The Rochdale Canal

A photographic journey along the Rochdale Canal from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge in Yorkshire. The photographs have been taken over the last twenty five years. During that time the 'Rochdale' has been transformed from an abandoned waterway to a canal that has been restored to full navigation.

Return     Manchester to Failsworth    Failsworth to Castleton    Castleton to Rochdale
Rochdale Basin    Rochdale to Littleborough    Littleborough to Todmorden    Todmorden to Hebden Bridge
From Manchester to Failsworth

The Canals of the North West
The Trans Pennine Canals
There are three canals which cross the Pennines.
1. The Leeds and Liverpool, the most northerly of the three. A broad Canal which has never been abandoned since its opening in the eighteen hundreds.
2. The Rochdale Canal, a Broad Canal.. Opened in 1804 and was at one time the most commercially successful of the three canals.
3. The Huddersfield Narrow Canal to the south.
The Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield, Manchester where it joins the Rochdale Canal.
The entrance to the Rochdale Canal from the Bridgewater Canal.
The first lock is number 92. When the canal was originally opened to full navigation in 1804 from Manchester to Sowerby Bridge , a distance of 32 miles, there were 92 Locks.
Dukes Lock House

Lock 92 is known as 'Dukes Lock' and is the first of a series of locks in Manchester known as the 'Manchester Nine'.

A window at Dukes Lock House overlooking the Canal
The 'Rochdale' through the Centre of Manchester
Old warehouses along the 'Manchester Nine' being demolished in 1986.
A Narrow boat in 1986 on the Manchester Nine, which had come from the Ashton Canal and was on its way to
the Bridge Water Canal. This section of the Rochdale Canal in Manchester, from Ashton Canal to the Bridgewater,
was kept open unlike the rest of the Rochdale which was closed to navigation in the 1950's.
The 'Manchester Nine' 2004. All the old warehouses have been demolished and this photograph shows the
new development along the Canal.
This section of the 'Rochdale' runs along side Canal Street in Manchester just before it enters Piccadilly Basin
where it joins the Ashton Canal.
The entrance to the Piccadilly Basin before it was filled in and made into a car park.The building to the left
of the entrance is the former Rochdale Canal Company offices. This has since been demolished.
The Basin with the 1836 Warehouse behind the new marina, photograph about 2002 Part of the roof has colapsed
and there are trees growing out of the walls of the warehouse.
The 1836 Warehouse February 2006.
The canal boat has just entered the Rochdale Canal from the Ashton Canal at the Piccadilly Basin. Photo taken 2004.
The entrance to the Ashton Canal under the bridge on the left of the photograph. The photograph was taken April 2008. Considerable regeneration having taken place over the last four years.
The Rochdale Canal leaves the Piccadilly Basin in a north easterly direction under the Tariff Road bridge.
Photo 2004.
Old Mills where the "Rochdale" passes through Ancoats. These mills have now been converted into flats.
This photograph, taken in 1986, shows how this section of the canal from, Ancoats to Newton Heath, was closed in the 1950s. The lock chamber has been filled in and the water flowing down the canal cascading from the lock. The sections of the canal between the locks from Ancoats and Newton Heath were "shallowed", the water being only a few inches deep.
The photograph was taken at the begining of the twenty first century. It shows a lock chamber being restored in the
Miles Platting area.This was part of the scheme to restore the "Rochdale" to navigation over the full length of the canal.
Funding for this restoration was in the order of £28 million.
The canal runs through a housing estate in the Newton Heath area. The photograph taken in 1986 shows the canal shallowed
with rubbish in the Water Way.
Work on opening up the canal which passes through the housing estate in Newton Heath. Photograph 2002.
Newton Heath. Old Church Road crosses the canal at this point. Photograph taken June 1986 showing people of all ages
enjoying the canal and the sun.
The lock chamber filled in and shallowed. Many locks at this time had concrete foot bridges crossing them, like
the one in the photograph, to allow pedestrian continued use of the towpath. Photo June 1986.
The same lock as the previous photograph taken about 2000 durring the restoration.
Restored Lancashire red brick mill Failsworth.
The blockage of the canal at Failsworth was one of the biggest blockages that had to be removed.
Photograph taken 1986.
A supermarket and car park were built over the canal and a culvert was used to allow the water to flow beneath.

The journey continues on the next page. From Failsworth to Castleton

Return     Manchester to Failsworth    Failsworth to Castleton    Castleton to Rochdale
Rochdale Basin    Rochdale to Littleborough    Littleborough to Todmorden    Todmorden to Hebden Bridge