The archive at the Waterways Museum at Gloucester Docks is being moved to the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port later this year.
Peter Collins, Collections Manager, said: “We have long been aware that conditions in Gloucester are inappropriate for storing these precious records and access is very restricted. At the National Waterways Museum we will be expanding the existing archives to accommodate the re-located records and redeveloping the research and reading area to give greater physical access.
“The vast majority of our archive collection is also available on our Virtual Waterways website. The move to Ellesmere Port presents us with a super opportunity to add further records to this database. Anyone, anywhere in the world is able to search this database twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week."
With 80% of users accessing the records and information on-line or over the phone, only one-fifth of people actually visit the archives in Gloucester. He concluded: "The move to Ellesmere Port will have minimal impact on how the majority of people use our service.”
There will be some disruption to the archives service during the lead up to the move and the general enquiry service will be closed from mid-September 2011 until Spring 2012 but the archives teams will work hard to keep any interruption to a minimum.
You can visit the Virtual Waterways website at www.virtualwaterways.co.uk