Happy 200th Birthday, Regent’s Canal (working title)
An outline project proposal for a floating celebration of the Regent’s Canal

The Regent’s Canal was opened on 1st August 1820. In 200 years it has witnessed phenomenal changes in London and in its own role as a thoroughfare through the city. A waterway purely for commerce has endured failure, success, neglect and finally a transformation into a vital green space in the city providing a home to a new community of boaters.

The story of its journey and that of the people connected with it surely deserves to be shared and celebrated with Londoners and its thousands of visitors.

A floating celebration?

Planning for celebratory events is in its early stages. The Canal and River Trust (CRT) has convened a working party and initiatives such as a festival in Mile End are being discussed. The London Canal Museum will likely be acknowledging the bicentenary with exhibitions and events.

These are, however, fixed location events. The Regent’s Canal stretches through London and is used and visited at a number of locations along its length. By locating a project on a boat travelling along the canal, many more Londoners and visitors will be able to learn about and appreciate the canal. A barge will be attractive venue and in tune with the very essence of the waterway.

Telling the story
Plans include the creation of an exhibition and video detailing the history of the waterway from the early days of commercial traffic through to its position now as a vibrant linear park and home of a new waterway culture. Fiodra is well equipped to be a platform for films, talks, walks and many activities in partnership with others. The content and thrust of the content will be determined in liaison with partners/stakeholders.

Where and when
The Mile End event coincides with the opening date of the canal, August 1st 1820. It is proposed that Barge Fiodra tours the Regent’s Canal during June and July in the lead-up to the Mile End event. Suitable mooring locations have been identified and can be secured with the support of the Canal and River Trust

Partnerships will be sought, at an early stage, with organisations including: The London Canal Museum, The Regent’s Canal Heritage Project and the Canal and River Trust.

Barge Fiodra
Barge Fiodra has been operating as a floating arts centre for three years. It contains a purpose-built activity space with gallery lighting, projection facilities and seating for live events. Fiodra is licensed and insured for on-board visitors. Fiodra is managed by Bob Chase, an experienced venue and arts manager.

Barge Fiodra hosted screenings of historic films of the Regent’s Canal in 2018 and will be hosting an exhibition by the Regent’s Canal Heritage Project at the Angel Canal Festival in September 2019.

Funding will be required to meet the costs of: the exhibition creation and video, operating cost of Barge Fiodra (6-8 weeks), the cost of any accompanying events. A detailed budget will be produced in a more detailed proposal if this outline is well received by partners and key stakeholders.

There is potential for commercial sponsorship, in particular from building development companies operating alongside the canal. Fiodra has contacts to approach in three major developers.

Next Steps
Reactions to this proposal will be gathered during August-Sept 2019 and revisions made. Comment, discussion and advice welcomed. It is hoped a decision on viability can be made before the end of 2019.

This outline proposal was created by Bob Chase, the owner of Barge Fiodra. Please note that this is a speculative proposal intended for potential project partners and stakeholders.
Bob Chase - Barge Fiodra, bob@fiodra.co.uk