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Audlem and District History Society

27th April 2022 @ 6:06am – by Valerie Mackin
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danial anderson

Bring the sea to Manchester

Story of a Ship Canal

The Danial Adamson Preservation Society

The Danial Adamson is a steam tug tender used on the Manchester Ship Canal which has been restored as it was in 1936. It is now moored on the Weaver Navigation and used for education and trips up and down the Navigation. Two members of their Society came to our meeting onThursday 21st April 2022 and gave us an interesting illustrated talk on the History of the Manchester Ship Canal.
The industries around Manchester and its docks soon out grew the navigable rivers and canals. From Liverpool Docks it was expensive to tranship good from larger ships to smaller flats, the name given to these small vessels crewed by 3 people. The Mersey was tidal and quickly silted up, so it was not possible to get larger ships to the Manchester docks.
Daniel Adamson 1820-90 a railway engineer held a meeting on 27th June 1882 to get towns to subscribes to a Peoples Canal, he didn't get the money needed but applied for an Act of Parliament, opposed by Liverpool. The proposal for a 36mile, 5 lock, 5 sluices canal using the same route as the Mersey and Irwell rivers failed in 1883-4, but was passed in 1885. Land was purchased and also equipment including 25 dredgers. Thomas Walker appointed lead contractor and Edward Leader Williams chief engineer. The first sod was cut by Lord Egerton of Tatton on the 11th November 1887. 16,000 men worked on the canal of which 130 were killed during the work, child labour was also used. Welfare and a hospital were provided and the Donkey Jacket was designed for the use of workers.
In 1891 the section to Ellesmere Port was open, 1st January 1894 the Canal was open for traffic. It was opened by Queen Victoria. It has provided cotton for the cotton industry, coal and china clay ext. 3 tugs are used to manoeuvre ships through the locks and into the docks. Although the dock area is much changed, it is still in use today, you can still see large container ships coming down the Manchester Ship Canal, which proves it was always a good idea.
Thank you to the members of the Daniel Adamson Society for giving such an interesting talk. I particularly liked the short films which showed ships being manoeuvred down the canal by the tugs into lock with little room for errors and the swing bridges allowing traffic to still move over the canal and river and be swung to allow ship to pass. Having found it fascinating going over the Barton swing bridge in our canal boat it was good seeing it from another angle.

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