The early spring sunshine brought a sparkle to the re-opening of a historic heritage asset on Ellesmere Port’s waterfront.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary season, the National Waterways Museum on South Pier Road opened its doors – and its locks – with a family-friendly free weekend packed full of boat trips and demonstrations, entertainment and all the usual museum activities.
Artist-in-residence Francesca Millican-Slater debuted a performance created especially for the museum while Ellesmere Port-based production company Chalice Media brought history to life across Thomas Telford’s landmark site, creating a fascinating 19th century Living History experience focused on the original cottages in Porters Row.
Inspired by stories of the historic canal walk by Wolverhampton workers to start a new life in Ellesmere Port in the early 20th century, Francesca walked 90 miles along the Shropshire Union Canal last September from Birmingham to the museum.
Excited to reopen
Thanks to funding by The Leverhulme Trust, she re-imagined the walk to wrapt audiences in the Island Warehouse Theatre, telling stories old and new tracing the footsteps of the people who built, boated, lived, worked and walked the canal.
There was also a Ceilidh with Tom Kitching and his band, while Graham Bellinger, who sings and plays folk-based music on guitars of every variety, provided midday entertainment on Sunday.
Other attractions included family art sessions including narrow boat art and a display to mark the 200th anniversary of the Leeds - Liverpool canal.
Head of museums at the Canal and River Trust Graham Boxer said: “We are excited to be reopening the museum for what is set to be an exciting year.”
The museum is to celebrate its 40th anniversary in the summer months and is to reopen the port’s historic slipway.