Rochdale Canal Bridge 36 – Walsden, Yorkshire, UK
Posted by: dtrebilc
N 53° 41.287 W 002° 05.752
30U E 559706 N 5949202
Quick Description: This stone bridge on the Rochdale Canal is an access bridge to a building that is now a house but was originally a farm.
Location: Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 7/8/2012 12:21:54 PM
Waymark Code: WMEV4J
Long Description:The Canal History
The Rochdale canal is 32 miles long and connects Manchester on the west side of the Pennine Hills and Sowerby Bridge on the east side.
The Rochdale Canal was completed in 1804 and is one of three canals that cross the Pennine hills. This is the only one that doesn’t use tunnels. In addition it was a broad canal with bridges and locks that allowed boats of 14 feet width to pass through.
The one downside of not using tunnels is that it originally had 92 locks. These days two of them have been combined into one deep lock.
Competition from railways and roads subsequently led to a decline in goods being carried and by 1937 the only section left in operation was at the Manchester end of the canal.
In 1965 there was talk of abandoning the canal but by this time leisure boating had become very popular in the UK and there was a campaign to keep it open. Work was started and the canal slowly re-opened in a number of different stages. The whole length finally reopened in September 2007.
All the locks on the canal have a standard length of 72 feet (22 metres).
Details of the bridge
This bridge is an integrated stone arch bridge that is built into lock 31 as an access bridge for a house on the opposite bank. It also gives pedestrian access to the other side of the canal to allow the lock gates to be operated.
A lock always forms the narrowest part of the canal and so incorporating the bridge into the lock makes it smaller and cheaper to build.
There is also a set of stone steps leading down from the bridge to the canal bank.
At some point the bridge has been widened to allow it to take road vehicles. The bridge is now so close to the lock gates that the arms used to open and shut the gates have had to be shortened. This would make the lock too difficult to operate in the normal manner and so the gates are connected to a ratchet system on the canal banks. See way mark WMERCF
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