Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Ellesmere Port Boat Museum

Yes… late with the post!  Whilst the mobile internet signal was poor the greater reason for the delay was I simply ran out of time enhancing the large collection of digital photos!  As a consequence there will be a second post later today to get the blog back on track.

On reaching the CRT Boat Museum we didn’t go down through the last two locks and moor in the lower basin but instead moored on the short length of 48 hour moorings immediately before the museum.  On Monday evening I went for a walk around the museum perimeter and gained an understanding of the layout.  There appeared to be only one water tap which was inside the locked perimeter.  There are also Elsan and rubbish disposal facilities behind the museum entrance.

On Tuesday I purchased a ticket and spent several hours wandering around the museum.  It consists of a collection of large and small buildings; an upper and lower basin with boats in various stages of refurbishment/ dilapidation; and one building contains a large number of displays over two floors.  My overall impression of the museum is quite positive, although its physical location is unfortunate being at the end of the canal and not central to the network.  I would imagine if a boater came then most likely it would only be once!  However the museum appeared to be getting most of its visitors by road and perhaps they are the better group to target.

Waiouru moored just before the museum

The museum entrance with gift shop and cafe

The old Blacksmith Shop containing six forges which kept 12 men working making parts for canal locks and boats.

Dental surgery  Tool rack in the Blacksmith Shop

The Engine Room was located next to the Blacksmith Shop and contained a large number of engines. 

The narrow and wide sets of locks needed to be crossed to reach the other half of the museum.  From this side it’s possible to obtain good views of the boats in the upper and lower basins which are separated by the two sets of locks

The lower basin which is the larger of the two and has visitor moorings (not free)

The Boiler house and stack in the upper basin

A boat made from concrete during WW2 when there was a shortage of steel.  They were not popular being prone to cracking when striking lock walls, etc

The old toll house beside the locks

Old wooden boats hoping waiting to be restored when money becomes available

You can see Waiouru in the background

This area was a working port with warehouses, cranes, boats, etc.  The cargo was moved by machines powered by water under high pressure.  The pressure was achieved by using steam to raise a heavy weight in an accumulator vessel.  The heavy weight then applied pressure to the trapped water which was use to drive the equipment.

The coal fired boilers which used four tonnes of coal daily.  It was delivered by boat and wheel barrowed into the boiler house each day.

Daily maintenance was an ongoing requirement.

At the rear of the museum is a row of two storey cottages (Porters Row) which provided accommodation for some of the workers.  These have been restored and each furnished to a particular period.  It’s quite frightening to think I recognise some of the furnishings from my youth when we visited my grandparents!

We didn’t have TV when I was a boy!

I remember the bread bin

Nana had the same wallpaper!

“Oops… Sorry Mate!  I didn’t realise it was occupied!  Grandad call it “The House of the Lords!” and buried the contents under the fruit trees.

There were a number of audio displays in the warehouse and when I saw this engine I immediately thought of Jo & Keith on Hadar.

A two cylinder National

“Chocolate Charlie’s “Friendship” was on display and after looking at the size of the cabin they must have been skinny people to both fit in the double bed.

I’m please we went to Ellesmere Port and visited the museum but I think the location will weigh against us returning for another visit.  It’s unfortunate that the museum isn’t located more centrally on the network.  But then BW/CRT would have had to use what they had at the time!

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