National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port

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Crane at the Boat Museum

The National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port is situated at the northern end of the Shropshire Union Canal where it meets the Manchester Ship Canal at Ellesmere Port in Cheshire, England (grid reference SJ406771). The museum contains the largest collection of canal boats in the world.[1]

History[edit]

The museum site occupies the former canal port covering an area of 7 acres (3 ha) where the Shropshire Union Canal joined the River Mersey. The canal port was designed by Thomas Telford under the direction of William Jessop was in use until the 1950s. It consisted of a system of locks, docks and warehouses and a pump and engine room.[2] A toll house was built in 1805.[3] The Island Warehouse was built in 1871 to store grain.[4]

Museum[edit]

The museum, on the site of the canal port, contains the elements present in the port, including the locks, docks and warehouses. The Island Warehouse has an exhibition on the history of boat-building and another describing the social history of canals.[4] The Pump House contains the steam-driven pumping engines which supplied power for the hydraulic cranes and the capstans which were used around the dock,[5] and the Power Hall contains a variety of other engines.[6] The blacksmith's forge was where the ironwork for the canal and its boats was made. A resident blacksmith works in the forge.[7] The stables which housed the horses and pigs are still present.[8] The former toll house hosts temporary and touring exhibitions.[3] The Waterways Archive contains a wide range of material relating to waterways in Britain and abroad.[9] A terrace of four houses known as Porter's Row contains dock workers' cottages which have been decorated and furnished to represent different periods from the 1840s to the 1950s.[10] The museum contains a collection of historic boats.[11] Short boat trips along the Shropshire Union Canal are arranged.[12] The museum is open at advertised times throughout the year.[13]

The locks within the museum site are designated by English Heritage as Grade II listed buildings.[14] Also listed at Grade II are the lighthouse at the entry of the canal into the Mersey,[15] and a lock keeper's hut.[16]

In 2010, the museum was one of three featured on the BBC Four series Behind the Scenes at the Museum.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ellesmere Port (formerly the Boat Museum), The Waterways Trust, archived from the original on 7 September 2007, retrieved 29 August 2013 
  2. ^ "Explore the Site". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "Toll House gallery". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Island Warehouse". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  5. ^ "The Pump House". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  6. ^ "The Power Hall". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  7. ^ "Blacksmith's Forge". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  8. ^ "Stables". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  9. ^ "Collections & Archives". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  10. ^ "Porter's Row". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  11. ^ "Historic Boat Collection". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  12. ^ "Daily boat trips aboard Centaur". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2008. 
  13. ^ "Visiting Ellesmere Port". National Waterways Museum. Retrieved November 2008. 
  14. ^ English Heritage, "Two wide and two narrow locks between the upper and lower canal dock basins, Ellesmere Port (1139013)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 29 August 2013 
  15. ^ English Heritage, "Lighthouse (marking entrance from Mersey Estuary to Shropshire Union Canal before Ship Canal was built), Ellesmere Port (1130345)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 29 August 2013 
  16. ^ English Heritage, keeper's hut between Lower Mersey Street and lower dock basin, Ellesmere Port "Details from listed building database (11303Lock keeper's hut between Lower Mersey Street and lower dock basin, Ellesmere Port)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 29 August 2013 
  17. ^ BBC Four: Behind the Scenes at the Museum: National Waterways Museum (accessed 28 May 2010)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°17′17″N 2°53′31″W / 53.288°N 2.892°W / 53.288; -2.892