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Canal Archive: Bridging the Years

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The Battle Commences

In addition to raising funds, the Ship Canal promoters also had to ensure that they did not lose the momentum gained so far with support for the Project. Meetings were held in various locations in and around Manchester in order to spread the word.

A promotional publication, 'The Ship Canal Gazette' was first published in November 1882 and ran until the following August. It informed the public on developments and progress. Other pamphlets were also distributed, championing the cause.

Support for the Ship Canal came from many quarters. Resolutions were passed by local councils backing the scheme, while pledges of support came in from a variety of organisations, such as trading guilds and trade unions.

However, the Ship Canal also had its opponents, the main adversaries being Liverpool, the Mersey Docks, and the railway companies. This opposition was sharply illustrated when the Ship Canal Bill was deposited in November 1882.
Four petitions were lodged by the Mersey Dock Board, London and North Western Railway, and two others, complaining that the Bill did not comply with Standing Orders. Whilst official channels were being used to hinder the promoters, the idea of a Ship Canal was being mocked by poems and cartoons published at the time, many originating from Liverpool.

To the opposition's joy the Manchester Ship Canal Bill was thrown out. Yet the promoters of the Ship Canal were not about to give up that easily. Despite the fact that their first and second Bills went on to be rejected by Parliament, they did not lose faith in their scheme, and sought to improve their proposal in reply to criticism, such improvements leading to the Ship Canal route that we see today.

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This is page 4 of Bringing the Sea to Manchester - The Need for a 'Big Ditch'.
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A Edition of the 'The Ship Canal Gazette' - published on Wednesday, March 7, 1883

A Edition of the 'The Ship Canal Gazette' - published on Wednesday, March 7, 1883
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A Cartoon published in Punch in October 1882 in reaction to Manchester Ship Canal Proposal

A Cartoon published in Punch in October 1882 in reaction to Manchester Ship Canal Proposal
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