Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Rochdale Canal, Manchester City Centre


Turned into a quite a day!  After the seminar in Manchester there was time to wander along the Rochdale Canal right in the heart of the city in sunshine – I even got a ride through the locks on a barge! 

Apart from a short profitable section in Manchester linking the Bridgewater and Ashton Canals, most of the length of the Rochdale canal was closed in 1952 when an act of parliament was obtained to ban public navigation. The last complete journey had taken place in 1937, and by the mid 1960s the remainder was almost unusable. Construction of the M62 motorway in the late 1960s took no account of the canal, cutting it in two.  Thankfully that was not the end.

When an Act of Parliament was sought in 1965, to authorise the abandonment of the canal, the Inland Waterways Association petitioned against it, and when it was finally passed, it contained a clause that ensured the owners would maintain it until the adjacent Ashton Canal was abandoned.

In early 1971, a boat rally was organised on the canal, and later that year, there was public debate over the high cost of a project which had infilled part of the canal to create a shallow water park, when restoring the section for navigation would have been cheaper. Discussion of the relative merits of restoring the canal or the Huddersfield Narrow Canal in 1973 led the formation of societies to promote both schemes in 1974. The Rochdale Canal Society wanted to see the canal fully re-opened, as part of a proposed Pennine Park. The Ashton Canal, which joins the canal above lock 84, reopened in 1974, and the nine locks on the Rochdale Canal between the junction and the Bridgewater Canal were restored at that time.   More pictures from the day here.


Early morning sunshine



Albion Mill


Chorlton Street Bridge



Approaching the tunnel lock


Looking back at Albion Mill from the lock


Through the tunnell


Hard work this canal life


Oxford Street Bridge


Off they go to the night’s mooring at Castlefield

So many fantastic 19th century buildings have now been transformed into apartments, hotels and offices but retain their Victorian splendour.



Palace Hotel

The Tootal, Broadhurst and Lee Building – now Churchgate House on Oxford Street was built in 1896 as a warehouse and office block for the textile manufacturers named.  This splendid doorway is one of the reasons for its listed status.


Getting the train home allowed a few more pics.  The relatively new Hilton Hotel on the right of the image below can easily be seen from Winter Hill – a place that I visit rather more than Manchester!


The owner of this Brompton bicycle has a daily commute from Morecambe to Manchester – Wow!  I can’t even imagine spending that much time travelling to work.



This is new student accommodation under construction – taken from the platform of Oxford Rd station.

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