Rochdale Canal Lock 88 – Manchester, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 28.516 W 002° 14.465
30U E 550369 N 5925409
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: 3/9/2013 12:12:59 PM
Waymark Code: WMGHQ7
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 2002.

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 eastern 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 the junction with the Bridgewater canal 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.

Details of this lock
This lock is below road level and next to a short tunnel that passes underneath a building and Oxford Road. Furthermore it has tall buildings on either side and is therefore enclosed on 3 sides.

This is the fith lock in the series of 9 is surrounded by tall buildings and is known as Oxford Road 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.

The side of the lock is paved and the heel stones that are used to provide grip when pushing the lock gates are metal, an unusual design.

Some of the locks in this series of 9 have very restricted access to the canal banks. Boat owners using the lock have to walk along the gate arms themselves on the top gate and there is a metal handrail for use when crossing to the other side. There is also a small metal stirrup hanging down from the lock arm to be used as a step onto the arm.

On many locks there are warning signs on the top gate about making sure the boat does not get caught on the cill. It's not always obvious what this means, but basically the wooden lock top gate does not go to the bottom of the lock but sits on a stone base. When the lock is full and a boat is going down, the cill is not visible. This means that when the water is released from the lock it is possible for the boat to get caught on the cill. When the lock is empty it is much easier to understand how this works.

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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