The Rochdale 9 is not a group of wrongly convicted victims but the last 9 locks on the Rochdale down from the junction with the Ashton Canal to the Bridgewater Canal. We set off from Piccadilly after a visit to the nearby M&S Outlet. The Rochdale locks are wide beam and are heavy to boot with normally loads of water coming over the top gates so it is filling almost as fast as it is emptying.
Our overnight mooring. The cars are parked on what used to be Piccadilly Basin which was a big transhipment place in the middle of Manchester. The big stone building right of centre is an old warehouse. The white building to the left of that is the Rochdale Canal Company Office, and to the left of that you can just make out the entrance arch to the basin for road traffic.
Top lock of the Rochdale 9. The lock drops you down under Dale Street. You can see the size of the gates compared with yesterdays locks. It is also very difficult to work both sides here as there is no bridge across so we try to only use one gate if possible.
The canal beneath the pillars below Dale Street. It is similar to that on the Farmers Bridge locks in Birmingham. You can see the water coming over the top of the gates.
The canal runs through the centre of Manchester in a chasm of buildings. It seems like you never will see sunlight again as it is very enclosed. As you go past Canal Street there is no towpath. As it was a Monday morning there was no banter from the bars and gardens of the gay quarter overlooking the canal.
I don't suppose I am setting any hearts a fluttering this morning!
The Old and New. Thlock is Dukes Lock, 92 on the Rochdale. and there is Beetham Tower the highest building in Manchester.
Dukes lock is so called as it was actually built by the Bridgewater Canal Company despite it being on the Rochdale Canal. The Beetham Tower is 47 storeys and 168 m tall and is the tallest in Manchester and 9th tallest in UK. The architect, Ian Simpson, always adds in to the design that he must be allowed to have the top floors. He has the top two floors and has a large semi indoor orchard of 4 m olive, lemon and oak trees. It is the highest living space in the UK. I understand that Phil Neville a footballer lived on two lower floors and that ones had the rooms etc and the other was empty as a play area for his two kids as you couldn't just go out to play in the back garden!
When the railway came to Manchester these viaducts carried the different company railways into the city. The world's first purpose built passenger railway station was close to here (now part of the Science Museum). There was a big fuss as the original Roman fort was largely dug up to allow the construction. However as a sop to the loss of the fort the Steel viaducts have castle motifs atop the columns. You can see how the railway was fitted round the canal system that was already there. We are berthed on the other side of Castlefield Junction just past the Merchants and Middle Warehouse. Teh Merchants warehouse is the oldest surviving at Castlefield, built between 1827 and 1828. Boats went into the building and were discharged/loaded using a crane from the top floor. It currently looks refurbished but empty. The Middle warehouse is massive and seems to have been converted into apartments.
LNER Good Depot off Deansgate.
Once moored up we went into the city and had a look at the interior of the Town Hall. It is very reminiscent of the House of Parliament as it is in neo gothic style. It is on a triangular site and they even have a clock tower but instead of Big Ben they have Great Abel after the Lord Mayor who championed its construction. It was opened by him in 1877. Along Deansgate is this very long goods building that had its own viaduct at Castlefield to direct the trains to the building. The Manchester and Salford Junction Canal also used to run through the site for transhipment.
After working hours we met up with one of our nieces, Kate, who lives and works in Manchester. I told her I wouldn't use the photo of her picking her nose, or of Helen yawning so true to my word here is the best I could do. Thanks for a great catch up evening and look forward to seeing you again next time we pass through.