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 an alternative term for your search.

Our collection and archive are currently being catalogued so please keep checking back as we add more records.

Whilst we develop this service, if you can’t find what you are looking for please get in contact with the archive team.

Why is there no image for the object?

We are working to digitise and photograph our collection. In the meantime if you need to view an object or record, please make an appointment with the archive.

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

I’ve got some information about an object or record on the catalogue?

Do you know who the lock keeper in that photograph is? We work with a variety of volunteer experts in looking after our collections but we’re always looking to enhance our knowledge of the objects and records in our care.

If you want to report a mistake, or if you have more information to add, please use our dedicated e-mail address

Alternatively, you can write to "Catalogue", Archive and Collections, National Waterways Museum, South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 4FW.

Please quote the object record number and include as much information as possible.

Every two months we'll review the information with our expert team and update our records if necessary.

How do I make an appointment to visit the archive?

The archive is located at the National Waterways Museum, South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 4FW.
The archive is open Monday – Wednesday, 10.00am – 4pm.

Visitors and researchers are always welcome to come and look at the collection. However, booking is advisable to ensure that space is available and that the records you wish to look at are accessible. Please e-mail or phone to make a booking.

It is also advisable to check in advance whether the collection includes the type of material that you want. We are happy to advise you whether a visit is likely to be worthwhile. Because of the nature of archives we can't always be certain that you will find the information you require but we may be able to suggest other options.

Email us at or phone us on 0151 373 4378