Hidden Manchester Map

Tunnels, rivers, mines & subterranean spaces of Hidden Manchester

> 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.

The Tib rises from a spring named Coopers Pit in Miles Platting and broadly runs towards the top of Tib St, down its length, through the old Lewis’s (now Primark) arcade, under the town hall extension, the library and The Midland, down to Tib Lock and then under First St to where it drains into the Medlock.

It has been culverted for around two centuries now, and is often just a dry ditch (as was often the case except in times of heavy rain). It did once feed Shude-Hill Pits and the Infirmary pond—two reservoirs supplying the city with water.

In order to provide water for the centrally placed water wheel a reservoir was built on the western side of the mill and it seems highly likely that it was fed by a leat drawn from nearby ponds known as the Shude Hill Pitts on Swan Street, which in their turn were fed by directly from the River Tib.

The route has been obscured over time as it has been rerouted through modern sewers a number of times. The final stretch of the route may change as part of the proposition for the Northern Hub transport project, to reduce the interaction with the viaduct. The Northern Hub Water Constraints Map describing this change shows a different route to the one I’ve plotted, and may in fact be a more accurate/modern version. This route is shown as a thinner dashed line, with the proposed diversion as a dotted line. The route from the Midland Hotel onwards has been plotted from the William Green map below.

The River Tib flows underneath the MSJ&AR viaduct approximately 60m to the east of Albion Street. It is planned that the river will be diverted as part of ongoing works at the First Street Development site.

There is an interesting connection with the Rochdale Canal, which has a lock named after it at the point their courses cross: a trap door can drain the canal into the river.

The river is also mentioned in Geoffrey Ashworth’s 1987 book The Lost Rivers of Manchester where its overall route can be seen, as well as in Underground Manchester (although I think it shows the river about 100ft too far east). Its route from Peter Street to the River Medlock is shown in on William Green’s 1794 ‘Plan of Manchester & Salford’.

In April 2016 the Manchester Evening News reported that a 10' deep sinkhole opened up in the NCP car park on Tib Street, which may very well be connected to the River Tib.

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