|BCN025||125th Anniversary of the Opening of the Manchester Ship Canal||£10.95||Limited Availability|
Issue Date: 21/05/2019
Issue Name: 125th Anniversary of the Opening of the Manchester Ship Canal
Producer: Buckingham Covers
The Manchester Ship Canal took six years to build and cost £15 million. When it opened in January 1894 it was the largest river navigation canal in the world, and enabled the newly created Port of Manchester to become Britian's third busiest port (despite the city being about 40 miles inland).
Our cover features an image of the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal by the yacht "Norsman" in 1894, from a painting by James Mudd. It has a 1st class Queen Victoria stamp from the 2019 Classic Stamp issue and is postmarked on the anniversary of the opening, celebrating this great feat of Victorian engineering.
The Manchester Ship Canal
The Manchester Ship Canal is a great example of how engineering helped the North West to become an industrial powerhouse. Construction started in November 1887 and took seven years to complete. Queen Victoria opened the canal in 1894 enabling the newly-created Port of Manchester to become Britain’s third busiest port. The canal runs for 36 miles from Eastham on the Mersey estuary to Salford in Greater Manchester. It is best described as a 'linear port', providing access for shipping to docks along its length and is also known as the 'Big Ditch', because of the immense size of the building project. It was dug virtually by hand by teams of 'navvies' - workers on the navigation or canal and at the height of the construction period, 17,000 men were at work in one of the most ambitious and daring construction projects the world had ever seen. Sadly, many workers died in the brutal working conditions. It was fiercely opposed by Liverpool, as the aim was to avoid the charges by the Port of Liverpool and the railway company. Manchester business leaders believed that these were far too high. The canal was a bold response to problems of depression and unemployment in Manchester and although the construction jobs were of course temporary, the port became a big employer.
The Canal is still a working waterway and has a bright future as transporting containers by water reduces road traffic congestion and carbon dioxide emissions from lorries.
Why not join our Maritime Club? Find out more details here