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Canal History
Island Warehouse - Canal History Exhibition  

Two vast floors of great displays and hands-on activities

The Island Warehouse was built in 1871 as a store for grain. Walk aross the floating pontoon bridge today to find our two largest display areas.

On the ground floor you will find displays about the history of boat and canal building.
Alongside historic boats and re-creations of workshops there are ingenious hands-on displays and touch-screen interactives. Watch archive film of the spectacular launch of a narrow boat, find out how canal 'ice breakers' worked and see rich displays on the crafts and skills of boat makers.

Up stairs, find out what it would have been like to work on the canal as a boat or dock worker in our exhibition Life on the Cut.  Plus a special display on the history of the Manchester Ship Canal.

Look out for...

Boats of all shapes and sizes from a coracle to a canoe and from a gleaming leisure cruiser to the beautiful narrow boat 'Friendship'. 

Our soft-play area upstairs where younger children can have a go at building their own narrow boat.


Explore the museum

 Life on the cut

 Having fun in the soft play area, upstairs in the Island Warehouse.

  The Waterways Trust Designated Collection     National Waterways Museum  
© National Waterways Museum 2007