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News article created on 10 September 2014

Historic Ellesmere Port workers’ homes re-opened

The Mayor of Ellesmere Port, Councillor Brian Jones, has officially re-opened the Porter Row Cottages at the National Waterways Museum.

Past residents and their families together with volunteers joined the Mayor for a ribbon cutting and street party to celebrate the work of the volunteers and contractors in restoring this much loved exhibition. 

John Inch, manager of the National Waterways Museum said: "A past resident of number five, Mr Green, donated a photograph of a street party on VE Day to our archive, so we took the opportunity to re-create the wonderful image at the event. The guests were delighted to meet up again and also be in the photograph which for some was for the second time as they were here in 1945.”

Dock workers and families

Porters Row was built in 1833 to house the growing number of dock workers and their families. Twelve houses were built, but only four remain today. They are some of the oldest houses in Ellesmere Port. A map in the museum archive from 1835 shows only five streets in the town of which Porters Row is one. 

The houses were known as ‘Porters Row’ because they were mainly built for porters - men who moved and carried cargoes between the boats and the warehouses on the dockside. Census reports tell us that in 1851 there were porters, blacksmiths, shipwrights and watermen living in the cottages. 

Fully open

Restoring the cottages involved external decoration including roof repairs, re-lining the chimneys which enabled the fires within the cottages to be lit at the event. 

Together with the external repairs our collections team had to arrange for over 300 objects to be taken out, safely stored and then carefully returned to Porters Row. Every object was recorded, carefully packed and its new location noted to ensure none of the objects were damaged or lost.

Porters Row is now fully open for the visitors to experience and enjoy. Find out more and plan your visit.