Angel Boat in 1976

The Angel Boat is the working name of a charity (Angel Community Canal Boat Trust or ACCT).  This superseded the charity originally established in 1976 as Islington Narrow Boat Association (INBA) by Crystal Hale, a local resident who designed and had built, with funding from the London Borough of Islington and the then Inner London Education Authority, the first Angel of Islington. (See more photos in our archive collection.) The base then was and continues to be at City Road basin in Islington, London on the Regent’s Canal.

We are the only such project based within Islington. Now onto our second specially designed steel narrow boat we offer trips lasting from a few hours to a week.

Angel II of Islington

‘Angel II of Islington’ is a purpose built steel canal narrow boat, 72′ long, commissioned in April 2000, and funded by a generous private donation from John Herbert, brother of Crystal Hale who was responsible for setting up the charity and for the original ‘Angel’, and an additional contribution from the Cripplegate Foundation.

It is built to provide accommodation for up to 12 passengers and skipper on residential trips, but is also suitable for day trip use. (Note: The onerous legal and constructional requirements make carrying in excess of 12 passengers on a community boat impractical.)


ACCT is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity. Its 8 directors are the charity trustees and manage the operation. They are all volunteers and 5 are local residents.  ACCT has 1 full time employee – our skipper and project manager – and a number of volunteer helpers.


Many people think of Islington as a middle class/professional enclave in inner London.  In fact Islington is the 6th most deprived borough in England and 3rd amongst London boroughs, with 41% of pupils in school entitled to free school meals (against a national average of 21%) and for over 40% of pupils in primary schools English is not the language spoken at home (122 different languages other than English are spoken by pupils in Islington Schools). 48% of children in the borough are affected by financial deprivation and Islington has the highest rate of ‘looked after’ children of any local authority in England.  49% of the population of Islington live in social housing (against a London average of 26%).  Islington has the lowest life expectancy for men of all the London boroughs.  (For reference documents see our download page)

Diversity and opportunity is at the heart of our purpose in providing our services to the community around us.