A rare survivor of the waterways of the early 20th century is to open to visitors at Ellesmere Port’s National Waterways Museum for the first time decades after she sank.
People will be able to step aboard George, one of the last remaining wooden horse-drawn ‘short’ boats from the Leeds and Liverpool canal, on Sunday October 30.
The ‘short’ boats as they were known were specially built to allow them to use the smaller than usual locks on that canal.
In 1973 George was rescued by museum volunteers who raised the £60 needed to buy her by selling waste paper.
When the museum acquired the boat her history was unknown with no trace of crew or captain. Extensive research revealed she had been built in 1910 in Wigan and was probably a coal carrier pulled by horse or steam tug.
She also carried sand and coke for steel works and in 1946 was bought by the National Coal Board.
The vessel ended her working life on the Bridgewater Canal and her retirement saw her sadly abandoned and sunk at Worsley in Lancashire.
Thanks to committed museum volunteers she has spent recent decades being lovingly cared for at South Pier Road.
Funding allowed the museum to complete the restoration with George being lifted out of the canal and travelling on a low loader to a shipbuilder in Devon.
Next year she will once more be a welcome regular sight back on her familiar territory of the Leeds and Liverpool canal retracing journeys she would have taken during her working life.
Visitors will be able to experience a little of what life was like in the cramped conditions for everyone on board the hard-working vessel. Costumed interpreters in the Porters Row Cottages will also recreate life in the docks in the 1950s evoking an era when George was transporting her cargoes of coal around the north-west.
With Halloween just a day away the Canal and River Trust says the museum will also have special spooky trails and Halloween craft and story-telling sessions. The historic slipway will be lit with pumpkin lanterns.
The museum opens between 10am and 5pm with admission from £6.30 for adults and £4.50 for 6-15 year olds. Under-fives are free and other tickets including annual passes are available.