SJ8397 : Bridgewater Canal, Grocers' Warehouse

taken 7 years ago, near to Rusholme, Manchester, Great Britain

Bridgewater Canal, Grocers' Warehouse
Bridgewater Canal, Grocers' Warehouse
The opening of the Bridgewater Canal in 1764 meant that coal, from the mines at Worsley, could be brought into Manchester by barge. Manchester’s new industries now had a cheap supply of coal to fuel the Industrial Revolution. The Grocer’s warehouse built in the early 1770s, next to the coal wharf, was one of first large warehouses at Castlefield. In 1811, it was sold to the Manchester Grocers’ company and that is how it got its name.

The warehouse was five storeys high and had five window bays facing the canal and a single entrance, two storeys high. Boats entered here for unloading at the internal dock where there was a water-powered hoist (it was probably the first British warehouse where the barges were unloaded inside the building by a water-powered crane).

The original building was demolished in 1960 and a partial reconstruction, which incorporated a water wheel driven hoist, was completed in 1967. This reconstruction (beyond the narrowboat and the black footbridge in the picture) shows the first level of the warehouse and the barge entrance with the hoist inside.

The Grocers’ warehouse is commemorated a cog wheel which bears this inscription in the centre:

“Built on the site where coal was first brought to Manchester by canal for the 1st Duke of Bridgewater. The warehouse marks the location where coal was transferred to street level using water wheel driven machinery designed and built by James Brindley. The delivery of cheap coal marked the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and helped establish Manchester as a principal manufacturing centre.

As a result of increasing trade and success of the scheme a warehouse for the storage of provisions was constructed on the site of the coal wharf”.

SJ8397 : Grocers' Warehouse Cog Wheel Inscription

See other images of The Grocers' Warehouse
The Bridgewater Canal
Often considered to be the first "true" canal, the Bridgewater Canal was commissioned by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, to transport coal from his mines in Worsley. The section from Worsley to Manchester opened on 17th July 1761; it was later extended from Manchester to Runcorn, and then from Worsley to Leigh. Coal was needed in large quantities to fuel the industrial revolution and the canal enabled coal and other goods to be transported efficiently and cheaply to the rapidly expanding towns and cities. Its success helped inspire a period of intense canal building although it later faced intense competition from the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and the Macclesfield Canal.

The canal is connected to the Rochdale Canal (Link ) in Manchester, the Trent and Mersey Canal at Preston Brook, south-east of Runcorn, and to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Leigh. It once connected with the River Mersey at Runcorn but has since been cut off by a slip road to the Silver Jubilee Bridge.

Navigable throughout its history, it is one of the few canals in Britain not to have been nationalised, and remains privately owned. Commercial traffic continued on the canal until 1974. By this time, canals were becoming more important as a leisure facility and pleasure craft now use the canal which forms part of the Cheshire Ring circular canal route.

For many years, the canal around Worsley was noted for the distinctive bright orange colouring of the water. This was a result of iron oxide from the mines tainting the water as the canal passes through Worsley. A £2.5 million remedial scheme was undertaken in 2013 to remove this colouration.

The Bridgewater Canal is owned and operated by the Manchester Ship Canal Company in conjunction with the Bridgewater Canal Trust.

LinkExternal link Bridgewater Canal Company
LinkExternal link Pennine Waterways
LinkExternal link Wikipedia
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SJ8397, 2215 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Monday, 3 September, 2012   (more nearby)
Saturday, 8 September, 2012
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  City, Town centre  Industry  Canals 
Canal (from Tags)
Bridgewater Canal 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 8328 9753 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:28.4539N 2:15.2023W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 8325 9751
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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Other Tags
Narrowboat  Narrow Boat  Castlefield  Canal  Eighteenth Century  18th Century  Warehouse  Industrial Heritage  Industrial Revolution 

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Image classification(about): Geograph
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