A Port, 40 miles away from the sea?
The Manchester Ship Canal enabled the newly created Port of Manchester to become Britain's third-busiest port, despite the city being about 40 miles (64 km) inland. Here is Ship Canal House, built in 1927 as the HQ of the Manchester Ship Canal Company. This great wealth was founded, sadly, upon the slave / cotton trade and the Port of Liverpool became extremely rich upon this trade. It also became very greedy and began increasing taxes on imported goods. The merchants of Manchester decided to create their own canal on the opposite bank of the River Mersey, right opposite to Liverpool. Imagine the City Fathers in Liverpool watching the progress across the river (which took 6 years to complete) and not be able to do a thing about it! Then Manchester was completely independent from Liverpool and could bring some of the largest ships of the time right into the heart of Manchester. The canal was a wonder of its day, opened by Queen Victoria on the 21st May 1894 and cost £1.5 billion in today's money. Look at the scale of this building and the architecture which denotes great wealth. The canal reached its peak in 1958, the amount of freight carried by the canal was almost 20,000,000 tons. Today, both the Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal are owned by one company Peel Group - how ironic!