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Welcome to the official home of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society

Key Facts

  • Canal Authorised by Act of Parliament in 1791
  • Surveyed and Engineered by Matthew Fletcher
  • Opened in 1797 - Salford locks completed in 1809, linking the canal to the River Irwell
  • Length: 15 miles 1 furlong
  • Summit level from Bolton to Bury; 17 locks descend to Salford: a drop of 187ft
  • Maximum size of boats: 68' x 14' 2"
  • Principal traffic was coal from numerous canalside collieries
  • 20 tramroads linked the canal to other collieries
  • Major features: Damside Aqueduct (demolished), Prestolee Locks (2 staircases of 3 locks), Prestolee and Clifton Aqueducts, steam crane at Mount Sion, Ringley lock house, quarter-milestones
  • Originally designed as a narrow canal - widened during construction in order to be able to link with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Red Moss
  • Extensions to Red Moss, Haslingden & Sladen proposed but not built
  • Fletcher's Canal built c. 1791; connected to the MB&BC c. 1800
  • Canal became a railway company in 1831, and built the Manchester to Bolton line in 1838. The canal passed to the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway in 1847
  • Sections became disused from 1924; major breach at Prestolee in 1936; canal formally closed in 1941 & 1961; last use in Bury in 1965
  • Canal Society formed 1987
  • Canal protected by Salford, Bolton & Bury local authorities in their Unitary Development Plans
  • Restoration announced by British Waterways in 2002, work began in 2006
 
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