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Barton Aqueduct (1761), site of
River Irwell (Manchester Ship Canal), Barton, Manchester, UK
associated engineer
James Brindley
date  1760 - 17th July 1761
UK era  Georgian  |  category  Aqueduct  |  reference  SJ767976
Now demolished, Barton Aqueduct was a three-arch stone structure, and the largest canal aqueduct of its day. It carried the Bridgewater Canal the first canal navigation independent of natural waterways over the River Irwell and was designed by James Brindley, the canal's engineer.
The design of the aqueduct was based on that of masonry arch road bridges. It was constructed in preference to two flights of locks between the canal and the river, as was proposed originally.
The aqueduct carried the canal some 11.9m above the river on three segmental sandstone arches, with the south arch being smallest. The arches had single recessed voussoir rings, springing from a corbel on each of the river piers. There were pilasters on the upstream side of the piers rather than cutwaters. There were horizontal string courses on either side above the arches and possibly a protruding kerb course at deck level. The structure does not appear to have had parapets, which must have been dangerous in the dark.
More than a century later, the aqueduct presented a considerable obstacle to the builders of the Manchester Ship Canal, which was following the course of the Irwell. The canal allows large ships to travel from the sea to the docks in the centre of Salford. The old aqueduct was too low.
However, passage along the Bridgewater Canal needed to be maintained, so the Barton Swing Aqueduct was built alongside and just upstream of Brindley's original, which was then demolished.
Research: PD
"A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Greater Manchester" by Robina McNeil and Michael Nevell, Association for Industrial Archaeology, 2000
reference sources   CEH North

Barton Aqueduct (1761), site of