Picture of the founders of BMS

This photo shows four of the five founders of the North Western Museum of Inland Navigation (NWMIN) with Tony Hirst, the museum’s first Director.
l-r Tony Lewery, the late Peter Froud, the late Dr David Owen, Harry Arnold and Tony Hirst. Not in the photo is the late Edward Paget-Tomlinson.
David Owen was the first Chairman and later President of the society.

A group of waterway enthusiasts formed North Western Museum of Inland Navigation Ltd in 1971.  They were very concerned that the old working craft of the canals and rivers would completely disappear as the nature of the waterway system changed from freight transport to leisure use.

They opened their first public exhibition, staffed entirely by volunteers, in the summer of 1976. The principal aim of the society is the preservation of the historic boats, skills, knowledge and way of life of the waterways.

The museum developed and expanded, and is now the National Waterways Museum (formerly the Boat Museum), and the society continues to actively support it.  It’s now operated by the Canal & River Trust, which also runs museums at Gloucester and Stoke Bruerne.  The society, now called the Boat Museum Society (BMS), is based at the National Waterways Museum (NWM), but our members live all over the UK.

Some members enjoy giving practical support, for example:

• helping to care for Gifford and Worcester;
• demonstrating waterways related crafts;
• helping with restoration projects;
• interesting work in the museum archives;
• talking to visitors about the boats; and
• guiding parties of visitors around the museum.

BMS meets monthly from September through to May, usually in the Rolt Centre at the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port.  Meetings range from talks, films and lectures by experts in various waterway topics to more informal social events.

We also produce the Waterways Journal, an annual publication, containing historical articles and waterway research.

We own and maintain two of the working boats based at the museum.

Gifford is a restored Clayton tar boat. Each summer it attends events throughout the country towed by a horse or motor boat. This gives members the opportunity to learn the skills of operating a pair of boats.

 Worcester is a tunnel tug, restored with the aid of a Heritage Lottery Fund grantPicture of tunnel tug Worcester




A company (No.1028599) limited by guarantee and not having a share capital.
Registered in England as a charity (No. 501593)

Web site designed by BMS © copyright notice

Back to top