With its dramatic location on the banks of the Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal in Cheshire, extensive in-door displays, boat trips and historic buildings, the museum offers a great day out where time slows down and history comes to life.
Designed by Thomas Telford under the direction of William Jessop, the docks at Ellesmere Port were still in use as late as the 1950s. They were a marvellously self-contained world and when you visit the museum today you can still walk round its locks, docks and warehouses and visit its forge, stables and workers cottages.
There's so much to explore from the handsome Victorian buildings, which house the museum's Quality Assured Visitor Attractions, to the locks and moorings vibrant with historic and visiting narrow boats. With a year-round events calendar featuring everything from beer festivals to historic boat rallies, there's always a reason to visit.
The Through Mighty Seas website covers the maritime history of the merchant sailing ships of the North West of England and the Isle of Man, through the period from the late 1700's until the First World War. There are histories of more than 1100 ships, indexed by region, and over 140 historic photographs.
The history covers the area from Lancaster to the S of Morecambe Bay, and the Cumbrian coast to the Solway Firth, and includes the Isle of Man.
The main content is individual ship histories, but also included is information on shipbuilders, shipyards, lifeboats, sea captains and mariners, shipping lines and other maritime history information. The site deals only with merchant sailing ships, but there are links (below) to other sites covering steamships and the Royal Navy.
Sailing warships were rated according to the number of their guns.
Only 1st rates, 100 or more guns, 2nd rates, 90 or 94 guns and 3rd rates, 74 or 80 guns, were powerful enough to fight in the line of battle. The frigates had 32, 36, 38 or 40 guns mounted on a single gun deck. Carronades were not included in the rating and in at least one case 20 additional carronades were carried on a vessel rated as a 32-gun ship.