The Manchester Ship Canal is a 36 miles (58km) long river navigation in North West England, built to give the city of Manchester direct access to the sea. It was built between 1887 and 1894 at a cost of £15 million pounds, and in its day was the largest navigation canal in the world.
The canal was championed by Manchester manufacturer Daniel Adamson, who arranged a meeting at his home in Didsbury on 27th June 1882. He invited the representatives of several Lancashire towns, local businessmen and politicians, and two civil engineers, Hamilton Fulton and Edward Leader Williams. Fulton proposed a tidal canal, with no locks and a deepened channel into Manchester, Williams was in favour of a series of locks. Both engineers were invited to submit proposals, and Williams plans were selected. The estimated cost of construction was £5,160,000, and the work was expected to take four years to complete. It was finally completely filled with water in November 1893, and opened to its first traffic on 1st January 1894. On the 21st May 1894, Queen Victoria visited to perform the official opening. The Queen knighted the mayor of Salford, William Henry Bailey and the lord mayor of Manchester, Anthony Marshall at the opening of the canal. During one of the three royal visits made to Manchester, Edward Leader Williams was knighted by the Queen on 2nd July by Letters Patent
The Manchester Ship Canal is the eighth-longest ship canal in the world, only slightly shorter the Panama Canal in Central America. Upon completion the canal enabled Manchester to become Britainís third busiest port, despite being 40 miles inland.
Unlike most other British canals, the Manchester Ship Canal was never nationalised. In 1991 the Ship Canal Company became part of Peel Holdings, and as of 2008, the canal is owned and operated by Peel Ports, who also own the Port of Liverpool. Today, because of the decline of U.K. based manufacturing industry, and also because many ocean-going ships are too large to fit in the canal, the amount of freight it carries has dropped to about 6 million tonnes per year. Salford Docks are no longer used as ship docks, and ships using the Manchester Ship Canal unload their cargo at various places along the canal side.
References from Wikipedia