The Bridgewater Depatment
by The Manchester Ship canal Company
This was an unusual publication on loan from the library of Chris of nb Nebulae, who can always be relied on to provide something a bit unusual and off beam.
It describes itself as a handbook published in 1968, about the time I first encountered the canals, and covers the construction of the Bridgewater Canal, the activities currently happening on the waterway and concludes with a whole lot of information which may be of interest to the reader.
The old Irwell Aqueduct
If the purpose of the book is a bit opaque one only has to look at the advertisers to understand its aim. It was to promote the use of the canal and so attracted hauliers, merchants, stockholders and even banks! It was a genuine last gasp attempt to breath commercial life into this very early canal which had served the area so well for over 200 years.
The reconstructed Hulme locks - now replaced by Pamona
And possibly its the adverts which attracted me most. The lorries and fork trucks are all so period - the sort of thing you now see at vintage rallies but I remember them on the road for our family business in Norfolk.
Harecastle Tunnel with both bores operational
But its not just the vehicles, its the banking adverts from names which had a proud history but now are no more than a footnote in history: Martins Bank (Barclays), District Bank (Nat West) and Williams Deacon's (Royal Bank of Scotland). It just goes to show that banks never die, they just get absorbed into something else - RIP Midland Bank!
You dont get Bank ads like these any more!
The book also contains some great period drawings and photos I havn't seen before.
Not so much a gripping read as a delightful dipper, if you know what I mean.