Open House Festival

The Electric Barge (Beauchamp), Grand Union Canal


Abels Shipbuilders, 2000

The Electric Barge (Beauchamp), Grand Union Canal, W2 6NA

The Electric Barge is a wide-beam canal boat moored in Paddington. The barge (with fully electric propulsion) was purpose designed and built for use as canal based classroom 20 years ago, operating as a charity: The Floating Classroom.

Getting there


Warwick Avenue, Paddington




46, 36, 205, 16, 18




About the Electric Barge & the Floating Classroom

The Electric Barge (Beauchamp) is a wide-beam canal barge with fully electric propulsion, moored in Paddington. Purpose designed and built by Abel's Shipbuilders for use as a water-based classroom, the boat is currently the home of the Floating Classroom. A social enterprise, the Electric Barge, supports this charitable activity through the private hire of the boat for events.

The Floating Classroom is operated by The Beauchamp Lodge Settlement (BLS), a small charity working in North Westminster since 1938.

Our mission today is to help people from a diverse range of backgrounds achieve their full potential by providing transformational learning experiences that broaden horizons and build confidence.

These imaginative, engaging and fun learning experiences are delivered on the Floating Classroom aboard the Electric Barge, a purpose-built electric propulsion wide-beam moored in Little Venice near Paddington Station.

We encourage curiosity, take delight in discovery and forge a sense of kinship with the natural world for people living in the city. The Floating Classroom addresses the need for out-of-classroom and outdoors learning experiences for children, young people and families living in London.

Since launching in 2001, we have welcomed around 55,000 learners on board.

2020 Mural by Katrina Russell-Adams

The Electric Barge is currently decorated with a mural created by artist Katrina Russell-Adams - known for her dynamic prints, murals, installations & sculpture.

Katrina explained her inspiration for the piece:

"This piece is inspired by London canal landmarks, history, architecture and space; each abstracted shape has a waterways origin. Amongst others, the mural includes a nod to Maida Hill Tunnel, Camden Lock, the original barge-loading buildings, the Battleship Building at Paddington and the Cedric Price / Snowdon Aviary at London Zoo. The design celebrates the heritage of the water way.”

This new look was part of The Electric Barge's response to the Covid-19 lockdown. After a tough few months, we wanted to burst back into life when we reopened. Katrina's work embodies our positive intent.

Drop-In & Bookable Trips on Sunday 10th September

The Electric Barge will be open for drop-ins: 11am – 1pm and 3pm – 5pm.

We’ll also be running short bookable trips (listed as ‘walking tours’ on our programme page) around Little Venice at 1pm and 2pm.

This is an opportunity to experience an environmentally friendly canal cruise on one of the largest vessels on London’s canals and to take in some of the architecture that inspired the stunning mural by Katrina Adams that currently decorates our boat.

Our bar will also be open for hot and cold refreshments throughout the day.

Finding Us

Because we're a boat, sometimes it can be a little tricky to find us. We're listed on Google Maps:

You can also use this address to find a café right next to the boat's mooring: 6C Sheldon Square, London W2 6EZ

Online presence


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