With Mossdale’s lift fast approaching, it’s been all hands on deck (pun intended!) to get everything sorted ready for the Big Day. Due to her fragility, a bespoke support structure and cradle have been designed for her lift and now it’s merely a waiting game for these to be manufactured. Meanwhile, some exciting developments have been made regarding George’s prospective role as a heritage learning & outreach service on the canal…
George, as you may well know, is to be restored back to full working order as a Leeds & Liverpool Canal short boat, operating on the canal. However, instead of carrying coal to the collieries, George will offer the chance to jump on board and relive the days when working wide boats were a common sighting on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
Our vision is to bring George’s history to life through a unique programme of learning sessions, history talks and tours, activity workshops, displays, events and drama performances. There’s also talk of recreating the past on the canal, by having a horse tow George along parts of her journey from Wigan to Liverpool – a route she will no doubt be very familiar with!
Following a period of research, which included a towpath recce in the summertime, we decided that this was the best route for George’s eagerly-awaited journey to take. George will be able to revisit the areas which she would have regularly frequented during her coal-carrying career days, such as Burscough, Parbold and Wigan. This route also gives her the opportunity to join in the fun at a variety of public and community events based on and around the canal.
The project’s epic 125-page Activity Plan lays down all the aspiring ideas for the displays, sessions, workshops and performances during George’s time travelling on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal – time for another sneak preview? Oh go on then…
It’s planned that George’s tale will be told through interpretive displays which can be used both on board as well as in mini-marquees which may be positioned on the towpath when George is moored at various locations along her route. Think of her as a future “floating-museum-slash-classroom”!
Visitors will get to hear the many stories of L&L Canal boatmen and women and even take a peek in George’s cabin quarters. We’re hoping to dress her cabin as it would have looked like during her working days, to give people an authentic first-hand experience of what it was like to be a skipper of a wide boat on the L&L Canal.
Schools and youth and community groups will be able to choose from a range of engaging education and activity workshops on board George, giving them a unique learning experience out on the canal. These may be focused around George’s life story, boat building, horse boating, and coal carrying on the canals.
George will also play host to an entertaining programme of quirky canal side drama performances based on her rich heritage. So if all goes to plan, George will be able to add ‘floating theatre’ to her eclectic list of features!
If we can secure the funding to facilitate our plans, George will get the chance to resume her role as a hardworking wide boat on the North West’s inland waterways. Only instead she’ll be a moving historic attraction, offering something which will appeal to all ages and interests, whatever 'floats your boat' (another bad pun intended!)
Anyhow…fingers crossed everyone!
Window on the World is a Heritage Lottery Fund project run by staff and volunteers at the National Waterways Museum. Interpreting Ellesmere Port’s historic slipway for the first time and securing the future of two boats in the Trust’s national collection.
This blog is written by the project assistants - Hannah Holmes, Zofia Kufeldt and Samantha Marine
See more blogs from Window on the World