Dozens of boats from around the country will be heading to the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port for the annual Easter Boat Gathering (14 to 17 April). This year the event is celebrating its 40th anniversary with colourful narrowboats and barges taking centre stage while the museum comes alive with music, theatre and activities for the whole family.
Music fans can look forward to a weekend of performances from some of the folk scene’s finest. The line-up includes: award-winning folk artist Phil Underwood, popular duo Mick Ryan and Paul Downes and Chester-based five-piece Full House. They will be joined by local folk band and regular visitors to the museum - the Wirral Singers and Ringers.
Waterway history will be explored by Heather Wastie and Kate Saffin in ‘Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways’. Idle Women were nick-named from the initials they wore whilst volunteering on the Inland Waterways during the Second World War. Heather and Kate look at their fascinating, but rarely told story through theatre, poetry and music.
Visitors can research their own unique waterway history in the Waterways Archive – a national collection of thousands of items, including documents, diaries, letters and photographs.
Children and families can enjoy music created just for them by David Gibb, with the chance to sing and play along. Meanwhile open music sessions with other local and visiting folk musicians will offer the floor to anyone willing to share their tuneful talents.
Graham Boxer, Head of Museums for the Canal & River Trust (the charity that runs the museum) says: “The Easter Boat Gathering is always a special event as it marks the official start of the main boating season. But this year is even more notable as it marks four decades of coming together at the museum. Music and performance is integral to our waterway heritage and we’re delighted to have so many great performers joining us to entertain those who have travelled the canals and waterways to be with us. We look forward to a memorable long weekend.”
The museum will be open for visitors with costumed interpreters bringing the Porters Row cottages and the Slipway to life. There will be behind the scenes tours by the museum’s Young Curators and volunteers plus a whole host of family activities. Boat trips on Centaur and accessible boat Over the Rainbow will also be available.
The entry form for anyone keen to enter their boat for the gathering is now available via canalrivertrust.org.uk/nwm or by calling the museum on 0151 355 5017.