Barton Aqueduct

Manchester, United Kingdom

Barton Aqueduct


The Barton Aqueduct, opened on 17 July 1761, carried the Bridgewater Canal over the River Irwell at Barton-upon-Irwell, in the historic county of Lancashire, England. Designed largely by James Brindley under the direction of John Gilbert, it was the first navigable aqueduct to be built in England, "one of the seven wonders of the canal age" according to industrial archaeologist Mike Nevell.

Construction proceeded quickly, but disaster almost struck when the aqueduct was first filled with water and one of its three arches began to buckle under the weight. Remedial work took several months, but the aqueduct was still opened to traffic only 15 months after the enabling Act of Parliament had been passed, on 17 July 1761. It remained in use for more than 100 years, until the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal necessitated its demolition in 1893, replaced by the Barton Swing Aqueduct.

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