'Manchester Ship Canal, interior of Barton Aqueduct', Manchester, 1900s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Photographic postcard. The Barton Aqueduct carries the water of the Bridgwater Canal over the Manchester Ship Canal at Eccles, Greater Manchester. Completed in 1896, it consists of a 234-foot-long steel trough which holds 800 tons of water. Operated hydraulically, the aqueduct was designed to be swung out of the way to be at right angles to the Ship Canal, allowing large ships to pas. When this was done, the water in the trough was held in by gates which could be closed at either end. The Manchester Ship Canal was built to allow the cotton mills of Manchester to break free of the shipping monopoly of the port of Liverpool. Opened by Queen Victoria in 1894, the canal allowed ships as large as 20,000 tons to reach Manchester's docks.