Manchester and Salford Junction Canal

The Manchester and Salford Junction Canal is Manchester's almost forgotten waterway. It was built in 1839 to link the River Irwell and the Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal to the Rochdale Canal.

The canal was less than a mile long, with 4 locks and a tunnel below the Deansgate area. It was built to let boats get between the Irwell and the Rochdale Canal without having to pass through the Bridgewater Canal's Hulme link, the tolls for which were high.

The canal was never a great success as it never carried as much traffic as anticipated, partly because the Bridgewater company retaliated by reducing their own tolls. Loading wharves were constructed in the tunnel section with goods being hoisted through shafts to and from the railway warehouse later built above.

The canal was closed in 1922 and part of it has been filled in but in the second World War the tunnel was used as an air-raid shelter.

The lock at the River Irwell end was restored when a hotel was built nearby and the Rochdale Canal end has been re-instated to provide a water feature alongside the new Bridgewater Hall.

Manchester and Salford Junction Canal
The entrance to the former Junction Canal from the Rochdale Canal.
Manchester and Salford Junction Canal
Looking south to the Rochdale Canal.
Manchester and Salford Junction Canal
Along the side of the Bridgewater Hall.
Manchester and Salford Junction Canal
The re-instated section of the Junction Canal terminates with this basin alongside the Bridgewater Hall.
Photo: Nick Catford - Manchester and Salford Junction Canal 
Photo: Nick Catford
Section of underground canal, with the towpath on a platform to the right.
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Photo: Nick Catford - Manchester and Salford Junction Canal
Photo: Nick Catford
Underground transhipment area below Great Northern Warehouse.
Photo: Nick Catford - Manchester and Salford Junction Canal
Photo: Nick Catford
Believed to be the housing of one of the two pumping engines which back-pumped water up the locks.
Photo: Nick Catford - Manchester and Salford Junction Canal
Photo: Nick Catford
Structures built on the canal bed during its use as an air raid shelter.

Below the Great Northern Warehouse. there was a transhipment area with four large bays. Two lift shafts carried goods from the canal level to the railway and warehouse levels.

The tunnels were used as air raid shelters during the second world war.

It is believed that there were two pumping engines which raised water back up the locks at the north eastern end of the tunnel. The pump housings were believed to have formerly been out in the open, but decapitated when Central Station was constructed across the line of the canal in 1875. The housings are now enclosed in part of the tunnel.

The 4 images above were taken during 1994 by Nick Catford. Larger versions along with more photographs of the underground section of this canal can be found on the Subterranea Britannica website.

Click here to visit that website.

Manchester and Salford Junction Canal
The remains of the lock at junction with River Irwell, looking north-west.
Manchester and Salford Junction Canal
The entrance to the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal from the River Irwell. Beyond the entrance lock, the route of the canal ran under what is now Granada Studios.
Waterways in Manchester and Salford home page

For more information about the underground section of this canal, including photographs, click here to visit the Subterranea Britannica website