On 1st January 1894, the Manchester Ship Canal was opened to accept traffic for the first time. 2019 marks 125 years since this opening and this display is a celebration of this wondrous waterway which has been essential to the commercial growth of the Northwest. Although the waterway was open to traffic from the 1st January 1894, it was not until a few months later that Queen Victoria carried out the official opening ceremony on 21st May that year. Since then, the canal has handled a wide range of ships and cargoes, ranging from coastal vessels to inter-European and intercontinental cargo liners.
This enormous feat of Victorian engineering took seven years to complete and is claimed to be the largest river navigation canal in the world costing £15 million to construct (the equivalent of £1.5 billion in today’s money). The waterway was built by an army of around 12,000 navvies which with the aid of basic machinery excavated more than 54m cubic yards of soil. One of the main influences which the Manchester Ship Canal brought to this area was the creation of the Port of Manchester which became the third busiest port in England (despite it being 64 km inland). The route of the canal links Manchester to the Irish Sea and runs for a stretch of 36 miles. It starts in the Mersey Estuary near Liverpool and then generally follows the historic route of the rivers Mersey and Irwell.
Come and visit this display to learn more!
Sat 25 May 2019 - Sat 31 Aug 2019