Posted by Editor on 14th December 2011 at 03:54 PM
Video: Bridgewater Canal 250th - Part 7 - Barton Aqueduct
by Tony Flynn
Video by Tom Rodgers
In this seventh episode looking at the history of the Bridgewater we look at the area of Barton upon Irwell, home to the unique and truly world-famous aqueduct.
Alongside the canal are a number of interesting local features: we hear about the so-called cellar dwellers, people who lived in abject poverty in the cellars of terraced houses at Barton upon Irwell.
We also see that, while partly blocked off, evidence still exists of the original entrances to these cellars.
On a lighter note did you know that Laurel and Hardy made a surprise visit to the same row of terraces in 1952? The famous comedy duo stopped in for fish and chips at a shop, now a Chinese takeaway called Barton Oriental, when they were playing at the Palace theatre in Manchester.
At the junction of Barton Lane and Barton Road is the Barton Memorial Arch.
It originally stood some fifteen yards east down Barton Lane, I wonder how many people drive past this memorial arch every day and do not even notice this piece of Eccles history?
Facing the arch is an area known as Pocket Park, which is a conservation area with a path leading down to the Manchester Ship Canal.
Still in situ is a buttress wall which was part of the original stone aqueduct.
If you look closely you can see carved into the brickwork the unique stonemasons marks which ensured that the stonemason was paid for his work.
The stone used here would have been taken from the same stone that Worsley drydocks was built from and you can see the same marks used here: sunbursts, stars, wine glasses etc.
One of the most interesting carvings is a snmall stone tablet with the initials WRB 1824.
For a long time this was rather a mystery to us but we eventually fathomed it out: this is in honour of a William Rigby Bradshaw whose father Robert Haldane Bradshaw was a trusted employee of the Duke of Bridgewater and supervised a lot of work on the canal.
His son William who is mentioned on the stone tablet also helped with the maintenance of the Bridgewater Canal and the buttress wall on which his tablet sits was erected to help strengthen the walls of the canal - which were prone to collapsing in the early days.
We then sail across the marvel of Victorian engineering that is the steel Barton aqueduct which opened in 1893. It was designed by Edward Leader Williams and constructed by Andrew Handysides of Derby.
Also shown is footage of both the aqueduct and road bridge swinging open to let sailing vessels pass along the Manchester Ship Canal.
How many people remember being "bridged" over the years? This could be really annoying if you were going to work in, say Trafford Park or even worse, if you were on your way home!
In our next video you will see our journey continue along the Bridgewater Canal, leaving Barton upon Irwell and Salford behind, making our way into the Trafford Park area, once the world's largest industrial estate.
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.
Comment by allan hayward ( member ) 14th December 2011
I remember getting 'bridged" always a good excuse for being late for work. I seem to remember being told that James Brindley was blind but have been unable to verify that on line. Good work Tony.
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