Seibe Gorman diving suit

In the first of our highlighted stories we hear from Georgina Wilson-Williams, collections officer based at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port.

Helmet, pump pressure and weighted shoe Helmet, pump pressure and weighted shoe

Georgina has chosen a Seibe Gorman diving suit from the turn of the century. The item was used by the Manchester Ship Canal Company. Little information is known about this diving suit but it was likely used during the building and maintenance of the Manchester Ship Canal, where diving would regularly been required to check depth levels and erosion.

Pump testing, diving suit

Georgina was drawn to this item as she is a keen recreational diver, its unusualness in the collection interested her - we’re more likely to encounter diving suits in deep water exploration than in our inland waterways.

In Georgina’s role as collections officer she gets to spend a lot of time with items from the Canal & River Trust collection, particularly objects which are not on display. She is able to encounter the full extent of the diving suit (13 parts in total) in great detail, including a 12-bolt copper & brass helmet, breast weights, air pipes, weighted shoes and duel air pump. She able to see it’s exquisite craftmanship, but also imagine the trepidation that would have accompanied wearing such an item in the dark and murky waters of the busy shipping canal.

Listen to Georgina

To find out more about this item, hear Georgina’s thoughts on what it was like for those wearing it.

Last date edited: 5 October 2021