When building the Bridgewater Canal James Brindley built a siphon at Pomona to carry the Cornbrook under the canal and into the River Irwell. He also build a circular wear here to allow the canal to overflow in to the brook in order to maintain the correct height of the water. You can see a photo of Cornbrook Weir on Canal Archive.
This tunnel leads from a previous lower level Medlock to a point just underneath the present day station approach, and was used to carry coal from the Worsley mines to the station.
Irk Culvert start at Scotland Bridge / Redwood 📍
Here the Irk culvert begins.
Irk culvert 📍
Named Optimus Prime by the urban exploration community
The underground canal was built in 1839 to avoid large tolls on the other connection between the Rochdale Canal & the River Irwell, and also provided a convenient route on to the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal which terminated almost directly opposite the junction with the Irwell. The tunnel was later used as air raid shelters during WWII. The Irwell end was renovated in the 1980s and until recently underground tours were offered of the space underneath the Great Northern Railway Warehouse.
Medlock ‘Budge’ Culvert 📍
Medlock Culvert 📍
A culvert of the River Medlock.
Here the Medlock is diverted via a siphon underneath the Bridgewater canal. Before this tunnel was built the river supplied the Bridgewater, but this was no longer necessary when the connection to the Rochdale Canals was made. The pins on the map represent ventilation grids. The tunnel and associated overflow are grade II listed structures.
Medlock Gaythorn Culvert 📍
This culverted section of the River Medlock flows under the First Street development, formerly the Gaythorn Gasworks. It is shown as an open river on the 1845 OS Six-Inch map. By 1888 it had been covered as shown on the Lancashire. Manchester. Sheet CIV. 10. 14 map. It was still following its original course at this point (shown dashed on this map). The route appears to have been straightened at some point since 1888. Within this section the hidden River Tib meets the River Medlock.
Medlock ‘You-Missed’ Culvert 📍
Previous Irwell route 📍
Here the Bridgewater drains into the Medlock though a tumbling weir. Brindley is also responsible for the similar Cornbrook Weir. The tunnel that this weir drains into joins the Medlock next to the outfall of the Medlock Diversion Tunnel. The overflow and associated tunnel are grade II listed structures.
Here the hidden underground River Tib crosses the Rochdale Canal. At a point—marked on the side of the canal—the two are connected by a trap-door in the canal bed which was used to drain water into the River Tib.
The River Tib has been hidden from view for almost two centuries, and yet is still remembered in place names such as Tib Street, Tib Lock, Tib Lane. It marked the boundary of the Roman settlement Mamucium and ultimately feeds the River Medlock.
Rochdale Canal Tunnel under Dale Street 📍
Rochdale Water Diversion Culvert Vent 📍
Shooters Brook rises in Newton Heath. It is a tributary of the Medlock and is fed by Newton Brook. Although these days it is diverted into the Dukes Tunnel and sewers it used to run openly through Manchester from the North East, meeting the Medlock at Garrat Hall.
The Great Fosse 📍
Route taken from A deeper understanding of climate induced risk to urban infrastructure: case studies of past events in Greater Manchester.
Read Remains Connected With Lancaster and Chester: Collectanea Relating to Manchester and Its Neighborhood for more information.
This is the location of the point that the River Tib joins the River Medlock. The exact location is roughly worked out from tracing the 1794 William Green map. The photos below from substormflow’s exploration of the River Medlock are believed to be the river emerging from its very old culvert (much better versions are included on the link) just underneath First Street. The drawing (provided by Manchester’s image archives) shows an illustration by Frederick A. Winkfield from page 109 of Memorials of Manchester Streets named ‘Outlet of the River Tib at Gaythorn’.
The 56 mile underground Haweswater Aqueduct is another feat of engineering drawing water from the Lake District to supply Manchester. It was started in 1935, 10 years after the Thirlmere Aqueduct was completed in 1955 (although later improvements were made in the 1970s).
This mammoth 96 mile aqueduct was built between 1890 and 1925 to serve the growing demand for water in post-industrial revolution Manchester. A true feat of Victorian engineering, it brings over 220 million litres of clean drinking water (11% of the North West’s water) from the Lake District to Manchester over a 36 hour journey. It is the longest gravity-fed aqueduct in the world and if its tunnel section was continuous it would be the longest tunnel in the world.
Ball Brook 📍
Black Brook Beswick 📍
Black Brook 📍
Chorlton Brook 📍
Clayton Brook 📍
Cringle Brook 📍
Crowcroft Brook 📍
Dick Lane Brook 📍
Dodgeleech Brook 📍
Dog Kennel Brook 📍
Fallowfield Brook 📍
Fog Lane Brook 📍
Gore Brook may receive its name from a dirty appearance, as gore means dirty in Dutch. It is over 3 miles long (although perhaps longer as I’ve not found a definitive description of its start). It runs through Birch Fields Park and Platt Fields Park in Fallowfield and is culverted a number of times in Belle Vue, Rusholme and Fallowfield. Close to its start at Debdale Reservoir a culvert (nicknamed Gorton Falls) carries the Gore over the reservoir to keep it’s polluted water out of it.
Levenshulme Road Brook 📍
Ley Brook 📍
Longford Brook 📍
Moss Brook 📍
Platt Brook 📍
Print Works Brook 📍
Red Lion Brook 📍
Rush Brook 📍
Shaw Brook 📍
Willow Brook 📍
Newton Brook 📍
Newton Brook is a small brook rising in Wilson Park between Newton Heath and Miles Platting. It eventually feeds into Shooters Brook.
Moston Brook 📍
Moston Brook passes near to the location of Moston Cottage, and eventually feeds the River Irk. You can see an exploration of Moston Brook’s culverts on substormflow, 28dayslater, urbexforums and Derelict Places.
Rough Leech Gutter 📍
Mersey Merseyway culvert 📍
This culvert takes the newly formed River Mersey under Stockport’s Merseyway Shopping Centre. See photos from the Tunnel Inspector.
Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Margaret Fletcher Tunnel 📍
Completed in 2008, this tunnel underneath the Manchester Inner Ring Road connects the restored Middlewood Locks section of the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal to the River Irwell. Slightly further along the canal is the yet to be reopened Salford Tunnel No. 1.
Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Salford Tunnel No. 1 📍
Here the Bolton Canal passed beneath the Manchester and Bolton Railway. The canal is being restored and this tunnel marks the end of the section currently navigable from the River Irwell. Just after this short tunnel another was built, known as Salford Tunnel No. 2, but this replaced by a bridge although still referred to as a tunnel. Downstream boats must pass through the new Margaret Fletcher tunnel under Manchester Inner Ring Road to reach the Irwell. You can read more about this stretch of the canal on the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal Society site. The Ordnance Survey Lancashire. Sheet CIV. 10 sheet shows this section of the canal in 1986.
Part of the Longdendale Aqueduct, Mottram Tunnel is 2.8km long. It was built between 1848 and 1850 and can carry 230 million litres of water a day. Along its route you can see a number of ventilation shafts, including one right in the middle of a housing estate (see Google Maps). The tunnel is shown on a splendid map of the aqueduct shown in Martin Dodge’s Spaces of Infrastructure: The History and Description of the Manchester Waterworks article on his blog.