history-1024x1024In the early 1990s an informal group of boaters established a small community at an old gas works basin near Ladbroke Grove, between Sainsbury’s and the gas towers. Attached to it were 10 acres of wasteland: it was a lawless area which was known to be dangerous. People wouldn’t dare to walk alone along the canal beyond Sainsbury’s and it was a no-go area after dark.

KRAB arose out of a need for a collective means of representation for the boaters who managed to secure the whole site with the help of British Gas. The site was transformed from an area that was completely wild into a safe and secure site as well as the establishing the basic amenities of water and rubbish collection.

KRAB created a safe-haven for its core of founder members as well as a multitude of visitors who were able to use the moorings to fix their boats and benefit from mutual support. Anyone familiar with the area now will know what a pleasant and well-used stretch of the canal it is, thanks in no small part to the work of KRAB.

After a few years, a proposed development in the basin forced KRAB to move elsewhere and in 2001 they arrived at the current location at Mitre Wharf, further west along the canal, bordering the historic Kensal Green cemetery. Once again this was a neglected stretch of the waterway which required a lot of work.

Having secured a grant from the London Development Agency, the initial development of Mitre Wharf Moorings was a joint endeavour between the LDA, British Waterways (now the Canal & River Trust) and KRAB.

KRAB undertook the design, funding and project management and soon transformed the site from a derelict wasteland to a haven for wildlife, providing affordable community-run moorings with an emphasis on low-impact sustainable practices.

Playing a positive role in people’s lives has continued to be a guiding principle for KRAB who have helped boaters outside of the association by providing temporary winter moorings as well as access to water and waste disposal.