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Canal Archive: Bridging the Years

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The Canal's Progress

While miners working on the underground canal were progressing into the rock face at Worsley Delph, the Duke's navvies were cutting the Canal along its new route towards Manchester. The Canal and the Duke's coal reached the Manchester terminus at Castlefield in 1765. Its arrival saw the halving of the price of coal in the City. This was a fantastic achievement, and one that made the Duke a popular figure, cheaper coal making life that little bit easier for local people, whose gratitude was clearly demonstrated one day when the Duke's coach pulled into Manchester with tired horses. The Duke's horses were unhitched and his carriage was pulled to Worsley by the local residents, who cheered him all the way.

Before this section of Canal was even completed, the Duke and his team were expanding their horizons. In 1762 the Duke had acquired a further Bridgewater Canal Act, permitting the extension of the Canal from Stretford to Runcorn.

This new line would provide a valuable connection to the Mersey estuary and Liverpool - an essential route for transport of raw goods and finished wares for merchants and manufacturers. Bridgewater House at Runcorn was constructed as a base for the Duke when in the area overseeing the work. The section was opened to traffic in 1776, providing an alternative route to the less reliable Mersey and Irwell Navigation. A further extension to Leigh was completed in 1799, after gaining royal assent in 1795.

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This is page 6 of The Bridgewater Canal - The Duke's Cut.
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1807 Illustration of Castlefield

1807 Illustration of Castlefield
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An early photograph of Runcorn Docks

An early photograph of Runcorn Docks
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Bridgewater House viewed from the Manchester Ship Canal

Bridgewater House viewed from the Manchester Ship Canal
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