Hidden Manchester Map

Tunnels, rivers, mines & subterranean spaces of Hidden Manchester

Research Sources

This map would not be possible without numerous informational and digital sources which I have used to gather information about and pinpoint the location of features. A lot of my method is simply finding accurate plans, laying them over a digital map and tracing geometry over the top. In other cases descriptions are used to work out a location, and in many cases historical maps.

Underground Manchester / Below Manchester

Keith Warrender has written two books about Manchester’s underground features, which really fired my imagination at the beginning of this journey and which are heavily referenced by this map. His first is Underground Manchester: Secrets of the City Revealed and his second is Below Manchester: Going Deeper Under the City. Both are very accessible and available to purchase on Amazon at a reasonable price.

Hidden Manchester

Glynis Cooper’s book Hidden Manchester features some interesting history of Manchester and while it does not focus on the underground, it is still an interesting read and has useful context.

The Lost Rivers of Manchester

This 1987 publication is the canonical text around rivers which have been hidden, culverted, diverted or simply forgotten: the Dean, the Tib, Shooters Brook, Corn Brook etc. You won’t find a digital copy and real copies start at £40, but there is one available for on site reading in Central Libraries local history section.

Subterranean Stockport

This book by Emma Brown details numerous features of industrial Stockport’s history, including water tunnels, caves, culverts, sewers, icehouses and air-raid shelters. Emma has extensively explored these features and included over 100 photographs from her expeditions.

Subterranea Britannica

Subterranea Britannica’s website features man-made and man-used underground structures and space. It is a great well researched site with photography covering a massive number of sites, which tend to be cold war or nuclear in nature.


substormflow has a great section on Manchester, and is the work of one explorer mapping and documenting the various sewers and drains he visits. Features a fantastic Manchester Sewer Map.

War Plan UK

Duncan Campbell’s 1982 publication revealed (in many cases for the first time) how inadequate and futile Britain’s preparations for a nuclear war were. This is the source of much of the information about the GUTE, along with the ground plans.

20 Historical Maps of Manchester

This site allows you to view a number of historical maps overlayed with a modern map view, allowing you to see how an area used to be laid out. This has been priceless when trying to understand where long gone or obscured features are located.

The University of Manchester Library Image Collections

This has a great wealth of maps and diagrams concerning Manchester, including the 1794 William Green map which is not shown on the ‘20 Historical Maps of Manchester’ site. The 1891 1:500 OS maps are also particularly helpful. The 1:2500 OS Maps are available (see indices of the northern and southern sheets), with some sheets varying between 1889 and 1935, and cover plenty of spaces outside the city centre.

A deeper understanding of climate induced risk to urban infrastructure: case studies of past events in Greater Manchester

An interesting read, and contains a copy of probably the best online reproduction of Ashworth’s map of Manchester’s underground rivers.


A collaboration between Martin Dodge and Richard Brooks, the Infra_MANC exhibition provided a picture of the post war infrastructure of Manchester, and its plans and fantasies for the future. Its catalogue is available online.

Maps, Memories and Manchester: The Cartographic Imagination of the Hidden Networks of the Hydraulic City

Another paper from Martin Dodge, this explores the idea of underground drains and sewers as the networks that they are, with some wonderful figures included at the end covering old plans for city sewers and the Thirlmere and Haweswater Aqueducts.

Manchester’s Guardian Underground Telephone Exchange

Yet another Martin Dodge and Richard Brooks publication covering the context, construction and history around the GUTE.


Skyliner is a very well written and researched blog, and features some fascinating details and history about sights you might otherwise miss.

Grace’s Guide to British Industrial Heritage

This is a mammoth encyclopedia about all sort of subjects, and has some excellently researched articles about Manchester’s history.


This site features an enormous amount of information about canals in general, but the Castlefield page has plenty of photos past and present of the area to allow you to see how it has changed.

Cold-War History in Manchester

Atomica is an archive of UK civil defence material, and hosts a mirror of the now dead cybertrn.demon.co.uk site with some fairly old information and photographs about the Guardian Underground Telephone Exchange.

Pennine Waterways: Manchester and Salford Junction Canal

This site has some photographs of the Manchester and Salford Junction Canal.

Aidan O’Rourke’s now closed forum

This thread was one of the things that drew me into reading more and more about Manchester’s unknown features. Since it is closed, it must now be read on the Wayback Machine Web Archive.

From Farmer to Factory Owner: Models, Methodology and Industrialisation. The Archaeology of the Industrial Revolution in North-West England

Page 42 of this volume of Archaeology North West has some interesting material about the River Tib as part of a section about Arkwright’s Mill in the chapter titled ‘From Linen Weaver to Cotton Manufacturer: Manchester During the 17th and 18th Centuries and the Social Archaeology of Industrialisation’.

The Grocers’ Warehouse, Castlefield: the First True Canal Warehouse?

This chapter from Salford University’s Applied Archaeology Series explores the history of the Grocers’ Warehouse in Castlefield and its surroundings.

History and Description of the Manchester Waterworks

We have a lot to thank Bateman for, as an early architect of the drinking supply which has supplied Manchester’s success. This is a work of beautiful plans from his documentation of Manchester’s Waterworks, including maps and engineering drawings.

Manchester Maps by Manchester Archives

A massive selection of historical maps to browse on Flickr.