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23. Building the MSC.


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A view along the docks at Runcorn where several loads have been discharged. Runcorn had seen a great deal of activity prior to the Manchester Ship Canal, with locks being built as part of the Duke of Bridgewater's canal in the eighteenth century. With the arrival of the Ship Canal Runcorn developed further. Vessels which could not travel the whole length of the Canal, due to high masts, transferred their cargoes to other more suitable vessels at the Docks. Runcorn was also the point where connections could be made to the Bridgewater Canal.



Runcorn had seen a great deal of activity before the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal, with docks constructed by the Duke of Bridgewater for the Bridgewater Canal. Here the docks are full of sailing vessels. When the Ship Canal opened such ships could not pass the fixed level bridges. Instead they transferred their loads to more suitable vessels at Runcorn.



There had been locks at Runcorn since the time of the Duke of Bridgewater, with the Bridgewater canal completed to Runcorn in 1776. Runcorn saw activity again with the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal, as shown in this photograph. The locks can be seen just off centre beneath a temporary wooden railway bridge. There are building materials on the left, with timber on a boat using the locks.



Construction work on the Runcorn section of the Manchester Ship Canal. No-Man's Land is the small island of land near the top of this photograph. It has also been called the Duke's Island. The Duke of Bridgewater built locks at Runcorn as part of the Bridgewater Canal.



Runcorn No-MansLand.



This photograph was taken during the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. In the foreground can be seen the original docks for the Old Quay, drained in preparation for work on the new Ship Canal. These locks had provided entrance to the Runcorn and Latchford Canal, which was mostly swallowed up by the new Ship Canal. Work on the Ship Canal is evident in the centre of the river, where a line of piles have been put in place as part of the construction of the river wall. Various machines are at work alongside. The impressive Runcorn Viaduct can be seen in the distance.



Runcorn was a busy town before the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal, with traffic passing through using both the Bridgewater Canal and the Runcorn and Latchford Canal. Here we can see the Old Quay lock and docks, part of the Mersey and Irwell Navigation. Preparations are being made for work on the Ship Canal.



Work well in progress under the Runcorn Railway Bridge.



As part of the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal, a wall was built at Runcorn to separate the new Canal from the River Mersey. Here we can see the wall under construction, with Runcorn viaduct in the background.



During the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal miles of temporary railway track was laid to transport materials and men around the site. Here we can see two workers standing next to a signal box equipped with signal flags, controlling passage on such a line, with tracks running either side of the structure.


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