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Marple Wharf on the Peak Forest Canal, Marple, 1981
2 August 1981
Peak Forest Canal
About this image
Marple Wharf on the Peak Forest Canal looking west beneath the girder bridge carrying the railway line from News Mills to Manchester. This line was formerly jointly owned by the Midland and Great Central Railways, and the latter also owned the canal for much if its existence. Indeed, the trip boat moored beneath the bridge is an ex-Great Central Railway vessel named 'Maria'. The buildings in the background were once part of Aqueduct Works, a print and dyeworks that had begun life as a cotton mill. It took its name from Marple Aqueduct which takes the canal across the gorge of the River Goyt just round the corner in the distance. To the left is the foot of Marple Locks.
The Peak Forest Canal is some 15 miles in length and extends from Dukinfield, Manchester via Marple and New Mills to Bridgemont where it splits with an eastern arm running to Buxworth and a southern arm to Whaley Bridge. It was engineered by Benjamin Outram and opened throughout in 1800, although traffic had been using the upper part since 1796. The waterway consists of two level pounds joined by the flight of 16 locks at Marple which raise the canal 209 feet (64 metres) over the course of 1 mile (1.6 km). Traffic declined with the coming of the railways and by the early 1960s the canal was impassable. However, the Peak Forest Canal Society and the Inland Waterways Association campaigned for restoration and navigation was restored up to Whaley Bridge in 1974 (although the Buxworth arm had to wait until 2005).