The River Irwell through Manchester formed part of the Mersey and Irwell Navigation from 1736 until the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal in 1894. Many sections of the Mersey and Irwell Navigation were incorporated into the Ship Canal. The Upper Reaches of the Manchester Ship Canal include the navigable part of the River Irwell through Manchester.
Boats originally accessed the River Irwell by means of the short Hulme Locks Branch. This is now closed and boats now use a new lock between the Bridgewater Canal and Pomona Dock. When the Manchester Bolton and Bury Canal is restored, access to it will be via the River Irwell.
Salford Quays and the Upper Reaches of the Ship Canal between Salford Quays and Pomona are covered by other pages of this website. These pages look at the section from Pomona to Hunts Bank (Victoria).