It is with the greatest pleasure that I can finally blog about the successful lifting of the rare surviving historic Mersey flat Mossdale from her watery bed, after an estimated 30-year slumber…HOORAY!
As part of the development phase, the Window on the World project team have accomplished the complex task of lifting the dangerously fragile Mossdale out of the upper basin at the museum to safety on a supportive structure, designed specially by Commercial Boat Services. And what a spectacular day it was….
When I rolled up at the museum that morning, I was taken aback by the sheer size of the crane – a monstrous 600 tonner, ready to bear the weight of our frail flat. A stroke of luck meant that the grey wilted skies and wintery storms had subsided (thank goodness!) and the lift could finally go ahead as planned.
We were left with glorious blue skies coated in fluffy clouds, with rays of sunlight peeking out over the site; though this still wasn’t enough to frighten off the icy temperatures! Yet, undeterred by the frost, dozens of spectators gathered around the lifting area to wait for Mossdale’s big moment - a heart-warming display of support to thaw the chill of the cold, crisp winter’s morning.
I had brought my beloved camera with me to capture some shots of the lift in action. I took endless snaps as the super-skilled crane and lifting teams carried out all the necessary precautions in preparation for the occasion. Chris Kay, of the Boat Museum Society and Window on the World project team, had set up his filming equipment early that morning to record the entire lifting operation (film can be seen here!)
I must admit, I awaited the lift with a degree of trepidation – although so much hard work and preparation had gone into the moving of Mossdale, the situation still seemed pretty precarious. This was an estimated 150-year old, 72-foot, all-wooden Mersey flat in a very poor condition… Let’s face it; lifting one of these doesn’t happen every day!
Nevertheless my worries were for naught; the team of experts had put everything in position for the lift and slowly but surely our historic Mersey flat Mossdale began to rise from her canal dwellings. As she was lifted high above our heads, I felt such a surge of relief. The humungous crane rotated steadily and the fragile vessel was carefully transported to the safety of her new home – her support framework, located beside the Porter’s Row cottages – whilst she awaits her prospective conservation.
Massive thanks to all those involved in the planning, preparation and operation of the lift, not just on the day but in the many months leading up to it. I even got the chance to clamber up onto the support structure and look inside the Mossdale, courtesy of the HMS Test & Inspection – and I managed to grab a quick snap of some of the lifting team beside Mossdale (see below!)
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you’ll know that Mossdale is to be conserved and displayed on the newly developed slipway area as part of the Window on the World project. We’re now submitting our Round 2 bid to Heritage Lottery Fund in May – if successful, we’ll be awarded with the funding to secure the future of our rare surviving Mersey flat Mossdale and exhibit her on the historic slipway area – where she may well have been repaired or maintained during her career as a cargo-carrier on the North West’s waterways.
To find out more, please read my previous blog posts and keep checking back for updates…Until next time!
The National Waterways Museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of artefacts that tell the story of Britain’s canals and navigable rivers over the last 300 years. With sites at Ellesmere Port and Gloucester, the museum holds over 12,000 historic objects and 68 historic boats and is designated by the Arts Council England as of national importance. The National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port is also home to the Waterways Archive including over 100,000 papers, drawings photographs, plans and books relating to the waterways – a vital part of our national cultural heritage.
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