Recording a moment

By chrisf

Worsley Delph Sluice Gate

The Worsley Delph heritage lottery funded project is really coming on.

Parts of this sluice gate structure are original, other parts have been reconstructed to show what the whole thing looked like. Behind it sits one of the two entrances at the Delph to the 46 mile underground canal system (far too dangerous to enter these days). The system was initiated by the Duke of Bridgewater and James Brindley, and is on multiple levels, allowing coal to be brought to the surface and transported along the Bridgewater Canal to Manchester. That caused the price of energy to fall rapidly, and from 1765 kick-started the industrial revolution. And how the world has changed in those 254 years.

The two other interesting things to say about this image:

* now that the stonework has been cleared of vegetation and cleaned, it is very obvious that the main road is built directly onto bedrock, part of the old quarry that preceded the coal mine. What looks like a canal bridge is a roughly hewn tunnel through the bedrock of red sandstone.

* placed in the Delph are outlines representing the "starvationer" boats which were used to carry men and materials into and out of the tunnels. So called because they were long and narrow with prominent ribbing, men had to lie flat on them as they entered the tunnels which are not high. It must have been a hard, tough job.

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