Today’s weather has been very unpredictable. If you look the the following two photos taken from the side hatch early this morning you will notice the blue sky and bright sunlight.
We completed a few small jobs; including booking our passage through Standedge Tunnel on 6 May; before going out for a better look at our surroundings. NB Burnt Oak (Braidbar No158) is moored behind us. Her fit out was completed last December and the owner told us he had a miserable winter on the Macclesfield Canal waiting for spring. Note the dirty brass…. he has now been reported to the owners club and disciplinary action is pending!
Note the cloudy sky.
There are just enough mooring rings here for three boats and we have the centre spot. It appears to be a ‘safe’ mooring, although the high volume of pedestrian traffic does make it slightly noisy.
I had planned to moor in the basin on the right a couple of hundred yards further up the canal. This is where NB Firefly NZ moored when we were last this way in 2014.
Entrance to the basin is just beyond the bridge to the right
I reversed into the basin only to discover it’s too shallow. This meant I then had to reverse back down the canal to our current mooring.
Today we’ve had bright sunshine, rain, hail, snow and more sunshine. Not that we’re complaining after such a mild winter.
The area around here is a warren of former canal arms suggesting it was once a hive of industry. In 2014 this canal side property was undergoing renovation. Now it’s completed and looks rather good.
Note the remains of a former arm immediately in front of it.
Just beyond the lock and to the left is pedestrian access to New Islington Marina. The OSM seems to indicate there is boat access to the marina from both the Rochdale and Ashton Canals. However this isn’t correct as the water access is divided by Old Mill Street.
Old Mill Street at the end of the arm.
This area is Ancoats and until the late 18th century it was mostly rural on the eastern outskirts of Manchester. The transformation of the area began in 1775 when much of the land was sold off for development. Within a decade the area was a grid pattern of densely packed factories and terraced houses for the workers.
The Ashton Canal opened in 1796 pre-dating the Rochdale by 8 years. The arrival of the canals attracted large scale development to the area and the construction of numerous canal arms. Many factories were built along the banks. The arm in the above photo served as a coal wharf and also supplied water to the adjacent cotton mills. it was expanded in 1820 to service a new dye and glass works.
By 1851 Ancoats had a population of 53,737. Sanitation was very poor and overcrowding common. In many cases entire families lived on one room of tiny multi storey terraced houses.
All the worker housing and most of the factories were demolished in the 20th century. I did notice one former factory had been converted to apartments. It’s rather interesting that the developer retained some character by keeping the chimney.
New Islington Marina has had a bit of a mixed reputation. The area had been frequented by “yobs” and last time we passed through there were two sunk and burned out boats. However I think that is going to change. The area surrounding the marina is currently undergoing major redevelopment as a modern residential area.
It wouldn’t surprise me that in 5-10 years time instead of residential boaters complaining about the unsavoury locals, the ‘new’ locals will be complain about the unsavoury looking boats spoiling their picturesque vista.