The National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port has been awarded a grant of £790,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and £122,161 from AIM Biffa Award grant scheme as well as invaluable match funding of over £50,000 from the Wolfson Foundation. This support will fund three key initiatives as part of the museum’s ‘Window on the World’ project.
The National Waterways Museum project’s vision is to tell the story of Ellesmere Port as a ‘Window on the World’ – a once thriving port, which was an important transhipment facility between canal craft and seagoing ships.
Ellesmere Port provided a link from the 2,000 miles of inland waterways to the River Mersey estuary and the world markets beyond. The town’s prime location enabled its transformation into an industrial powerhouse, which played a pivotal role in the industrialisation of the North West.
The funding has provided new visitor experiences using the latest in augmented reality to experience life through the eyes of the real 19th century workers. Meet carpenter Henry Leadbetter, boatwoman Harriet Price and superintendent Levi William Lindop who made their living in the docks.
The first strand has brought new exhibtions and displays on the derelict, historic slipway which occupies a unique position overlooking the River Mersey Estuary and Manchester Ship Canal.
As well as re-vitalising the museum, this grant will enhance our educational programme, and bring the history of the waterways alive. The other elements of the project has cared for two of the most nationally important boats in the museum’s collection – Mossdale and George. Both will now be used to inspire new audiences about the history of wide boats and their role in the industrial development of the North West region.
Mossdale, the last remaining all-wooden ‘Mersey flat’, has been preserved and is now on display at the museum. The preservation of Mossdale has been made possible by the grant from the Wolfson Foundation.
George, a rare-surviving horse-drawn ‘short boat’ has been fully restored back to working order and will return to her original role as a working wide boat. Rather than carrying cargoes, George will offer a varied programme of activities and unique learning opportunities as part of a community outreach and education project on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and at the museum during the winter months.
Through these working boats, the project has celebrated the lives of the many ordinary people upon whose efforts the Industrial Revolution was built and encourage people of all ages to engage with their waterways heritage and the rich industrial history of the North West.
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Last date edited: 11 April 2017