Manchester docks, 1883.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plate taken from the 'Illustrated London News' (Vol 83/1 p 133). Manchester was a leader in trade and industry in the early part of the nineteenth century, but by its close, it was struggling with rail charges and the problem of acces to the docks. In an attempt to ease the pasage of goods into the habour, in 1882, a group of industrialists and businesmen formed the Manchester Ship Canal Company with the intention to build a canal large enough to let ocean going liners sail directly into Manchester from Liverpool. However, the plan met with opposition, and lack of funds, as well as the technical complexities involved in the series of swing bridges and aqueducts, and was not complete until 1894.