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25. Building the MSC.


algy
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In the foreground a steam navvy is at work on the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal. The design of the machine suggests it was produced by Messrs. Ruston and Proctor, a company which supplied over fifty machines to work on the Canal. A steam engine powered a large arm fixed with scoop which was capable of dealing with a variety of material, such as sand, gravel and chalk.

Behind the embankment is a second machine. From its shape it appears to be a German land excavator which is under construction on site. This particular type had a shed-like construction over the machinery, with the wagons running inside the dredger to collect the extracted material.

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Various types of land excavators, or steam 'navvies' were used on the Manchester Ship Canal construction. The nature of the work meant machines and men often worked very close to water, as illustrated in this photograph.

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A stretch of the contractor's railway on the embankment of the Manchester Ship Canal used to remove material dug from the Canal. It was also used to move men and machinery along the whole stretch of the Ship Canal. In the middle of the photograph there is a crossing for the engines and wagons. A signal box can just be seen on the middle of the bridge.

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The opening of the Manchester Ship Canal took place on New Year's Day, 1894. A procession of vessels made their way along the Canal, including the 'Norseman' at its head, carrying the Company Directors. Later on that year in May the Canal had its formal opening by Queen Victoria.

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The Opening Display For The Manchester Ship Canal.

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Queen Victoria's visit in May 1894 marked the official opening of the Manchester Ship Canal. An earlier opening had taken place on New Year's Day of the same year, in which a procession of vessels had sailed the length of the Canal, led by the vessel 'Norseman' carrying the Company Directors. Here the Queen is knighting the Mayors of Manchester and Salford on her visit to open the Ship Canal

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The opening of the Manchester Ship Canal took place on New Year's Day, 1894. A procession of vessels made their way along the Canal, including the 'Norseman' at its head, carrying the Company Directors. Later on that year in May the Canal had its formal opening by Queen Victoria.

z0363_TheOpeningOfTheManchesterShipCanalJanuary1st1894TheNorseman.jpg

 

As well as homes, the navvies working on the Ship Canal also needed other services. Venues where they could worship and socialise were very important. The notice outside this wooden building reads 'Manchester Ship Canal Thelwall Mission Hall'. Behind it can be seen refreshment rooms, offering tea and coffee.

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This hydraulically operated bridge was one of seven swing bridges constructed across the Manchester Ship Canal. They were all constructed to a similar design. The length of the arms differed between bridges according to local circumstances. Trafford Road Bridge was the heaviest - its weight was 1800 tons, sat on 64 rollers. It had a roller circle diameter of forty-nine feet and six inches.

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This machine, called the soil transporter, was a huge construction which carried material extracted by a dredger into waiting wagon on the banks of the canal. All that is visible in this scene is the wagon end and the high supporting structure. The transporter was designed and constructed by John Price of Grappenhall, Cheshire, who was agent for the six lower sections of the Canal.

The navvy on the left, in the foreground, has used an empty sack to give him an extra protective covering against the difficult conditions.

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