SJ8397 : Castlefield Viaducts

taken 24 days ago, near to Rusholme, Manchester, Great Britain

This is 1 of 5 images, with title Castlefield Viaducts in this square
Castlefield Viaducts
Castlefield Viaducts
Closest to the camera is the lowest of the four nineteenth century railway viaducts crossing the Bridgewater Canal at Giantís Basin. This viaduct, with its elegant, arched Gothic bridge, was the first to be constructed; it was opened in 1849 by the Manchester South Junction and Altrincham Railway (MSJ&AR). This line was later extended to Liverpool and remains the main link between Manchester and Liverpool. It is Grade II-listed (Historic England List Entry Number: 1200837 LinkExternal link Heritage Gateway).

The larger viaduct, behind, was built in 1877 and brought London and other trains to the former Manchester Central Station (now used as an exhibition and conference centre). It is also Grade II-listed and now used by Metrolink trams.

An interesting feature of the bridges is the use of "mini-castles" to top the piers (see SJ8397 : Bridge Detail, Castlefield Viaducts). Building the railway cut through the site which was once the Roman settlement of Mamucium (see Link ); it is thought that the castles were added as a nod to the Roman fort which once stood here.
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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Grid Square
SJ8397, 2250 images   (more nearby )
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Tuesday, 31 December, 2019   (more nearby)
Friday, 3 January, 2020
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  City, Town centre  Railways  Canals 
Canal (from Tags)
Bridgewater Canal 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 830 976 [100m precision]
WGS84: 53:28.4911N 2:15.4285W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 830 975
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
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Image Type (about): geograph 
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