How did money from slavery help develop Greater Manchester?

Rochdale Canal

Transport by canal

By the early 1800s canals had become an essential part of the transport system of Manchester without which industrial development would have slowed. In 1794 an act was passed approving the construction of the Rochdale Canal, a canal which linked the West Riding of Yorkshire to Manchester. The Manchester terminus was at Dale Street.

The Rochdale joined two other canals in Manchester: the Ashton Canal at Dale Street and the Bridgewater Canal at Castlefield. When the Rochdale was fully opened in 1804 it provided for the first time a water transport route between the west and east coasts, between the ports of Liverpool and Hull.

Link to Liverpool

The construction of the canal through Manchester encouraged firms that used raw materials such as timber, coal, stone and corn, to establish themselves by the canal. Factories and warehouses were built along the canal and its wharves, some of which traded in the American raw cotton which was carried in barges from Liverpool. Finished cotton goods could also be carried on barges back to Liverpool for export and also to Hull for export to continental Europe.

This information was provided by Terry Wyke.

Watch and listen to Washington Alcott talking about the development of Rochdale Canal and the links with slavery.