endorsed by none other than HRH The Prince of Wales. As a result she is now a working exhibit at Middleport – highly appropriate because she was built in nearby Burslem, and painted and operated next door to the pottery.

Dane will be handed over to Middleport by the end of 2018. We are delighted that this ensures the long term security and public accessibility – recently highlighted by the visitors she attracted when the Weeping Windows Poppy exhibition completed the final show its UK tour at Middleport.

Narrowboat Clee

Our second restoration project, Narrowboat Clee, remains in a deteriorating and fragile state at Alvecote Marina. Rather than dismantle this historic craft, we are actively searching for a new home for her, and are currently negotiating with a number of enthusiasts to ascertain whether she does have a future.

We will post an update on Clee as soon as we know more.

More about the NBHF:

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.

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

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.

We also welcome the help of volunteers. You can find further details about supporting us on our Get Involved page.