Visit Salford | Discover the city
Easily Salford's most historic and famous waterway, this unique stretch of water flows peacefully through the city, but has a fascinating and surprising story to tell…
Picturesque Worsley village with its half-timber buildings and village green is one of Salford's hidden gems, and the Bridgewater Canal which runs through it is the focal point of activity. It's hard to imagine that the village and its tranquil canal side setting was once the birthplace of the ‘transport revolution' in the 18th century. But the building of the Bridgewater Canal helped fuel the industrial revolution which changed the direction of British history forever!
Three men - the Duke of Bridgewater, John Gilbert and James Brindley - worked together to make the dream of the canal a reality. Constructed in 1759, the canal was at the heart of industry in the area, transporting coal via boats from the underground mines to Manchester and beyond.
The canal was also used for leisure as well as industry with passenger services starting in 1769 and by 1781 there was a daily service between Manchester and Worsley. The canal itself was also famous as the location for the first trials of boats powered by steam, the forerunners of the mighty paddle steamers that still navigate the Mississippi today.
In the past the canal was famous for its distinctive orange colour, caused by iron ochre leaked from the underground canals at the Delph. An intensive cleaning operation has now removed most of the ore making the canal a cleaner and more environmentally friendly place and attracting wildlife and fish to the area.