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.
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.