Meet Peter Brindley, volunteer

Peter has been an enthusiastic volunteer for the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port for four years. Find out more about Peter’s role and why he enjoys working with us so much.

Peter Brindley, volunteer Peter Brindley, volunteer

“I might even have a tenuous link to James Brindley himself!”

Peter Brindley

Peter has been involved with a variety of tasks since joining the volunteer team at Ellesmere Port. He’s been working with the archive team for three years and also uses his extensive knowleGifford is a horse-drawn, wooden tank narrow boat.dge of canal history to provide guided tours around the museum. In 2013 Peter joined the team that took our historic boat Gifford to Lymm Festival. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience, even though it involved sleeping on the wooden cupboard bed.

He has most recently signed up to volunteer as an education assistant for a schools project on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal due to start in the Autumn.

Why does he do it?

Peter says: “I’ve always had a keen interest in canals and maritime history. I’m retired from the Civil Service which I think gave me a good grounding for the research work I now do in the archive. I love helping the public to research their waterways family history.”

Linda Barley, archivist at the National Waterways Museum comments: “Peter is always very friendly, patient and welcoming. He willingly gets involved with any task that we throw at him.”

Family history

Peter has discovered that he is not the first in his family to feel a strong connection to the inland waterways. His careful research has revealed that canals and rivers have played a significant role in the life and work of his forefathers. His paternal grandfather was a captain on the Wallasey ferries but, more significantly, his maternal grandfather was from Barnton and had a number of close links with the canals.

The connection started when, as a youngster, Peter’s grandfather used to earn a few pennies by legging boats through the Barnton, Saltersford and Preston Brook tunnels. In the 1920’s, together with a number of Peter’s great uncles and cousins, he was a waterman (flatman) on the River Weaver carrying salt to Liverpool and Birkenhead. One of Peter’s great uncles was the owner of a fleet of salt boats operating from Liverpool.

His grandfather later carried grain for Liverpool Grain Storage Co in the 1940’s and then became a harbour master for a swing bridge on the Manchester Ship Canal.

So can a love of James Brindleythe canals pass down the generations? In Peter’s case, it seems more than possible.

Peter adds: “I might even have a tenuous link to James Brindley himself!”

Last date edited: 24 February 2017