Open main menu
This page has been validated.
Manchester—Manchester Ship Canal

surmounted by a statue of Victory. The city has two parks, and in one of them, overlooking the Merrimac, is a monument to the memory of General John Stark, who was born and was buried here. The water-supply is obtained from Lake Massabesic. Amoskeag Falls in the Merrimac are 55 ft. in height, and by means of hydraulic canals Manchester is provided with a fine water-power. Steam power is also used, and the city is by far the most important manufacturing centre in the state. It is extensively engaged in the manufacture of cotton goods, boots and shoes, worsted goods, hosiery and other knit goods, and locomotives; among the other manufactures are linen goods, steam fire-engines, paper, edge tools, soap, leather, carriages and beer. The value of the city's factory products increased from $24,628,345 in 1900 to $30,696,926 in 1905, or 24.6%. In 1905 Manchester produced 24.8% of the total factory product of the state. Manchester ranks fifth among the cities of the United States in cotton manufacturing, and ninth among the cities of the country in the manufacture of boots and shoes.

On account of the abundance of fish in the river here, Amoskeag Falls and vicinity were a favourite resort of the Penacook Indians, and it is said that John Eliot, the “Apostle to the Indians,” preached to them here in the summer of 1651. The first white settlement within the present limits of Manchester was made in 1722 by Scottish-Irish immigrants at Goffe's Falls, 5 m. below Amoskeag Falls. In 1723 a cabin was built by some of these immigrants at the greater falls, and gradually a small settlement grew up there. In 1735 Massachusetts granted to a body of men known as “Tyng's Snow-Shoe Scouts” and their descendants a tract of land 3 m. wide along the east bank of the Merrimac, designated as “Tyng's Township.” The Scottish-Irish claimed this tract as part of their grant from New Hampshire, and there arose between the rival claimants a bitter controversy which lasted until May 1741, when the courts decided against the Massachusetts claimants. In 1751 the territory formerly known as “Tyng's Township,” and sometimes called, “Harrytown,” with portions of Chester and Londonderry, was incorporated as a township under the name Derryfield; in 1810 the name was changed to Manchester, the change having been suggested by the town's manufacturing possibilities; and in 1846 Manchester was chartered as a city. The first sawmill was erected as early as 1736, and during the years from 1794 to 1807 a canal was constructed around the Amoskeag Falls through which to carry lumber. As late as 1830 the town had a population of only 877, but in 1831 the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company was incorporated, the construction of hydraulic canals and the erection of cotton mills followed, the villages of Piscataquog and Amoskeag were annexed in 1853, and the population increased to 3235 in 1840, to 8841 in 1860, and to 33,592 in 1880.

Consult M. D. Clarke, Manchester, A Brief Record of its Past and a Picture of its Present (Manchester, 1875).

MANCHESTER, a former city of Chesterfield county, Virginia, U.S.A., (on the S. side of the James river), since 1910 a part of Richmond. Pop. (1900), 9715, of whom 3338 were negroes; (1906 estimate), 9997. It is served by the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Air Line, and the Southern railways, by electric lines to Richmond and Petersburg, and by numerous river boats. It is finely situated in a bend of the river, with about 2 m. of water front; on the heights above is Forest Hill park, a pleasure resort, and adjacent to it Woodland Heights, a beautiful residential district. From the surrounding country come much agricultural produce, coal, lumber, bricks and granite. There is a good harbour and excellent water power. Among the manufactures are paper, flour, cotton goods, leather, brick, railway supplies, &c. The value of the city's factory products increased from $1,621,358 in 1900 to $3,226,268 in 1905, or 99%.

MANCHESTER SHIP CANAL. The advantage of a waterway for the conveyance of goods between eastern Lancashire and the sea is so obvious that so far back as the year 1721 Thomas Steers designed a plan for continuing to Manchester the barge navigation which then existed between Liverpool and Warrington. Parliamentary powers were then obtained to improve the rivers Mersey and Irwell from Warrington to Manchester by means of locks and weirs. This work was successfully carried out, and proved of great benefit to the trade of the district. The duke of Bridgewater, who had made a canal from his collieries at Worsley to Manchester, afterwards continued the canal to the Mersey at Runcorn; this extension was opened in 1722 and competed with the Mersey and Irwell navigation, both routes being navigated by barges carrying about fifty tons of cargo. The Liverpool & Manchester railway at a later date afforded further facilities for conveyance of goods, but the high rates of carriage, added to heavy charges at the Liverpool docks, prejudiced trade, and the question was mooted of a ship canal to bring cotton, timber, grain and other goods direct to Manchester without transshipment. The first plan was made by William Chapman in 1825, and was followed by one designed by Henry Palmer in 1840, but it was not until the year 1882 that the movement was originated that culminated in the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal by Queen Victoria on the 21st of May 1894.

In determining the plan of the canal the main point which arose was whether it should be made with locks or whether it should be on the sea-level throughout, and therefore tidal. The advantage of a still waterway in navigating large steamers, and the facilities afforded by one constant water-level for works on the banks and the quick discharge of goods at the terminal docks at Manchester, secured the adoption of the plans for a canal with locks as designed by Sir E. Leader Williams. The fresh-water portion of the canal extended between Manchester and Runcorn, while from the latter place to Garston it was proposed to improve the upper Mersey estuary by constructing training walls and dredging to form a deep central channel. Parliamentary powers to construct the canal were sought in the session of 1883, when the bill passed the committee of the House of Commons but was rejected by the committee of the House of Lords. Brought forward again the next year, it was passed by the Lords but thrown out by the Commons. The opposition from Liverpool and the railway companies was very strong; to meet to some extent that of the former, a continuation of the canal was proposed from Runcorn to Eastham along the Cheshire side of the Mersey, instead of a trained channel in the estuary, and in this form the bill was again introduced in the session of 1885, and, notwithstanding strong opposition, was passed by both houses of parliament. The cost of this contest to promoters and opponents exceeded £400,000, the various committees on the bill having sat over 175 days. Owing to difficulties in raising the capital the works were not begun until November 1887.

The total length of the canal is 35½ m. and it may be regarded as divided into three sections. From Eastham to Runcorn it is near or through the Mersey estuary for 12¾ m., and thence to Latchford near Warrington, 8¼ m., it is inland; both these sections have the same water-level, which is raised by high tides. At Latchford the locks stop tidal action, and the canal is fed by the waters of the rivers Mersey and Irwell from that point to Manchester, 14½ m. from Latchford. The canal begins on the Cheshire side of the Mersey at Eastham, about 6 m. above Liverpool. The entrance is well sheltered and adjoins a good low-water channel communicating with the Sloyne deep at Liverpool. Three entrance locks have been provided close to and parallel with each other, their length and width being 600 by 80, 350 by 50, and 150 by 30 ft. These locks maintain the water-level in the canal nearly to mean high-water level (14 ft. 2 in. above the Liverpool datum); when the tide rises above that height the lock gates are opened and the tide flows up to Latchford, giving on high spring tides an additional depth of water of about 7 ft. On the ebb tide this water is returned to the Mersey through large sluices at Randles Creek and at the junction of the river Weaver with the canal, the level of the canal thus being reduced to its normal height. The canal throughout to Manchester has a minimum depth of 28 ft.; the depth originally was 26 ft., but the lock sills were laced 2 ft. lower to allow of the channel being dredged to 28 ft. when necessary. The minimum width at bottom is 120 ft., allowing large vessels to pass each other at any point on the canal; this width is considerably increased at the locks and other parts. The slopes are generally about 1½ to 1, but are flatter through some portions; in rock-cutting the sides are nearly vertical. From Eastham to Runcorn the canal is alternately inland and on the foreshore of the estuary, on which embankments were constructed to act as dams and keep out the tide during the excavation of the canal, and afterwards to maintain the water-level at low water in the estuary; both sides are faced with heavy coursed stone. The material for the embankments was principally clay excavated from the cuttings. In some places, where the foundation was of a porous nature, sheeting piles of timber had to be used. At Ellesmere Port, where the embankment is 6200 ft. long on sand, 13,000 whole timber sheeting piles 35 ft. long were driven, to secure the base of the embankment on each side; water jets under pressure through 1½ in. wrought-iron pipes were used at the foot of each pile to assist the sinking, which was found most difficult by ordinary means. At the river Weaver ten Stoney roller sluices are built, each 30 ft. span, with heavy stone and concrete piers and foundations; at Runcorn,