Since my first visit in 1988, the museum has expanded to a remarkable degree.
Today, the site is large and offers a range of attractions. The museum is situated where the Shropshire Union canal used to link into the Manchester Ship Canal, which is close to Eastham Lock, where the latter accesses the River Mersey.
Entrance to the museum from the large car park is through the building that includes the café and shop. The large canal basin that then becomes visible is a reminder of the volume of traffic that once passed through this interchange point between England’s canal network and deep-sea shipping on the Mersey.
By the date of the recent visit at the end of October, trips on the canal had ceased, and unfortunately the archive room was closed by virtue of it being a Saturday.
Nevertheless, there was enough to see to occupy three hours. There are recorded audio-visual presentations of life aboard a horse-drawn working narrowboat, recounted from the memoirs of the boat’s owner and also life as a boat repairer.
The surviving properties that formerly belonged to porters who handled boat loading, have been restored to different eras to illustrate how household life changed over the years.
Overall, an absorbing place to visit at a time when all the facilities are available
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