Hazel will very soon have a Manager / Skipper !!

Chris Leah has been chosen for the position of Hazel Boat Manager / Skipper.
The role will start in November and will include the recruitment, training and deployment of volunteer crew and relief skippers.
If anyone is interested in these roles please do get in touch via the website.
Working with the Project Manager, Anne-Louise Black, Chris will also organise a programme of well-being and commercial trips which may last a single day or a week in length.
Other boat owners have already volunteered occasional help towing Hazel.
His work will enable Hazel to become a new sustainable social enterprise in Tameside.

Fantastic raffle – this dolls’ house and loads of furniture


Tickets are on sale at The Wooden Canal Boat Society‘s shop in Stamford Street, Ashton under Lyne


at Stalybridge Farmers Market this Sunday 14th September.

The raffle will be drawn at the shop on Dec. 1st.


The house itself is 2 foot by 17 inches and comes on a slightly larger tray for ease of movement.
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Winner should be able to collect from our shop but transport within Greater Manchester is available if a donation for fuel is given.

We Are Hiring!

Exciting times are just around the corner here at The Wooden Canal Boat Society

We are pleased to announce the role of Boat Manager / Skipper is now being recruited for

Please see here for more details

Our Recycling Trips are proving very popular in this beautiful sunshine
Please get in touch if you would like more information

Fun weekend in Whaley Bridge and Stalybridge

Recently the WCBS have had stalls at two events – Whaley Bridge Water Weekend which was held on 7th & 8th June and this past weekend, 21st & 22nd. when the Huddersfield Canal Society organised a boat-gathering as part of Stalybridge Carnival.
Both events were used to fund-raise with competitions and items for sale including pottery and old wood from Hazel all painted in traditional canal art style. Also we were able to highlight the work of the Society to the public. Many of the visitors, especially at Whaley Bridge, were boaters themselves and some interesting contacts were made; for instance the possibilities of tows for Hazel when she is up and running. Those who had little experience of canals were invited to come along on recycling trips to give them a taste of what boating’s about and, of course, help in the collection.
Overall, valuable funds were raised, new sponsors for Hazel came forward and information about the work of the Society was spread around by leaflet and chatting.

We’d like to give a big thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their time to help on these days. If you want to help at future events do contact Chris Leah – 07931952037. As well as helping it’s fun to get out and about and meet others in the Society.


The Wooden Canal Boat Society is about helping people that are experiencing loneliness and social exclusion, by providing volunteering and employment opportunities.

We do this through the preservation of historic wooden canal boats. This work engages people in a variety of activities, such as boat recycling trips, running a charity shop, boat restoration, repairs and maintenance, preserving the traditional boat building skills and the history surrounding the operation of these boats.

The boats offer respite for disadvantaged people and those suffering from poor mental health.

Hazel’s Special Day


Wooden Canal Boat Society

will be launching Narrowboat “Hazel” Into the canal!


Friday 3rd May 2013

Viewing available from the towpath side 100 yards east of lock 7W (near Tescos)

Followed by

An Evening of

Folk Dancing and Music

Live Music Provided by Tom Kitching & Friends

Comedy provided by “Your Dad”

Starts 7:30pm Friday May 3rd 2013


Hurst Community Centre

Kings Road



Adults £6 in advance, £7 on the door

Aged 15 and under £4 in advance, £5 on the door

Available from

Wooden Canal Boat Society Shop

173 Stamford Street



A Big Thank you to The Safety Group

I’d like to offer a big thank you to The Safety Group especially Stuart Beaumont for the time and effort spent in sending us Risk Assessment paperwork for all of the tools and conditions we encounter in the Boatyard these will help us make sure everyone works safely and responsibly for the foreseeable future.

Information about the company and the work they do can be found on their website


Wooden Canal Boat Society. – “New Lives from Old Boats”

The Wooden Canal Boat Society has the second largest collection of former working wooden canal boats in UK. Rather than simply restore and preserve them, The WCBS is finding new uses for these wonderful old boats, putting them to work on behalf of the local community and at the same time providing opportunities for people to learn new skills, meet people, make friends, do something useful and rewarding………………. Working with wooden boats can change peoples lives.

Tameside is an area of considerable deprivation with high levels of disadvantage, low income and health problems. Poverty, mental illness and social exclusion all too frequently impact together, affecting an individual’s ability to work efficiently, often resulting in unemployment or being confined to low status jobs and consequent loss of self esteem and confidence . Volunteering with Wooden Canal Boat Society can be a way of giving daily lives meaning and structure.


The Wooden Canal Boat Society has key projects:

  • Portland Basin Museum where we maintain and display our working wooden boats ( Lilith, Southam, Forget me Not, Queen and Eltham) and inform the public about the history of working boats, our canal heritage and the work of the WCBS.
  • Twice monthly working boat trips for community recycling.
  • The Wooden Canal Boat Society Charity Shop in Stamford Street
  • The restoration of “hazel” as a residential “wellbeing boat” at the Boatyard in Knowl Street.


The Wooden Canal Boat Society has up to 100 volunteers per year involved with these projects. Mainly living in Tameside, volunteering activities revolve around boat handling, boat building, maintenance and repair, “boat sitting” ,community recycling ( collection, sorting and sales), van driving, charity shop sales , tourist information, industrial heritage, marketing, project development and fund raising.


For some, volunteering with the Wooden Canal Boat Society is about getting out of the house and meeting new people and doing something useful. For others it is an opportunity to learn new skills and a route back to work. For some, it is putting their existing skills to work and “giving something back”…………and for many it is about “wellbeing” and reducing the risk of social isolation. Volunteering with WCBS helps people to be active, stay fit, live independently and remain healthy for longer………………………………………….and at the end of it, these historical wooden canal boats are retained as assets, working for the community, bringing our heritage back to life and filling our waterways with colour and sounds of enjoyment……………………”new lives” indeed, from old boats !