How do I search the catalogue?

There are three ways to search the catalogue.  On the home page you can use the search bar to do a basic word search, just like you would on Google.

If you are looking for something specific, use Advanced Search. Use the text box to search for a person or organisation.  You can narrow your search to look for specific dates, parts of the collection or just records that have associated images.  If you know the number of the item you are looking for you can search using this too.

Browse themes to look at what we have on a particular subject.

What if I can’t find what I’m looking for?

Searching will only find the exact words used in the catalogue, so it is always worth trying to use alternative terms for your search.

Why is there no image for the item?

Only a proportion of the items in our collections have been digitsed. The majority of images available on this site are digitised versions of photographs. Bound volumes, large plans, bundles of letters and files are more difficult to digitise. In some cases the quantity of material (such as the hundreds of pages in one file) is a challenge and in other cases it is the size of the material (such as a very large plan). In many cases, seeing the original items is still the best way to conduct research.

Can I use the images for my research?

You are welcome to use these images for personal study.  Conditions apply and all images are subject to UK copyright law. You must contact the Archive team before using any images in a publication, website, TV programme, film or reproducing them in any way.  The team can also supply high resolution images for print and design. For more information on this have a look at our webpage.

How do I make an appointment to visit the archive?

The archive has been closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic. We are now in the process of tackling a backlog of enquiries and re-opening with a reduced service.

To book an appointment from September 2021 onwards please email and let us know:

*the reference numbers of the items you would like to see
*your research interest

Please note that we will have a limited number of researcher slots and it may be several weeks before we are able to offer you a space. Thank you for bearing with us at this challenging time.

The National Waterways Archive is located at the National Waterways Museum, South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 4FW.