Monday, 5 October 2009

Castlefield - canal history in the heart of Manchester

Above, Grocer's Warehouse basin with Star in the distance. Below left the huge 45 storey Hilton Hotel through the basin lift bridge and right the 'restored remains' of Brindley's original warehouse. Bottom, the basin from the other side

But they nearly destroyed it. We've a lot to thank the 1960s town planners and local councillors for - tower blocks, ring roads, concrete, wind-blown shopping precincts. And for destroying much of our architectural and industrial heritage in the process.
Castlefield, the unique complex of canal wharves and basins that marked the Manchester terminus of Brindley's Bridgewater Canal only escaped the bulldozer because of determined opposition. Instead it slid into decay until more recent, more aware authorities started its regeneration. Now it's an example of how history and commerce can work together - a set of basins and wharf buildings that can tell the canal's historical story yet have been improved and reconctructed to play a modern role as bars, restaurants, flats and offices.
We are moored here in Grocer's Wharf, a remarkable haven of tranquility only five minutes walk from the bustling heart of Manchester. You couldn't ask for better.

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