Like all great things, the concept is simple: two huge water tanks (caissons), each with watertight sealable doors, carry boats up and down. The original counter-balanced system was replaced in 1908 by electric operation, but the lift now works hydraulically again.
But no description can adequately convey the sheer scale of this engineering feat – although our Visitor Centre, opened in 2002 as part of the lift’s restoration, has a jolly good go.
The lower level houses the free exhibition, looking at the lift’s history and the people who worked on and around it. The exhibition has lots of interactive, hands on elements and our cinematic centrepiece.
You can even see the lift control centre within the exhibition, allowing you to watch all the busy goings on during its daily schedule.
You’ll be able to explore the history of the local area and learn about the origins of the saying ‘any man worth his salt’, as well as uncover some of the fascinating artifacts from our designated ‘museum collection’.
Designated of national importance by Arts Council England, most of our ‘museum collection’ is housed within the National Waterway Museum at Ellesmere Port and Gloucester. However, you can also find important, treasured items on loan here at Anderton Boat Lift Visitor Centre, Standedge Tunnel Visitor Centre and at the Canal Museum, Stoke Bruerne. Together it forms the most comprehensive collection of artefacts that tell the story of Britain’s canals and navigable rivers over the last 300 hundred years. The collection consists of over 12,000 objects – including 68 historic boats and the national waterways archive, which alone occupies nearly 1 km of space.
Just one of the two caissons on the Boat Lift weighs 252 tonnes - that's the equivalent of TWO & a half empty Boeing 757 planes (before fuelling, passengers & cargo). Each caisson lifts & lowers the tank 50 feet in the air - that's a lot of weight! Anderton Boat Lift
Last date edited: 18 April 2017