Rochdale Canal Lock 92 – Manchester, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 28.472 W 002° 15.334
30U E 549409 N 5925319
Quick Description: The Rochdale canal is 32 miles long and connects Manchester on the west side of the Pennine Hills and Sowerby Bridge on the east side.
Location: North West England, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 3/8/2013 4:23:54 PM
Waymark Code: WMGHJ8
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member cache_test_dummies
Views: 0

Long Description:

The Canal History
The Rochdale Canal was completed in 1804 and is one of three canals that cross the Pennine hills. This is the only one that doesn’t use long tunnels. In addition it was a broad canal with bridges and locks that allowed boats of 14 feet width to pass through.

The one downside of not using tunnels is that it originally had 92 locks. These days the original locks 3 and 4 have been combined into one deep lock.

Competition from railways and roads subsequently led to a decline in goods being carried and by 1937 the only section left in operation was at the Manchester end of the canal.

In 1965 there was talk of abandoning the canal but by this time leisure boating had become very popular in the UK and there was a campaign to keep it open. Work was started and the canal slowly re-opened in a number of different stages. The whole length finally reopened in September 2007.

The Rochdale 9 Locks
The Bridgewater Canal was the first canal in the U.K. that was totally purpose built and did not follow the course of a river. It connected Worsley with Manchester and terminated at the Castlefield Basin.

The Duke of Bridgewater would not originally give permission for the Rochdale Canal to join the Bridgewater Canal because he wanted to maintain his monopoly. Because of this the Rochdale Canal was originally going to terminate at the north side of Manchester near Piccadilly.

However when other plans were put forward for another canal to bypass Manchester he relented and allowed the canal to join onto the Bridgewater. It was necessary to construct 9 locks between Piccadilly and this location and they are known as the Rochdale 9. These 9 locks and the ones from here to Rochdale opened in 1799, 5 years before the canal finally reached Sowerby Bridge.

This stretch of canal passes right through the centre of the city of Manchester. In some places it is almost at road level and plainly visible, but for the most part is below street level and between tall buildings and unless you know it's there is easily missed. Apart from one short stretch it is possible to walk along the whole length of the tow path.

The Castlefield area of the City of Manchester.
This area is so named because of the remains of a Roman fort in the area.

Manchester was one of the world’s first industrial cities and indeed claims to have started the industrial revolution with the building of the Bridgewater Canal. This canal was the first canal in Britain that did not make use of any existing waterways. It was built by the Duke of Bridgewater to connect his coal mines at Worsley with Manchester and terminated at Castlefield near to the River Medlock. The canal boats were able to carry around ten times more coal than was previously possible by cart. In fact, the canal was so effective that the price of coal in Manchester fell by over half within a year of its opening. This meant that the use of steam power in factories became economically viable.

The Bridgewater canal reached Manchester in 1761 at the Castlefield Basin. It was later extended to provide a link to Liverpool on the west coast. Many factories were built around Castlefield and so the canal started to carry many other goods as well as coal.

In 1799 The Rochdale Canal was joined onto the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield and eventually connected Manchester to Sowerby Bridge.

The next stage of Manchester’s development was the arrival of railways in 1830 and there are four separate railway viaducts that cross the Bridgewater Canal and wharves in Castlefield.

During the 20th Century canals and railways declined in use and Castlefiled became largely derelict. However in 1982 the area became the first Urban Heritage Park and large parts of the area have now been restored. There are now apartments, pubs and restaurants in the area. Various modern bridges have been erected to connect parts of the site and it is now a popular and interesting area to visit and explore.

See this Wikipedia page for a fuller description of Castlefield.

Details of this lock
When the Duke of Bridgewater gave permission for the Rochdale Canal to join to the Bridgewater Canal he insisted that his own men build the last lock and operate it after it was opened. The lock has always been known as the Duke’s Lock. An old building next to this lock has now been converted into a pub called Dukes 92 and the pub sign shows a canal boat passing through the lock.

The locks on this canal have a double set of gates at each end and at 14 feet are wide enough to allow 2 narrow boats to use the lock side by side.

The paddles to control the water flow are built into the bottom gates and are on the canal bank for the top gates.

There is a stone arch bridge next to the bottom lock gates of this lock and it’s so near to them that the arms used to open and close the gates are much shorter than normal. Because of this there is not enough leverage to operate the gates normally and the windlass has a gearing mechanism with chains connected to the arms.

The bridge and lock combined are an English Heritage Grade II listed building
Waterway Name: The Rochdale Canal

Connected Points:
Connects to the Bridgewater Canal at Manchester on the west side of the Pennine Hills and the Calder and Hebble Navigation at Sowerby Bridge on the east side. There is also a junction with the Ashton Canal on the east side of Manchester.


Type: Lock

Date Opened: 1/1/1799

Elevation Difference (meters): 2.00

Site Status: Operational

Web Site: [Web Link]

Date Closed (if applicable): Not listed

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