SJ7697 : Approaching the Barton Aqueduct

taken 4 years ago, near to Eccles, Salford, Great Britain

Approaching the Barton Aqueduct
Approaching the Barton Aqueduct

The aqueduct carries the Bridgewater Canal first over the B5230 and then the Manchester Ship Canal.
The Bridgewater Canal

Often considered to be the first "true" canal, the Bridgewater Canal was commissioned by Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, to transport coal from his mines in Worsley. The section from Worsley to Manchester opened on 17th July 1761; it was later extended from Manchester to Runcorn, and then from Worsley to Leigh. Coal was needed in large quantities to fuel the industrial revolution and the canal enabled coal and other goods to be transported efficiently and cheaply to the rapidly expanding towns and cities. Its success helped inspire a period of intense canal building although it later faced intense competition from the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and the Macclesfield Canal.

The canal is connected to the Rochdale Canal (LinkExternal link ) in Manchester, the Trent and Mersey Canal at Preston Brook, south-east of Runcorn, and to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Leigh. It once connected with the River Mersey at Runcorn but has since been cut off by a slip road to the Silver Jubilee Bridge.

Navigable throughout its history, it is one of the few canals in Britain not to have been nationalised, and remains privately owned. Commercial traffic continued on the canal until 1974. By this time, canals were becoming more important as a leisure facility and pleasure craft now use the canal which forms part of the Cheshire Ring circular canal route.

For many years, the canal around Worsley was noted for the distinctive bright orange colouring of the water. This was a result of iron oxide from the mines tainting the water as the canal passes through Worsley. A 2.5 million remedial scheme was undertaken in 2013 to remove this colouration.

The Bridgewater Canal is owned and operated by the Manchester Ship Canal Company in conjunction with the Bridgewater Canal Trust.

LinkExternal link Bridgewater Canal Company
LinkExternal link Pennine Waterways
LinkExternal link Wikipedia

Barton Swing Aqueduct

The Barton Swing Aqueduct carries the Bridgewater Canal (LinkExternal link ) across the Manchester Ship Canal, the swinging action allows large vessels using the Manchester Ship Canal to pass underneath and smaller narrowboats on the canal to cross over the top. The aqueduct, which is the first and only swing aqueduct in the world, (LinkExternal link ) is a Grade II* listed building (Historic England List Entry Number: 1356522 LinkExternal link Heritage Gateway).

The Manchester Ship Canal, opened in 1894, allowing ships of up to 400 tons to reach docks close to the centres of Salford and Manchester. To enable the much larger vessels to pass below the Bridgewater Canal at Barton, the historic landmark of Barton Aqueduct, which dated from 1761, had to be demolished as the height of ships using the new ship canal would make them too large to pass under the original aqueduct.
The aqueduct consists of a channel that can be sealed off at each end to form a 235 feet long and 18 feet wide tank that swings round on its pivot, situated on an island in the middle of the Ship Canal. Hydraulic rams are used to drive rubber seals into each end of the moveable tank.

The structure is located adjacent to, and upstream of, the SJ7697 : Barton Road Swing Bridge. The two bridges are controlled from a brick control tower on an island in the centre of the Ship Canal. The island supports the pivot points for the rotating structures. When in the open positions, the aqueduct and road bridge line up along the length of the island, allowing ships to traverse along each side of the ship canal.

Today it is still somewhat of a curiosity and attracts industrial historians from all over the world to marvel at its ingenuity and design.

LinkExternal link Wikipedia
LinkExternal link Pennine Waterways
LinkExternal link Visit Salford (Salford City Council)

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SJ7697, 159 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Saturday, 19 August, 2017   (more nearby)
Thursday, 11 January, 2018
Geographical Context
Canal (from Tags)
Aqueduct (from Tags)
Barton Swing 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 7661 9772 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:28.5410N 2:21.2324W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SJ 7654 9783
View Direction
South-southeast (about 157 degrees)
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Canal Aqueduct 

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