Manchester Ship Canal Company

The Manchester Ship Canal Company was responsible for the funding and construction of the canal and the later management of the canal until it was bought by Peel Holdings in 2008.

The project began with a meeting organised by Daniel Adamson on the 27th June 1882, at his home in Didsbury. The meeting was attended by several industrialists from across the region, as well as civic leaders. The project progressed but, it did have its detractors amongst them the Port of Liverpool and the railway companies. The Ship Canal was deposited with Parliament in November 1882.

The Bill was not successful however, a third Bill was presented to Parliament and this time it made it to the House of Lords where, on the 6th august 1885 it received the royal assent. Some stipulations were put in place amongst them was the company had to but the Bridgewater Navigation Company and raise £5,000,000 prior to any construction starting.

The funding was eventually secured by July 1887 and on the 11th November 1887 Lord Egerton cut the first sod. At the peak of the project there were over 16,000 men and boys working on the construction of the canal. As well as digging and carrying large amounts of the soil away by barrow, there were several mechanical diggers, powered by steam used during the project.

Eventually after six years the canal was finished and attracted the additional building of a large industrial state, Trafford park along the Manchester end of the canal which was started in 1896. The Ship Canal also extended the docking facilities by building a further Dock No 9 which was opened in 1905.

Manchester Docks was the official name given to the Docks at the terminus of the Manchester Ship Canal, the whole length of the Canal being referred to as the Port of Manchester. However, Docks No. 6 - 9 were also known as Salford Docks, due to their location in Salford, whilst Docks No. 1 - 4 were also called Pomona Docks.

The formal opening of the canal was conducted by Queen Victoria in May 1894 although the canal had been opened to shipping prior to the official opening.