About Us

The Exeter Canal and Quay Trust (ECQT) was set up by the City Council as an independent charity in 1981, with a constitution that required that there would always be a majority of City Councillors on the Trustee body. The main reason for setting it up was to enable money to be raised and spent on the historic buildings on the Quay which did not count as part of the City Council’s capital programme in a time of austerity. 

For the first ten years or so, the emphasis was on raising funds and developing the buildings on the Quay and Canal Basin. The buildings developed and improved were:

  • North and South Warehouses
  • Crane Cellars
  • Wharfingers Office
  • Fish Quay and Antiques Centre
  • Maclaines Warehouses (roofing)
  • 60 Haven Road
  • Building adjacent to The Custom House

The Trust also raised the money to build the suspension bridge across the river.

In the early days the Trust also supported the Maritime Museum until its demise in the mid 1990’s. 

In the 1990’s, the Trust concentrated on running its property portfolio and supporting its tenants in the area. Several property deals were done involving the sale of longer leases or freeholds, which produced significant capital receipts. These form the basis of our financial position today.

After the millennium, we shifted to become more welcoming to grant applications. Over the years, we have contributed significant grants to local organisations, including Tuckers Hall in Fore Street and Devon Wildlife Trust for Cricklepit Mill. We have also made grants available to enable arts events to take place on the Quay, including the popular Jazz on the Quay, which takes place over the summer.

The most recent acquisition in our portfolio is The Custom House, which has been added to our lease by the City Council. Now a thriving hub of creativity, we support the venue and its continued operations through an ongoing revenue grant.

Read more:

The Trust and Trustees
History of the Trust
Current Programmes


Properties & Grants

Quay Businesses


Stylised map of Exeter Quay