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Manchester Ship Canal Co

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0064 MSC
Held at: National Maritime Museum
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Full title: Manchester Ship Canal Co
Date(s): 1879-1927
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 12ft: 366cm
Name of creator(s): Manchester Ship Canal Co


Administrative/Biographical history:

The moves which led to the formation of the Manchester Ship Canal Company and to the construction of the ship canal itself began to take practical shape in 1882, at a time when the commercial supremacy of Manchester appeared to be declining. It was thought that this decline was due in large part to the heavy cost of transit within the region, which led to the agitation for the building of a ship canal. The proposal encountered opposition from the railways and from powerful corporate interests in Liverpool and it was 1887 before work could begin. The task occupied six years and might never have been completed had not the city fathers come to the financial rescue of the promoters, lending them 3 millions in 1891 and a further 2 millions in 1893. The canal was opened to traffic in 1894.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Manchester Ship Canal Co, comprising mainly of printed papers, some with marginalia, as in the report of the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce on the 'excessive charges' of that port, 1879. Other material includes a detailed analysis of the cost of transit within the region, with a projected estimate of the gains a ship canal would bring, 1885; a copy of the initial bill to authorise the building of the canal, with promoters' case and petitions against, of the same date, as well as maps and plans of the line to be taken by the proposed cut. Copies of numerous bills presented before Parliament on behalf of the company, 1907 to 1956, some with petitions and evidence, are also to be found, together with a copy of the Act authorizing the Manchester City Corporation to lend the company money, 1891, and a report of the special committee appointed by the city to examine the affairs of the company, 1893. There are also some loose papers, including deeds of sale and conveyance, contracts, grants of easement; a register of mortgages, 1885; a shareholders' address book, 1915; a shareholders' prospectus, 1885; and arising out of litigation concerning the company, a number of reports of proceedings in the courts, 1891 to 1927. A collection of pamphlets, 1882, one or two items pertaining to the Bridgewater estates, a user's handbook of instructions, 1894, and a rule book, 1894, have also survived.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The collection was purchased in 1976 from Dillon's University Bookshop.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Edited by Sarah Drewery, Sep 2011.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:

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