Amazing Women through History are the focus for a new day of public celebration and exploration on Sunday, 25 June, at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port, hosted by the Canal & River Trust waterways and wellbeing charity.
Coinciding with International Women in Engineering Day (23 June), the event will shine a light on women’s impact in the world, from ‘Women on the Canals’ to ‘Women in Engineering’ to ‘Women at War’.
Visitors are invited to join one of the ‘Votes for Women’ suffragette marches taking place during the day or talk to historians from the World War One Cheshire Pals who will be keeping the home fires burning in the museum’s Porters Row terraced cottages, while craft and crochet groups demonstrate traditional skills of rug-ragging and lace-making.
Four free specialist talks will take place in the Rolt Conference Centre every hour between 11 am and 2 pm. At 11 am, Dr Liz Calder will explore challenges and stereotyping for Women in Engineering. At 12 noon, museum volunteer historian Cath Turpin will explore the role of Women on Canals during the 19th and 20th centuries. At 1 pm, CH21 Home Guard historian Samantha Mellor will discuss how women’s wartime work impacted women’s rights and roles forever in Women at War. And at 2 pm, Women’s Suffrage comes under the spotlight with a talk from Susan Munro, chair of Elizabeth’s Group, named after Cheshire-based leading feminist and suffragist Elizabeth Wolstenholme Elmy, who fought tirelessly for women’s education and right to work, own property and vote.
Located at the junction of the Manchester Ship Canal and the Shropshire Union Canal, the waterways museum is the perfect location to enjoy a wide range of historical boating and canal exhibits, including steam engines working in the Power Hall and a fantastic new playground.
Ani Sutton, visitor attraction manager with the Canal & River Trust, said: “Amazing Women is one of several new attractions in the event calendar for the museum this season. The untold reality of thousands of women working on the canals during the 19th and 20th centuries is fascinating. Fast forward to today, and the Canal & River Trust, which cares for 2,000 miles of the nation’s waterways, now employs dozens of women engineers who are employed in a range of vital roles to keep our canals in good condition, including the challenging project to restore Toddbrook Reservoir in Whaley Bridge.
“As International Women in Engineering Day is celebrated across the world, it is fascinating to see how the role of women has changed over the centuries, examine challenges for the future and truly appreciate all that has been achieved through history by so many Amazing Women.”
The usual museum ticket price includes all Amazing Women talks and activities on 25 June. The National Waterways Museum is open throughout the summer season, Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am – 4 pm. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Other special themed events include World War Two (11 June) and heritage-themed Canal Town Sundays featuring characters in traditional costumes (18 June, 23 July and 13 August). The Canal & River Trust would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in volunteering at the museum.
For more information, visit the museum website https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit/national-waterways-museum. Adult tickets cost £11.75, concessions £10.50, children £8.50 and families £28.50. Tickets give free entrance for a year.