Canal & River Trust staff and volunteers at the National Waterways Museum were delighted to see the start of the ‘Window on the World’ project get underway at the National Waterways Museum this week. ‘George’, a rare surviving Leeds & Liverpool Canal horse-drawn boat was lifted out of the water for its journey to the full restoration.
The project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will also fund new interactive displays and activities for visitors on Ellesmere Port’s derelict historic slipway which occupies a unique position overlooking the River Mersey Estuary and Manchester Ship Canal. The project will include the preservation of ‘Mossdale’ – the last remaining all-wooden ‘Mersey flat’.
George, a rare-surviving horse-drawn ‘short boat’ will be fully restored to its original condition as a working wide boat. She will be repainted and her ‘back cabin’ decorated in period style to recreate the scene of a working boatman’s cabin in the early 20th century. Rather than carrying coal, George will become a feature on the canal network spending the summer on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal as part of a community outreach and education project, and returning to the Museum in the winter.
The Canal & River Trust’s Head of Museums Graham Boxer, said: “This is a very exciting time for the museum as the project gets underway. The vision is to tell the story of Ellesmere Port, as the ‘Window on the World’ – a once thriving port which was an important facility between canal craft and seagoing ships.”
“We’re looking forward to interpreting the story of wide boats to visitors to the museum and offering a more complete history of the site with the restoration of the Slipway and the historic buildings in this area.”
In prime location, the most complete inland dock system, Ellesmere Port enabled its transformation into an industrial powerhouse, and it played a pivotal role in the industrialization of the North West. The site is now home to The National Waterway Museum which houses the national waterway collection and archive, and showcases the history of the canals and the lives and times of the people who worked on them.
For more information on visiting the museum please visit canalrivertrust.org.uk/nwm or telephone 0151 355 5017.