london canal museum kings cross london n1 feature image

Charming London Canal Museum Kings Cross London N1

Situated at Kings Cross, London N1, the London Canal Museum offers an engaging insight into the city’s canal heritage. This museum showcases the rich history of London’s canals, including the cargoes they transported, the people who thrived alongside them, and the sturdy horses that towed the boats. It also delves deep into London’s ice industry. Indeed, it stands as London’s sole museum dedicated to its inland waterways. If you‘re looking for quirky London museums or the best things to do in Kings Cross, visit the London Canal Museum.

london canal museum kings cross cargo

“It’s not the most polished or organised of museums, but therein lies its charm. If you’re in the area, take a quick tour, and you might learn something new!” Homegirl London.

London Canal Museum Highlights

london canal museum kings cross ice cream bike

Housed in a 19th-century ice warehouse, the museum tells the tale of its builder, the ice cream magnate Carlo Gatti. He was a Swiss national who migrated to England in 1847 and ventured into various businesses, from restaurants and ice importation to the music hall industry. Recognised as the pioneer who introduced ice cream to the masses, Gatti’s famous ice cream cart is displayed on the museum’s ground floor.

london canal museum kings cross ice cream making

Moreover, the museum sheds light on London’s 19th-century ice trade. With the domestic production proving insufficient, the city turned to imports, predominantly from the US during the 1840s and later from Norway. Gatti’s first massive ice shipment, 400 tons, arrived from Norway in 1857.

london canal museum kings cross ice well

Two monumental ice wells at 12-13 New Wharf Road were likely constructed to store this ice. These wells served various purposes, from food preservation and ice cream production to medical applications. Visitors can behold one preserved well in the museum’s public area.

london canal museum kings cross canal boat kitchen

Experience life on a narrowboat by entering its snug cabin, featuring a petite kitchen, but mind your head! The cupboards were cleverly designed to open up and create a table and bed.

london canal museum kings cross roses and castles items

The museum also celebrates the canal’s decorative art, “roses and castles”. Witness the beauty of this artistry on kettles and other artefacts both within the narrowboat and in museum exhibits. For enthusiasts, the gift shop offers a range of items flaunting this unique decoration.

london canal museum horse

If you venture upstairs, you’ll discover storyboards telling you more about the canals, along with maps. The kids will enjoy seeing the horse (it’s not real!), which shows how vital horsepower was to the canals until the 1920s. This floor was once a stable for the ice-cart horses.

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Helpful Information About The London Canal Museum

london canal museum kings cross gift shop mugs

For a detailed understanding, visit the London Canal Museum website. Located at 12-13 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RT, it’s just a stroll from Kings Cross and St Pancras stations. Don’t forget to check out the quaint gift shop during your visit. They are closed on Mondays except on bank holiday Mondays, from Tuesday to Sunday the hours are 10 am until 4 pm. It costs £7 for adults, £5.50 for concessions, £3.50 for children (7-15) and £15 for family tickets. You may be interested in the boat trips; there are four different itineraries: tunnel boat trips, long boat trips to Little Venice in West London or Victoria Park and cream tea cruises.

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Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: Homegirl London.