We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.

News article created on 19 August 2013

Help keep history afloat

We've launched a fundraising appeal, backed by ‘Hairy Biker’ Dave Myers, to help volunteers conserve a historic canal boat built almost 90 years ago. ‘Ferret’, built in 1926 by Yarwoods at Northwich, Cheshire is now in need of a complete overhaul to give her a new lease of life.

By donating to this appeal you will help the volunteers and young trainees at the Heritage Boatyard continue this important work. Dave Myers, Hairy Biker

Ferret is part of a unique collection of historic canal and river boats cared for by the Trust at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port. As well as carrying her own cargo, she had enough power to pull an unpowered narrowboat (known as a ‘butty’). 

Public donations will help trainees and volunteers at the museum’s Heritage Boat Yard restore the boat and put her back on the water where she belongs.

The Heritage Boat Yard was set up to conserve the historic boat fleet at the National Waterways Museum and to teach young people practical boat building skills. Volunteers and young trainees* work alongside each other and specialist skilled staff on a wide range of boats, all originally used on our inland waterways. 

John Inch, general manager at The National Waterways Museum said: “Without the generous support we get from donors it wouldn’t be possible to keep the doors of the workshop open, teach people traditional skills or preserve our rich history for future generations.

“The boats at the museum offer a window on our industrial past, when canals were the arteries of industry.  They offer visitors to the museum insight into our ancestors, who lived and worked on our inland waterways. Uniquely for us we are able to send our historic boats out of the museum and around our canals and rivers where they can be seen and enjoyed by the even more people.”

Keeping heritage skills alive

Visitors to the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port can experience history in a unique way and step onto many of the boats and visit the yard, where the vessels are all in different states of repair. 

When Hairy Biker Dave Myers visited the boat yard as part of his restoration road trip he said: “Each boat in the national collection tells a unique story about our canals and rivers – the type of goods they carried, the waterways they travelled along and the people who lived and worked on them.

“When I visited the National Waterways Museum, I had a go at some simple restoration tasks and got an idea of the skill and time involved in restoring these precious boats. By donating to this appeal you will help the volunteers and young trainees at the Heritage Boatyard continue this important work. You will help keep vital heritage skills alive and ensure future generations can enjoy and learn from our wonderful heritage.”

Every penny received will be spent directly and entirely on this project - Just £5 could pay for new bolts. 

Find out more and donate today