- How money from slavery made Greater Manchester
- The importance of cotton in north west England
- The Lancashire cotton famine
- Smoking, drinking and the British sweet tooth
- Black presence in Britain and north west England
- Resistance and campaigns for abolition
- The bicentenary of British abolition
Why was cotton so important in north west England?
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.
Watch and listen to Washington Alcott talking about the development of Rochdale Canal and the links with slavery.