SJ8398 : The Visible Boundary

taken 5 years ago, near to Manchester, Great Britain

The Visible Boundary
The Visible Boundary
A plaque on Albert Bridge is all that remains of the "Visible Boundary" project.

According to Noah Rose "In July 2006, after 5 years planning, the boundary between the neighbouring cities of Manchester and Salford was made visible with a 300m long pink dotted line, floating down the dead centre of the River Irwell. This temporary installation was conceived by Andy Farrell Readman and myself back in 2001. The installation turned out to be more temporary than we envisaged. On the day that the work was to be launched - in front of an audience of visiting artists from Scotland - it turned out to have disappeared without a trace. The reason for its disappearance has not yet been satisfactorily explained. The pink polystyrene-and-steel floating boundary is missing, presumed on a round-the-world voyage. It may yet resurface in another location to divide or reunite two places which share some history…" LinkExternal link

The plaque reads:

"The Visible Boundary"

Andrew Farrell Readman & Noah Rose 2006.

The Boundary between the cities of Manchester and Salford runs down the centre of the River Irwell.

Boatbuilding has been part of the life of the River Irwell from the earliest times, and the river has always been navigated for trade. In 1828 the biggest boat yet to be built on the Irwell was launched into the river, she was named the Emma, after the builder's daughter. On the day, great crowds assembled on the banks of the Irwell, bands played and the lord Mayors of Manchester and Salford attended the ceremony with a huge entourage. It was a carnival atmosphere with children playing and vendors clamouring for business.

When the ship was launched a huge cheer went up, but the triumphant moment soon turned to disaster. The boat powered across the river and smashed into the opposite bank. The dignitaries were thrown into the water, amongst them women and children and guests of the lord Mayors of the two cities.

The Emma rolled over and capsized. Onlookers dashed down the banks to help but were soon adding to the terror of the moment. 22 people died that day, including the daughter of the Lord Mayor of Salford. One man, a Scot who lived and worked locally had come down to watch, an accomplished swimmer, he quickly undressed and dived into the water again and again to save lives. Eventually bedraggled and exhausted, he returned to shore only to find his clothes had been stolen. He died the same day from hypothermia.
River Irwell
The River Irwell rises on the Rossendale hills north of Bacup and flows south for 39 miles before joining the River Mersey west of Manchester. It was a very important river in the development of industry, during the Industrial revolution, in Lancashire.
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SJ8398, 2710 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 24 September, 2014   (more nearby)
Friday, 26 September, 2014
Geographical Context
City, Town centre 
Primary Subject of Photo
Person (from Tags)
Noah Rose  Andy Farrell Readman 
Date (from Tags)
2006  1828 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 8332 9837 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:28.9070N 2:15.1688W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 8331 9836
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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