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Ellesmere Port's boat museum reveals Christmas programme

Everything from Victorian cookery and steam power to carols, Santa and Scrooge

Christmas cookery from the early 1800s will be on offer at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port during a busy festive season(Image: UGC TCH)

Demonstrations of Victorian Christmas Cookery and steam power, Santa cruises plus festive theatre, carols and free entry are all on offer in a season of treats at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port.

The museum at South Pier Road, run by the Canal & River Trust, has announced its programme of family events for this Christmas season.

Carols by the Canal will entertain on Saturday December 9 from 7.30pm.

The Wirral Singers and Ringers will return for their annual carol concert, a popular winter diary date. The evening includes refreshment and a raffle with all proceeds going to the Boat Museum Society.

Tickets are £7 and can be booked by calling the museum on 0151 355 5017.

On Saturday and Sunday December 9 and 10 from 11am to 3pm Victorian cookery will be taking place in the historic Porters Row cottages.

Visitors will be invited inside the cottages, prepared for Christmas in the old-fashioned way, to travel on a seasonal journey back through the decades.

At no 9 they will meet historical food expert Lena as she demonstrates a menu of festive recipes using traditional equipment and techniques to show how the cooks of the early 1800s created mouth-watering treats from Christmas puddings to hot chocolate.

On the same days two mighty steam driven pumping engines will be brought back to life in a display of the power that once drove the hydraulic cranes and capstans throughout the dock at the port.

The engines were built in Newcastle on Tyne around 1870 by WG Armstrong & Co, a major name in Victorian engineering, which supplied the hydraulic machinery to, amongst others, Tower Bridge.

When the docks closed in the 1960s the engines fell out of use but restoration work which has taken place over the years means visitors can now enjoy a rare chance to see them in action ‘in steam’.

The same weekend will see festive theatre - ‘Christmas – Bah Humbug!’ - at intervals between 11am and 3pm with award winning Neston based Little Actors Theatre Company bringing Charles Dickens to the museum for some Christmas magic.

Dickens takes on the guise of his famous miser Ebenezer Scrooge and, with more than a touch of audience participation, will re-tell the evergreen Christmas classic. Live music by students from Wirral Grammar School will add to the experience.

The museum’s popular Santa Cruises will be on offer on Saturday December 9, Sunday December 10, Saturday December 16, Sunday December 17, Friday December 22, Saturday December 23 and Sunday December 24 at 11am, 12.45pm and 2.30pm.

Father Christmas will leave his sleigh to set up his grotto on board Centaur ready to hear what children are wishing for. Families will be welcomed aboard and the boat will set off for a 30-minute trip along the canal.

After meeting Santa young visitors will follow him to his grotto for storytelling and a gift. Mince pies, tea, coffee and cold drinks will finish off a memorable trip for everyone.

Tickets are £10 which includes entry to the museum. Booking is essential by calling 0151 355 5017.

Free entry for Lottery ticket holders will be available from December 27 to 31 December as a thank you to the hundreds of lottery players who made the museum’s ‘Window on the World’ exhibition possible by funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The museum is offering free admission to everyone who brings in a Lottery draw ticket or scratchcard with a chance to see how their £2 tickets helped conserve waterways heritage for everyone to enjoy.

The museum is open throughout the winter from Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm. Admission is £9.75 for adults, £8.50 for concessions and £6 for 6-15 year olds.

Under-fives come in for free and other tickets are available. This includes all events and temporary exhibitions excluding evening ticketed performances and Santa Cruises.

Entry also includes unlimited return visits for 12 months.

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