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Bury Canal Society

Photo Gallery.....

The then and now photos are taken from Paul Hindle's book Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Through Time, published by Amberley in 2013; it is available at a reduced price from the Society sales.

Margaret Fletcher Tunnel photo Margaret Fletcher Tunnel photo
Lock 1 and the Margaret Fletcher Tunnel
The left picture, taken in 1905, shows a full Lock 1 with Bloody Bridge and Princes Bridge beyond. The right picture is essentially the same view, but after the 2008 restoration. Locks 1 & 2 have been converted into a tunnel under the Inner Relief Road.

Tunnel 1 and the winding hole photo Tunnel No 1 and the winding hole photoTunnel No 1 and the Winding Hole
The left picture, taken in 1954, shows Tunnel No 1 and the industrial premises. The right photo is essentially the same view today; the people on the bank in both pictures are in almost the same position. The restored canal ends at the new ‘winding hole’ which enables full-length boats to turn round. Just beyond is the narrow stretch which was originally Lock 4, and later Tunnel No 1. The Beetham Tower looms over the scene.

Clifton Aqueduct photo Clifton Aqueduct photoClifton Aqueduct
The aqueduct was a popular place for Sunday walks, as seen in this 1908 photograph. Beyond a wharf the canal turns sharply left to follow the east bank of the River Irwell. Although the aqueduct is still intact, it has been dry for many years.

Giant's Seat Lock House photo Giant's Seat Lock House photoGiant’s Seat Lock House
There were two locks at Giant’s Seat; the pictures show the lock house which still stands by the upper lock. Both locks are infilled, though traces of the upper lock are just visible in the grass. The lock house is the only one surviving on the canal, built in the mid-nineteenth century, though it has been extended. The path to the right of the wire fence is still a public right of way, though often difficult of access at either end.


Ringley Locks photo Ringley Locks photoRingley Locks
The left picture is a particular favourite, showing the derelict lock house, and two boys on their bikes wearing caps, probably taken in the early 1950s before the lock house was demolished. The right picture is a painting of the top lock and lock house.


Appleyard Bridge photo Appleyard Bridge photoAppleyard Bridge
The old wooden bridge was replaced by Bolton Council by a new concrete and brick bridge in 1998; the Canal Society lobbied to have it rebuilt to full navigable standards, rather than the canal culverted and the road being dropped. It carries the unadopted Prestolee Road across the canal. Note the thin sandstone slabs forming the boundary wall.


Nob End photo Nob End photoNob End
Two pictures of Nob End, with and without the workshops. This is a favourite spot for photography, even though the houses face north, and their fronts are rarely in sunlight. The area is dominated by the tall Wellfield House, on the opposite bank of the canal.


Farnworth Bridge Aqueduct photo Fanrworth Bridge Aqueduct photoFarnworth Bridge Aqueduct (Hall Lane)
The canal is in water for ¾ mile, but stops abruptly where the aqueduct used to be. It was rebuilt in 1884-5, but the roadway was only 21 feet wide, and was demolished in 1950; only a length of blue brick remains on the right hand side. The Bolton arm had been largely disused from in 1924, and two more aqueducts have been demolished which will make it difficult to restore the canal beyond this point.


Bolton Terminus photo Bolton Terminus photoBolton Terminus
The canal formerly ended at a warehouse just beyond the Bolton to Blackburn railway viaduct, built in 1847. The southbound carriageway of the St Peter’s Way (A666) now occupies the span which formerly allowed the canal to reach its terminus. The area to the left is still known as Church Wharf as it lies immediately below the parish church. The warehouse remained in use for other purposes until the 1960s.


Steam Crane photo Steam Crane photoSteam Crane
The iconic steam crane at Mount Sion, used as the Canal Society’s logo, was made in Leeds in about 1884. It was used to transfer coal from the canal to the former bleach works below. The mill now produces specialist pulps, and it owns the crane. The crane is a listed structure, and is in need of some restoration, but the problems are difficult. At least the Society has painted it in protective paint. Fred Dibnah was Honorary President of the Canal Society for several years until his death in 2004. The working parts of the crane are in reasonable condition, but the real problem is that the bottom of the vertical boiler has corroded, so that you can see right through! We had always hoped that Fred might repair it!


Whittaker's Bridge photo Whittaker's Bridge photoWhittaker’s Bridge
There are three bridges close together here; the first and last were railway bridges, but this middle bridge was an occupation bridge built in the 1870s to replace a bridge on the site of the first railway bridge. As part of the Irwell Sculpture Trail it now has an installation by the New York conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner, created in 2005; in red paint it bears the words WATER MADE IT WET.


Daisyfield Viaduct Daisyfield ViaductDaisyfield Viaduct
The viaduct carried the Bolton to Bury railway line of 1845 over Wellington Street, the canal and the River Irwell. The left picture was taken in 1968, showing New Victoria Mills and Elton Paper Mill through the arch. Since then the canal has been infilled, but its route is still clear, though now part of the Fire & Rescue Service training centre.

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