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History of the Bridgewater Canal

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…

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. 

The future
The canal's legacy doesn't stop here. There are big plans for its future which aim to make the Bridgewater Canal Corridor a world class tourist and heritage asset, which people see as a major visitor destination, and a place where people visit to learn, enjoy and participate in leisure activities. Click here for more information, as well as details of the public consultation.

 

 

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