Christmas Through the Decades, Santa Cruises, Carol Concerts and Free Entry at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port.
This festive season the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port takes visitors back in time for a look at Christmas past, offers free admission and invites everyone for a festive sing-along at its Carol Concert.
Decades of Decking the Halls -Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 December
The Porters Row Cottages will be festively decorated according to fashion from different eras. Between 11am and 3pm each day visitors can also join in the creativity, making vintage Christmas decorations and craft items that reflect the eras in the cottages:
- In Number 9 the clock goes back to 1840. Though hardly celebrated, Christmas was a holiday. Decorations will be evergreens, used to symbolise ever-lasting life. Gifts were also natural – orange pomanders studded with cloves.
- At number 10 it’s the 1900s. Christmas trees decorated with candles, sweets and gifts are popular. Cards and crackers also make an appearance and by 1910 Father Christmas himself becomes a universal figure. With stockings (usually father’s woolly sock!) hung on the fireplace or bed post the 1900s offer a picture-perfect nostalgic view of the season.
- Number 11 becomes the 1930s. Artificial decorations are taking over from the natural versions. Though people still favoured a real Christmas tree, with multi coloured glass baubles reflecting the glow of new electric fairy lights. And under the tree there will be wrapped presents. Prior to the 1920s and 30s gifts were left unwrapped. No element of surprise!
- Next door, at number 12, the post-war 1950s meant an austere Christmas. With rationing still in place decorations were artificial but mostly homemade. A simple tree would have crepe streamers intertwined with the lights and baubles. And no ‘50s home would be complete without a nativity scene.
Victorian Cookery in the Island Warehouse.
Historical food expert Lena demonstrates a menu of festive recipes. Using traditional equipment and techniques she will show how the cooks of the early 1800s created mouth-watering treats from Christmas puddings to hot chocolate.
Enjoy the Museum for Free – 3 – 9 December and after Christmas 27 – 30 December
The museum has been generously supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. So, as a thank you to the lottery players it will be offering free entry from 3 – 9 December inclusive. All visitors need to have is a lottery ticket (new or old).
And, as an incentive to walk off those Christmas calories, entry to the museum will also be free from 27 – 30 December.
Carol Concert – Saturday 8 December
The Wirral Singers and Ringers return to the museum for a traditional evening of seasonal songs. Organised by the Waterways Museum Society all proceeds from the evening will used to support the museum and the restoration work on the historic narrow boat Gifford.
There’ll be a chance to join in and experience the benefits of singing – which is good for the blood pressure heart and brain.
Tickets are £8, which includes refreshments, and should be booked by calling the museum on 0151 355 5017.
Sunday 9, Saturday 15, Sunday 16, Saturday 22, Sunday 23 and Monday 24 December, 11.00am, 12.45pm & 2.30pm
Father Christmas up his grotto on board Centaur ready to hear the childrens’ wishes for this festive season. Families will be welcomed aboard for a 30-minute trip along the Shropshire Union canal. After meeting Santa young visitors will follow him to his magical grotto for storytelling and a gift. Mince pies, tea, coffee and cold drinks finish off a memorable trip for everyone.
Tickets cost from £10 per person and booking is essential by calling the museum on 0151 355 5017
The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 4pm (closed Mondays plus Christmas day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day)
Museum annual passes are £9.75 for adults, £8.50 for concessions and £6 for 6-15 year olds. They offer unlimited visits for 12 months. Under-fives come in for free and other tickets are available. This includes all events and temporary exhibitions.
The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm