Manchester Ship Canal
The Manchester Ship Canal is a 36-mile-long inland waterway in the North West of England linking Manchester to the Irish Sea. It generally follows the original routes of the rivers Mersey and Irwell through the historic counties of Cheshire and Lancashire. Although able to accommodate vessels from coastal ships to intercontinental cargo liners, the canal is not large enough for most modern vessels.
About Manchester Ship Canal in brief
The Manchester Ship Canal is a 36-mile-long inland waterway in the North West of England linking Manchester to the Irish Sea. It generally follows the original routes of the rivers Mersey and Irwell through the historic counties of Cheshire and Lancashire. Several sets of locks lift vessels about 60 feet to the canal’s terminus in Manchester. Landmarks along its route include the Barton Swing Aqueduct and Trafford Park, the world’s first planned industrial estate and still the largest in Europe. Although able to accommodate vessels from coastal ships to intercontinental cargo liners, the canal is not large enough for most modern vessels. By 2011 traffic had decreased from its peak in 1958 of 18 million long tons of freight each year to about 7 million long tons. The canal is now privately owned by Peel Holdings, whose plans include redevelopment, expansion, and an increase in shipping from 8,000 containers a year to 100,000 by 2030 as part of their Atlantic Gateway project. It was proposed in 1660 and revived in 1712 by the English civil engineer Thomas Steers. A ship canal was proposed as a way to reduce payment of carriage charges, avoid payment of dock and railway dues, and bypass the Liverpool and Manchester railways. Faced with stiff opposition from Liverpool, the Canal’s supporters were unable to gain the necessary Act of Parliament to allow the scheme to go ahead until 1885. When the ship canal opened in January 1894 it was the largest river navigation canal in the world, and enabled the new Port of Manchester to become Britain’s third-busiest port despite being about 40 miles inland.
In 1882 the canal was described as being ‘hopelessly choked with silt and filth’ and was closed out of all but 311 boats for 264 working days. Along with the deteriorating economic conditions in the 1870s known as the Long Depression, Manchester’s business community viewed the charges imposed by Liverpool’s docks and the railway companies as excessive. Historian Ian Harford suggested that the canal may also have been used to reduce the price of manufactured goods imported from Hull, on the opposite side of the country, than it was from Liverpool. The idea was first proposed in 1720, and the Act for the navigation passed into law in 1721. The navigation was only suitable for small ships; during periods of low rainfall or when strong easterly winds held back the tide in the estuary, there was not always sufficient depth of water for a fully laden boat. By 1734 boats of moderate size were able to make the journey from quays near Water Street in Manchester to Irish Sea, but the navigation had only been open for a few years. By 1844 ownership of the Mersey & Irwell Navigation was transferred to the Bridgewater Trustees, and in 1872 it was sold to The Bridgewater Navigation Company for £1. 112 million. In 1825 an application had been made to Parliament for an Act to allow a ship canal between the mouth of the River Dee and Manchester at a cost of £1 million.
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This page is based on the article Manchester Ship Canal published in Wikipedia (as of Dec. 07, 2020) and was automatically summarized using artificial intelligence.