London Boating Bulletin: May

Here's hoping for a glorious Bank Holiday weekend. There's lots happening on the waterways, this weekend and throughout June.


London Waterway Partnership meets aboard Jena

The London Waterway Partnership met aboard Jena this month for an update on their projects. Notes of the meeting will shortly be available. Jena’s a great little meeting space and we hope you will have the opportunity to see her at many of this year’s canal festivals around the London waterways.

Learning the ropes aboard Jena

Jena has had a busy few weeks, with a boater event held at Victoria Park one sunny Saturday morning in April to meet Trust staff and talk about what makes a happy boating community – safely and securely tying your boat featured highly! A big thank you to the NBTA’s Helen Brice, who ably led a discussion on how we can all think of others and what we can do to boat safely and considerately.

Stewart, one of our Operations team members, then led a towpath rope tying workshop to literally show people the ropes! If you have any ideas of other events that could be hosted on Jena on the towpath near you, let us know! How about looking after your batteries, or keeping safe from crime? All ideas to

London Mooring Strategy engagement launched

We welcomed over 85 people to our first event to kick off the development of the London Mooring Strategy on Tuesday 24 May, at the Holiday Inn Camden Lock. This is the very start of the engagement process, which aims to hear from all the different users of the Trust’s London waterways and identify a shared vision and the ingredients of a fair and successful strategy.

The strategy will be developed through engagement with users, stakeholders and partners and an analysis of what needs to be improved and which partners can help us. A big thank you to everyone who attended, as this discussion-filled evening resulted in lots of mapping and masses of information about what this diverse group of interests feels is important for those who use, live on and live around the waterways.

We’ll be producing a workshop report in the next couple of weeks which will be sent to all participants and posted on our London Waterway web pages. This is the start of the process, so watch out for more opportunities to get involved, with a programme of local authority engagement and key stakeholder meetings being arranged. If you or the organisation you’re involved in hasn’t been formally invited to participate, please contact

Carpenters Road Lock

Joanna Steele has joined the Trust as the Heritage Activities Officer who will coordinate activities to promote learning and participation in the heritage of Carpenters Road Lock. The lock has laid hidden, disused and little known for over 40 years. Its restoration, through a Heritage Lottery Funded project, will bring a forgotten piece of local heritage out of the shadow of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and make it visible for people to experience, understand and celebrate once again.

Joanna studied sculpture and loves all things arts, heritage and culture with a long held passion for boats, which has all come together in her new role. If you’re interested in this restoration and programme of activities, please get in touch with Joanna at

vInspired Eco Talent launches

vInspired Eco Talent is a new social action and personal development programme funded by Our Bright Future and led by vInspired, the UK’s leading youth volunteering charity. The Canal & River Trust is a delivery partner on the programme and will be offering placements to 60 young people aged 16-25 over the next 3 years. Marlon Gibbins has joined us to lead on this.


Four cohorts of 15 young volunteers will complete 3-4 days of practical conservation work, social action and team-building activities per week for 6 months. The first cohort will be in East London. Email for more information.

Consultation on winter works

Each winter, we take the opportunity of reduced cruising activity to concentrate effort on essential repairs and maintenance to the canals. In many cases we have to close the waterway and occasionally the towpath.

Before we carry out our winter maintenance programme we like to consult the people who use our waterways. We want to make sure that our winter stoppages cause as little disruption as possible.

The first draft of our winter maintenance programme is available online. Please take the time to look through the plans and give us any feedback.

In London, we’re looking at the following navigation closures:

  • Brick Lock on the River Stort from 31 October to 21 December
  • Bridge 7D on the Paddington Arm from 18 November to 20 December
  • Bridge 23 on the Lee Navigation from 28 November to 15 January
  • Maida Hill Tunnel on the Regent’s on 6 December
  • Millwall Cutting Bridge in Docklands from 16 to 19 December
  • St Pancras Lock on the Regent’s from 16 January to 24 February

You can comment on each stoppage via the website.

Looking for a ‘red cheeked’ bondage fan

We’re offering to reunite the owner of a bag of bondage gear with their kinky kit after it was scooped from the Regent’s! Handcuffs, a harness, collar and paddles were among the contents of the sack, which was hauled out of the water by the Trust's cleaning boat.

A spokesman, who asked not to be identified, said “How all this equipment ended up in the canal is anyone’s guess. It’s certainly one of the more unusual finds on the waterways. We’re used to working with locks and paddles, but not this sort.”

Over the past five years, we have discovered a number of unusual things including an unexploded World War Two hand grenade, a 16ft dead python, a Volkswagen Camper Van and a pizza delivery bike complete with a soggy pizza. Other items include a bus stop sign, seven unopened safes and a bubble machine.

Anyone wishing to reclaim the kinky kit is being encouraged to do so quickly, before it is disposed of.

New graffiti removal machine is doing the job

Removing graffiti from the canals and rivers has always been a challenge. You need a bit of kit that effectively removes the paint whilst leaving the surface undamaged. In London we’ve started working with Restorative Techniques, a specialist company, which is based in the UK, using a machine they’ve developed to produce superheated water at temperatures up to 150 degrees. We’ve been really impressed with the results and here’s some photos showing recent successes:


Canal festival in Bishop’s Stortford

Bishop's Stortford Carnival and Canal Festival will be taking place on Saturday 18 June. It's a celebration of everything that is good about Bishop's Stortford and promises to be a great day out for all ages.

Over 100 organisations are taking part, including community groups, charities, local businesses and touring attractions bringing a variety of entertainment for children and adults. Mooring will be suspended on the Bishop's Stortford visitor moorings from 15 June to 20 June 2016. Please see local signs.

Plans for this Bank Holiday weekend?

The Limehouse Social is back and better than ever! Come to Limehouse Basin (E14 7JZ) from noon to 5pm on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 May and enjoy a cosmopolitan range of food ranging from the wonderfully earthy delicacies of Rastaawala to the fusion flavours of Falafel Queen. There will be cultural events reflecting the diversity of the area and its heritage.

The Tottenham Ploughman Riverfest is a celebration of the capital’s waterways on Sunday 29 May from 11am to 6pm at the Lordship Rec (N17). There will be a crayfish boil, sculptures from Marilyn Collins, games of Pooh Sticks with music from the Haringey Young Musicians Big Band, Hackney Colliery Band and Tottenham Community Choir.

East End Canal Festival: 26 June

The Lower Regent’s Coalition and Laburnum Boat Club are hosting their East End Canal Festival on Sunday 26 June at the Art Pavilion, Mile End Park. The event will celebrate and promote the canals as a community asset for the East End. It promises to be a great day out.

A sownder of swans at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

The Lee and Stort Boat Company Limited have recently received a bevy of beautiful new pedalos. They’ll be trialling the new team over the summer.

HMS Duncan visits Docklands

HMS Duncan squeezed in to the ship lock at the entrance to West India Docks. She was here for a fascinating open day and looked fantastic:

A tale of two cities…

The team here in London recently hosted colleagues from the West Midlands Waterway, who work across the busy areas of Birmingham, Wolverhampton and the Black Country as well as rural South Staffordshire and Warwickshire. The exchange was a great opportunity for people with similar roles to share ideas and explore different approaches to similar challenges.  

Richard Parry visits London for Waterways Alive

Richard Parry, the Trust’s chief executive, was also in town judging the capital’s finalists in our Waterways Alive Awards. These are our annual internal awards celebrating work that helps to move the Trust towards its vision that living waterways transform places and enrich lives.

From Jena, Richard saw the Regent’s Canal waterway wall repairs at Bow before cruising round to the fabulous work at the Skyway Community Garden on the Haggerston Riviera. He then joined volunteers promoting our “Share the Space, Drop your Pace” campaign on the towpath.


It’s a happy 50th birthday to the Pirate Castle!

This year the Pirate Castle is celebrating its 50th Anniversary at its famous Castle on the banks of the Regent's Canal in Camden and will be welcoming visitors young and old to an Open Day to try their hand at canoeing and kayaking, take a canal boat trip, enjoy some food, play some games or browse some stalls. The event is family friendly and entrance is free, at the Pirate Castle, NW1 7EA on Saturday 11 June from noon to 6pm.

Finally … happy birthday to the Lee & Stort Cruising Club too!

We understand that the Lee & Stort Cruising Club celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. Enjoy your summer celebrations!

Stoppages and notices

There's plenty of maintenance and repair work going on this month. Find out about the latest stoppages and notices in the region.

We also tweet our notices from @CRTLondon.


Last date edited: 27 May 2016

About this blog

London & South East Regional Bulletin

Sorwar Ahmed is Boating Manager for the Canal & River Trust's London & South East region. He engages with our customers and communities to improve boating serivces and the experience of the waterways for everyone! In this Bulletin he gives a regular round-up of news and views, essential reading for boaters and anyone with an interest in the waterways of London & the South East.

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