David Scott writes: Hello Canal Walkers,
About 10 of our group joined the Architecture for Funner’s on their visit to the NWM at Ellesmere Port on Thursday 8th Feb. It had a very civilised start with tea and biscuits/ lunch in the very pleasant canal side Cafe followed by a leisurely half hour cruise up the Shropshire Union Canal listening to an excellent commentary on the development (and decline) of canal side industries. On returning to the Museum we were given excellent guided tours explaining the role of the port and its connections with trade and manufacture in the Midlands. Though several of the original warehouses had been demolished, a great deal had been retained and supplemented by new development including a large hotel and canal side housing. The whole place was beautifully maintained and probably looked much more attractive than in its heyday which extended well into the Edwardian period. There was a great deal to see in the restored buildings including the national canals archive, restored stables, blacksmiths and boatwrights workshops, a very interesting “power hall” housing stationary engines of all type, together with collections of canal boats and barges both inside and outside the buildings. By contrast in a corner of the site there were furnished examples of restored canal workers houses which were a poignant reminder of how most of the employees lived.
All in all it was a great educational afternoon out telling more of the story of the canal system and well worth the time spent there…even on a bleak February afternoon!