contact us     sitemap
  National Waterways Museum  
Explore   News   Volunteer
Planning your visit
Explore the museum
What's on
Boat Trips
CollectionsThe Waterways ArchiveHistoric Boat CollectionAmaryllisBigmereFCB 18Ferret
About the Museum
Heritage Boatyard
Conferences & meetings
The Boat Museum Society
Supporters' Scheme
Sister Museums
Canal History
The Waterways Archives

This important archive holds a wide range of primary material relating to the history of Britain’s canals and inland waterways and a smaller amount of secondary material from waterways around the world.

The document collection includes boat building plans, working records, accounts and letters. Photographic collections include work by Robert Aickman, Michael Ware and Eric de Mare.

At the core of the collection are the archives of British Waterways and the early canal companies, which trace the history of Britain’s inland waterways back to its very roots in the 17th century.

We hold extensive collections relating to the Weaver Navigation Trust, Middlewich Wharf, the Charles Hadfield World Canals Research and the Manchester Ship Canal.

A wide range of books and periodicals about canals and waterways history are also available for research use. 

Access to the archive is FREE but must be by prior booking of a minimum 24 hours.

Further information

Click here for a copy of our leaflet

or call Linda Barley on 0151 373 4378.

Research Service
If you are unable to visit the archive we offer a limited research facility for family historians, academics, students, engineers and the media - anyone with an interest in the history of Britain's canals and waterways. Our research service uses the full range of material available in the archives as well as relevant online resources to carry out searches for individuals.

Click here for an information sheet.

Parts of the National Waterways Archive are also housed in our sister museum in the south west, Gloucester Waterways Museum.





Canal history - Hetti Jackson, boatwoman studio portrait, 1905.

 Canal history - AA Wander butty ‘Enid’ at Sutton Stop, 1930s.

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