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Manchester & Salford Junction Canal (reinstated)
between Bridgewater Hall and Rochdale Canal
Manchester & Salford Junction Canal (reinstated)
associated engineer
John Gilbert
date  1836 - 28th October 1839
era  Georgian  |  category  Canal/Navigation works  |  reference  SJ838976
photo  Paul Dunkerley
Beside Bridgewater Hall can be seen a short reinstated section of the Manchester & Salford Junction Canal that once connected the River Irwell to the Rochdale Canal, running mostly through a gas-lit tunnel.
Before 1838, Manchester had two main commercial waterway systems. The first was the combination of the Mersey & Irwell Navigation and the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal, connected to the former at Salford. The second consisted of the Bridgewater Canal, the Trent & Mersey Canal (linked to the Bridgewater at Preston Brook) and the Rochdale Canal (linked to the Bridgewater at Castlefield). The Rochdale Canal linked in turn to the Ashton Canal to the east of central Manchester.
In 1801, a tunnel was proposed to link the two systems. This tunnel was eventually built some 35 years later as the Manchester & Salford Junction Canal. The Act of Parliament enabling its construction was passed in July 1836. The Act required the canal level to be 6in above the level of Rochdale Canal so that the new did not take water from the old. Gilbert, the engineer, had already died by the time his design was implemented.
Starting from the western end, the new canal began with a single lock entrance from the River Irwell (SJ830981), went under Water Street between Grape Street and Quay Street, then ran through 499yds of tunnel to three locks in duplicate — the upper two on the site of the future Manchester Central Station (now G-Mex exhibition centre) — and joined the Rochdale Canal near Great Bridgewater Street. A branch led to an underground wharf in the basement of the Great Northern Railway’s 1897-98 Deansgate Warehouse.
Unfortunately, the Manchester & Salford Junction Canal was never a commercial success, right from the day it opened.
Research: PD
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Manchester & Salford Junction Canal (reinstated)