Posted by Editor on 2nd December 2011 at 03:54 PM
Video: Bridgewater 250th - Part 6 - Patricroft to Barton upon Irwell
by Tony Flynn and Tom Rodgers
In our sixth part of the Bridgewater Canal journey to celebrate its 250th anniversary, we continue from Stephenson's Bridge towards Barton upon Irwell an area of incredible historic importance.
Along this short stretch of waterway lies an area known locally as Peggy Brow, after a fearsome woman called Peggy Mason who, as the local legend goes, would sit out on her doorstep all day in every weather talking to all the passers-by.
We also look at canalside Wellington pub, and tell you about the unusual stone carving on the pub wall and its alleged meaning.
The Bridgewater Mill overlooks the canal, now clean and rubbish-free, an incredible sight to locals who knew it as a dumping ground only 20-30 years ago.
This imposing Victorian building was orginally called Beddington Mill and was a cotton spinning mill employing many local people until its closure in the 1950's.
Patricroft Bridge was originally a small humpback bridge built when the canal was dug through the area. It has now been considerably widened due to the increase in road traffic - it is now one of the busiest commuter routes at rush hour. Incidentally, does anybody recall the small gents urinals that stood on the bridge?
A reminder of the old bridge is still there to see, a mile marker stating the distance to Bolton and Altrincham (8 miles each). This was retained during recent renovation of the bridge.
Alongside the canal here sits The Packet House pub, once known locally as Bradshaw's Vaults after an ex-landlord Thomas Bradshaw. Bradshaw's family would sail the packet boats along the canal picking up mail, the pub being a delivery/collection site, hence its name.
Worsley Cruising Club is sited on this stretch of the canal and is the home for many boats that moor there for the winter, and is the only marina on the stretch of canal from Worsley to Castlefield.
Barton upon Irwell is one of the oldest areas in Eccles and was once a small hamlet until the arrival of the canal, there are still some interesting features to be seen in the area.
On Barton Lane we see Tooley House, a block of flats named after Ellen Tooley who became the first female councillor in Eccles back in 1933.
Women had attempted to become councillors in the town as early as 1915, with no success.
There is also a neat row of terraced house which were built for employees of the Manchester Ship Canal, usually those in higher ranks.
Look out for Part 7 in our series next week as we go into detail about the "Eighth Wonder of the World", Salford's two great engineering marvels of the modern age - Barton Swing Bridge and Aqueduct.
To see the full story in order, watch Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8 and Part 9.
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