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News article created on 24 July 2013

Historic weighing machine begins journey home

Work has begun to relocate a historic canal weighing machine from The Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne to the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea this summer.

We’re delighted to be returning the weighing machine to Wales to form a centrepiece of a new feature at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea. Dale Copley

The machine, which is the only remaining example in existence, was built for and used on the Glamorganshire Canal, and is returning to Wales to allow it to be better interpreted in its national context. The National Waterfront Museum in Swansea has some exciting plans to install the weighing bridge as part of an upcoming redevelopment of its Courtyard Garden. 

Dale Copley, museums collections manager at the Canal & River Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be returning the weighing machine to Wales to form a centrepiece of a new feature at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea. Historic objects such as this tell their story better when they are in their right context, so we’re pleased that the long running plans to move this machine have come to fruition.”

The machine came to The Canal Museum in 1963 and has sat in a disused lock on the Grand Union Canal ever since. Weighing machines weighed a boat and its cargo to assess how much toll the boat should be charged for its passage along the canal.

Steph Mastoris, head of the National Waterfront Museum said: “The Museum is excited at the prospect of displaying and interpreting this landmark Welsh-designed and Welsh-manufactured weighing machine which, at 180 years old, is the last surviving canal boat weighing machine in the country.” 

Relocating the weighing machine will mean that station boat May, currently displayed sitting inside the weighing machine, will be relocated elsewhere along the canal at Stoke Bruerne and will remain an important part of the collection of The Canal Museum.

There will also be an opportunity for the better interpretation of the lock area at Stoke Bruerne and the local waterway partnership is developing interpretation plans.